7 Good Reasons to Switch to Windows 10 Now
Are you a holdout still using Windows 7?
If you are still using Windows 7, or an even earlier version of Windows, this article will give you some good reasons to switch to Windows 10.
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 over a year ago, yet it is surprising how many individuals and businesses I interact with that are still lingering on Windows 7. Apparently, it is not an uncommon problem. Microsoft says there are 1.5 billion Windows users worldwide, 1 billion of them are Windows 10 users. So, a half a billion people are using Windows 7 or earlier versions. Support for Windows 8 ended even before Windows 7, so if you are using that unpopular version, this blog applies to you, too.
No support or updates from Microsoft puts a user’s computer at risk. People on older systems are also missing out on a better internet experience.
Here are the 7 best reasons to switch to Windows 10 now.
1. No Microsoft Support for Earlier Versions
Windows 7 users are not able to get Microsoft’s security updates, patches or technical support. With viruses and malware becoming commonplace, this should be reason alone to make the update. Let me give you a real-life example.
My system had a ransomware attack. While multiple layers of anti-virus and anti-malware prevented any serious damage, there was a break in the code for Windows 10, meaning I could not boot up my computer because it had no functioning operating system. After an unsuccessful call to Pro Business support at Dell, my next call was to Microsoft. The technician was able to quickly help me with the repair. Had I been on Windows 7, I would have been sorely out of luck. Microsoft would have provided no support for my problem.
2. A (now) good operating system
Windows 10 has not been bug free since its launch in 2015. In 2016 a major update was delayed for three months, and in 2018 Microsoft rolled out a major update that was so bad, the company took it back!
However, (fingers crossed) the bugs seem to have been worked out. Microsoft changed how it approached updates, starting with the May 2019 release. This includes more testing and a slower rollout period. They also implemented more transparency about known issues and provided more options to pause updates. This has created a more trouble-free experience.
3. Great Security
The Windows 10 Security Suite makes this the best PC operating system for security, analysts say. You can apply free Microsoft Defender Antivirus, threat and ransomware protection options along with your other antivirus/antimalware software. While I wouldn’t give up an additional layer of security with another app, Microsoft Defender, which comes with Windows 10, is a good and easy place to start.
Here is a rundown of security features in Windows 10. Note—BitLocker Device Encryption was key to protecting my data in last month’s ransomware attack.
Windows Defender Antivirus. Windows Defender Antivirus uses the power of the cloud, wide optics, machine learning, and behavior analysis to protect your devices from emerging, sophisticated threats.
Windows Hello. Using facial recognition, a fingerprint, or PIN, Windows Hello is a fast, secure, and password-free way to unlock your compatible Windows devices.
Device encryption. Device encryption is available on a wide range of Windows devices and helps protect your data by encrypting it. If you turn on device encryption, only authorized individuals will be able to access your device and data.
Firewall and network protection. Your Windows device comes with comprehensive, built-in security features, including firewall and internet protections to help safeguard against viruses, malware, and ransomware.
Internet protection. App & browser control in Windows Security provides the settings for Windows Defender SmartScreen, which helps protect your device from potentially dangerous apps, files, websites, and downloads.
Parental controls/protection. Manage screen time, limit access to mature content, control online purchases when you connect your family’s Microsoft accounts, and check to make sure the family’s devices are secure and up to date.
Secure Boot. Secure Boot helps prevent malicious software applications and unauthorized operating systems from loading during the system start-up process.
Available only on the Pro version:
BitLocker device encryption. If your device is lost or stolen, BitLocker and BitLocker To Go put everything on lockdown, so no one else can access your systems or data.
Windows Information Protection (WIP). WIP helps to protect against potential data leakage without otherwise interfering with the employee experience. WIP also helps to protect enterprise apps and data against accidental data leaks on enterprise-owned devices and personal devices that employees bring to work, without requiring changes to your environment or other apps.
4. You Can Make Windows 10 Look Like Windows 7
When first installing Windows 10 back in 2017, I was surprised it looked drastically different. There are big visual tiles instead of tidy lists and small icons. It was shocking to see my whole screen taken up with big images. It’s not so much that I don’t like change, it’s just a hassle to adapt from something so familiar!
Whether it is not wanting to deal with change or dreading learning something new that is holding you back, don’t worry. Windows 10 can be configured much like what you are used to seeing in Windows 7. You can get rid of all the big tiles if you don’t like them by right-clicking and removing them. Then your desktop will look more like what you are used to. You can also adjust the Start menu—just move your mouse to any edge and you’ll be able to resize it.
5. Features designed for a better online experience
While under no obligation to use the broad range of features, some Windows 10 additions are worth checking out, including:
Accessibility features. Customizing settings for disabilities and personal preferences help people with vision issues, hearing loss, those with learning disabilities or neurological challenges like dyslexia, seizures or autism.
Productivity tools. Need to concentrate? Focus Assist allows you to block notifications, sounds, and alerts for some distraction-free work time. An easy to view timeline provides a quick way to scroll through recent documents, apps, and websites.
Organize photos into a library. Digital photos are easy to amass. Keep images in one place with Microsoft Photos, then be able to organize, search, edit and share your photos and videos.
A better gaming experience. Game bar is appealing to players by enabling instant streams of live gameplay, screen recordings, and control of individual audio settings.
6. You May Still Be Able to Upgrade for Free
Microsoft’s free upgrade offer to Windows 10 ended in 2016, but you may still be able to use the free upgrade tool from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 to Windows 10 as I did in 2017. The same year, Ed Bott wrote this great article on ZDNet, now updated for 2021, about the free upgrade tool still being functional. I recommend you check out Ed’s article and give it a try—others have reported the tool still works well.
If the free upgrade doesn’t work, you still have options.
Purchase a new device. A new PC will come bundled with Windows 10. If the Home edition is standard, you can likely upgrade to Pro for less than the cost to purchase the software.
Purchase the software. You can buy Windows 10 Home edition or Pro directly from Microsoft. Current cost for Home is $139 and Pro is $200. While it is good to check out the comparison to the two versions on the Microsoft site, there are much cheaper ways to obtain the software legitimately.
Use the Microsoft Student Discount. Many students can get Windows 10 for free through their university or high school. In addition, teachers can get Windows 10 Education for $14.99. See if your school is eligible and download your free Windows 10 key here. After graduation, the key will still continue to work.
Buy a software key. You can download Windows 10 for free from Microsoft, but to activate it you will need a software key. Tom’s Guide posted in February top ways to get Windows 10, from free to most expensive, including buying a software key from a third-party vendor.
Scharon Harding writes, “Kinguin sells Windows 10 Home for about $30, Amazon charges $129.99, and Newegg’s pushing it for $109.99. Even Walmart has it for $104.99, as well as a Pro OEM version. According to Wccftech, you can also buy Windows 10 from KeysOff, which is currently selling Windows 10 Home for $16.32 and Windows 10 Professional for $7.45.”
You might be wondering how vendors can sell the software cheaply, and whether it is legitimate.
Kinguin, which sells keys worldwide, explained that it is like buying a product from a discount outlet. When wholesalers have surplus copies of Windows they don’t need, they sell them to merchants like those in Kinguin’s group, who then resell them to the public. In the unlikely event there is a problem with a key sold, Kinguin’s resellers will issue a new key.
Microsoft will support your version of Windows 10 when registered with a legitimate key, no matter where you purchased it.
However, be aware that there could be people selling fraudulent keys online, including keys already sold to others, or that just don’t work. Stick to the big-name resellers with a good quantity of reviews.
7. The final note
Microsoft has stated that they will not release any more versions of its Windows operating system. Instead, the current OS will continue to be updated and enhanced. So, Windows 10 is it—there is no other version to wait for. This article pointed out some risks and vulnerabilities to those that have earlier Windows versions, and advantages to making the switch to 10. Keep in mind as we move farther away from previous versions of Windows, Microsoft and local technicians will not be able to help those not on Windows 10 through difficult computer problems.