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You’ll only be offered Windows 10 if your PC can handle it

Windows 10 Build 10162

Microsoft outlines plans for the rollout of Windows 10 at the end of the month

Microsoft has detailed the procedure for upgrading to Windows 10, warning that existing Windows 7/8 users will only be offered the new operating system if their PC hardware will deliver a “great experience”. Windows 10 is set for release on July 29, but that doesn’t mean all who are eligible for the free upgrade will receive the software immediately. 

In a blog post explaining how Microsoft will handle the Windows 10 rollout, the company’s operating systems chief, Terry Myerson, says Windows 10 will be delivered in “waves” starting from July 29. “If you reserved your copy of Windows 10 [using the pop-up menu in Windows 7/8], we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system,” he says. 

Everything you need to know about Windows 10

However, if Microsoft detects your PC hardware isn’t up to running Windows 10, you won’t be offered the operating system. The company says it will “provide more details during the upgrade experience,” for these customers, such as “contact information so you can follow up directly with an application provider or device manufacturer to learn more”. In other words, Microsoft is passing the buck to third-party software or hardware manufacturers, if it detects something on your PC that’s incompatible with Windows 10. 

Microsoft may even let you plough on with the upgrade if it does detect potential problems. “For most upgrade incompatibilities, you may still choose to complete the upgrade, and find alternative compatible solutions in the Windows Store after you upgrade,” Myerson says.

Old hardware problems?

Myerson says that Microsoft’s testing of “millions of systems” has revealed “full compatibility today with the vast majority of Windows 8x and Windows 7x systems”, without stipulating a precise figure. However, the Windows boss says “we are not yet done, we will never be done – we will be continuing this application and device compatibility work every day as part of our ongoing commitment to Windows as a service”.

Compatbility problems are most likely to affect those running early Windows 7 hardware, which was released back in 2009. There may also be many Windows 7 users out there who upgraded even older hardware from the vastly unpopular Windows Vista. 

Windows 10’s rolling updates may pose a problem for those running aged PCs, as new features push past the capabilities of old graphics cards, processors or other components. Microsoft is naturally keen for such folk to purchase a new Windows 10 device. The company revealed it will “soon” give a build to OEMs for pre-installation on new PC, which certainly doesn’t give PC manufacturers much time to test, validate and install Windows 10 on new computers before the July 29 launch date. Indeed, it seems highly unlikely you’ll be able to walk into a store and buy a Windows 10 PC on launch day. 

Instead, manufacturers will probably rely on the Windows Upgrade sticker scheme, under which Windows 8.1 machines are sold promising a free upgrade to Windows 10. PCs bearing this sticker come with the “assurance that our OEM partners have proactively tested a device for compatibility with Windows 10,” says Myserson. 

Microsoft last week released no fewer than three new versions of Windows 10 to testers on the fast ring, as the company pushes to get the code finalised before the end of month deadline. 

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