Exactly one month from today, on July 29th, Microsoft will no longer be allowing people to upgrade from their Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 computers to Windows 10 for free. On the plus side, that means you won’t be seeing those annoying reminders anymore. On the minus side, if you want to upgrade after that date, it will cost you $119 for the Home version and $199.99 for Pro.
People have asked me a few times whether they should upgrade or not. I think you should definitely upgrade if you’re currently using Windows 8 or 8.1, because Windows 10 is better and easier to use. If you’re still using Windows 7, I would recommend upgrading if you’re not planning to replace your computer for at least a year.
Why, you ask? Because while Windows 7 is a great operating system, the standard is quickly becoming Windows 10 so you might as well learn it sooner rather than later and get it while it’s still free. But if you think you’ll be getting a new computer within the next year, that one’s going to have Windows 10 on it, and so why bother going through the hassle of upgrading (and possibly running into issues with software and hardware you use with it).
Windows 10 Tips for Windows 7 Users
I’m sharing these tips for people who will be moving directly from Windows 7 to Windows 10, either through an upgrade or with a new computer, because the experience is very different between the two operating systems. There are some differences between Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 but it’s not going to be that difficult to get used to these differences. (I’d say “Rest in Peace, Charms Bar,” except I’m really thinking “Burn in Hell”…)
Find the Control Panel and other settings
I have always loved Control Panel and can’t for the life of me understand what Microsoft’s issue is with it. But they have buried it and many other settings options in the new OS. The easiest way to find them is to right-click on the Start button and a menu pops up with direct access to Control Panel, Programs and Features, Device Manager and more.
You can also find other settings by clicking the Action Center/Notifications icon at the bottom right of your taskbar.
Find other stuff
If you click on the Start button (not right-click) and just start typing, Windows will start searching through your computer and the Internet. The former is one of the easiest ways to find things that you have no idea where they’ve been saved on your PC.
Turn off those danged notifications!
The biggest conceptual difference between Windows 10 and Windows 7 is that Windows 10 is very much centered around “apps” (vs. “programs”). So just like your phone and tablet keep sending you notifications from all your different apps, so does Windows 10—it’s just way more annoying when you’re trying to work on your computer.
Again, the fastest way to go directly to the Notifications settings is simply to search from the Start button.
If you scroll to the bottom of the window, you’ll see what notifications are currently set for various apps and have the ability to turn them on or off.
If you want some notifications but not others, click the name of the app and select which ones you want. For example, in my Chrome settings, I have chosen to get notifications in the Action Center, but a notification banner won’t pop up and there will be no sound.
Beware the OneDrive folder
I just recently purchased a new Windows 10 computer and I was transferring my Documents folder from my old computer and didn’t realize until after I’d moved them that Windows was starting to upload everything to my OneDrive folder on the Internet! (When you sign up for a Microsoft account, it automatically creates a OneDrive folder for you.)
To avoid this, make sure you save files to the Documents folder under This PC instead of under OneDrive folder.
Bonus Tip: You don’t have to have a Microsoft account to use Windows 10. When you’re getting started, you’ll get to a screen that prompts you to set up a Microsoft account, but on that same screen there’s a small link to just use the computer as a local user. If you ended up with a Microsoft account and don’t want it anymore, you can change it by searching on “Manage Your Account” and then clicking the link to “Sign in with a local account instead.”
Have you moved directly from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and have tips to help other readers? Share them in the comments below!
So I’ve received two more reader tips but I chose this one from reader Matthew to share today both because it’s always good to get different viewpoints on these topics and also for the sheer irony factor. 🙂
Hold off on upgrading to Windows 10 for as long as possible!! Critical updates are still necessary before you can be 100% sure it won’t destroy your computer. Trust me I’ve seen many customers of mine regret the decision to upgrade too soon.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Matthew!
And remember, tomorrow is the last day to submit your own reader tip for a chance to win an Amazon Fire tablet and Amazon Fire TV streaming media player!
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