Free Windows 10 upgrade: time is running out
If you can get past the misleadingly icky and pushy promotional adverts, you’ll discover the many reasons to upgrade to Windows 10
By the time you read this, there are roughly seven weeks remaining until Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer expires on July 30.
After that, you're going to have to pay US$119 to upgrade your PC to the latest and greatest Windows.
If you've been on the fence – if you're still running Windows 7 or especially Windows 8.1 – it's probably time to upgrade to Windows 10.
The past few weeks especially, Microsoft has been making headlines by using tactics to promote the upgrade that are annoying at best and misleadingly icky at worst. It's not a flattering look for Microsoft to push Windows 10 on people so aggressively, especially when there are plenty of good reasons to stay on older versions of Windows.
But if you can get past that, and if you don't have a pressing and immediate reason to stay with an older version, there are lots of great reasons to upgrade, and not a lot of reasons to hesitate.
First and foremost, Windows 10 is just plain nice to use. I have found lately that I can get more done on a Windows 10 machine such as Microsoft’s own Surface Book than on an Apple Macbook.
With Windows 10, Microsoft combined the best parts of Windows 7 (the Start menu, “snapping” Windows to the corners of the screen) and Windows 8 (the touch-friendliness, and... that's pretty much it) to make something that's actually user-friendly for tablets and laptops alike.
Feature-wise, the Cortana digital assistant is like Apple’s Siri, only more helpful – including ever-expanding capabilities to integrate with your calender and help manage your time. If you have an Android phone, you'll soon be able to use Cortana to send and reply to texts from your computer, too.
Also, the new Xbox app in Windows 10 lets you stream gameplay from the Xbox One console straight to your PC or tablet. If you're console-less, the Xbox app is still super-handy for taking screenshots and videos from games and apps.
Under the hood, Microsoft also made some big changes that will pay dividends in the future: Windows 10 is the only system to get DirectX 12, the latest and greatest version of its long-lived graphics software.
The best-looking PC games will require DirectX 12 sooner rather than later. And on that note, Windows 10 is getting a lot of great Xbox games, including a multiplayer-only version of Halo 5: Guardians.
Finally, Windows 10 has been billed as the most secure Windows ever.
Really, there are a countless little things that make me like Windows 10. And there's a free “Anniversary Update” coming to Windows 10, likely not long after the free period is over, that will bring more little features and fixes.