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Microsoft Windows 10 FAQs
Q: What are the basic facts of the Windows 10 upgrade?
A: Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as free upgrade for qualified Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices. It will be available starting July 29, 2015; people can reserve their free upgrade today. You only have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of this offer. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.
Q: Is the upgrade really free?
A: Yes, it's free. This is a full version of Windows, not a trial or introductory version. It is available for a limited time and you have one year from the time Windows 10 is available to take advantage of this offer.
Q: How do I get my free upgrade?
A: You can do one of two things: 1) Buy a new Windows 8.1 device and upgrade it to Windows 10 for free, or 2) Reserve a free upgrade for your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC.
Not every device will run every feature of Windows 10. Be sure to check with your manufacturer before purchasing. Additional details on upgrade qualifications are below.
Q: What happens when I reserve?
A: When you reserve, you can confirm your device is compatible with Windows 10. Between reservation and when your upgrade is ready, the files you need for the upgrade will be downloaded to your PC to make the final installation go more quickly. Then, when your upgrade is ready after July 29, 2015, you get a notification that lets you get started with your upgrade.
Q: Are there any qualification requirements?
A: The only requirements are that a) your device is compatible and b) you're running genuine Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows 8.1 (Update). Windows 10 is designed to run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs. That means your device is likely compatible and will run Windows 10.1 See the full specifications at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-specifications.
Q: If I buy a new PC today, can it upgrade to Windows 10?
A: Yes, new qualified PCs can run Windows 10. Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the Windows 8.1 laptop, tablet, or desktop PCs that are for sale now. Device manufacturers make decisions about their device models and some Windows 10 features may not be available on certain devices, so be sure to check with the retailer or manufacturer for details.
Q: How long does it take to install the upgrade?
A: Plan for about an hour for the installation. Newer devices may only take 20 minutes, and older devices may take more than an hour. You'll need to download the installation files before you begin. If you reserve, we'll take care of downloading those files for you and let you know when you are ready to get started.
Q: How do I reserve on my existing device?
A: Just open the Get Windows 10 app (description below) and click reserve.
Q: What is the Get Windows 10 app?
A: Get Windows 10 is an app that's designed to make the upgrade process easy. It checks to make sure your device is compatible, and it reserves your free upgrade; it also has information to help you learn about the features in Windows 10. For devices running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update with Windows Update enabled, the app shows up automatically as a Windows icon in your system tray at the bottom right-hand side of your screen.
Q: How do I get a confirmation that I've reserved my upgrade?
A: Just click reserve in the Get Windows 10 app and then enter your email address at the confirmation screen. You can also check your reservation status here:
Q: If I change my mind, can I cancel my reservation?
A: Yes, you can cancel your reservation at any time prior to installing Windows 10. Here's how:
Q: Can I get my free Windows 10 upgrade even if I didn't reserve?
A: Yes. The easiest way to get the free upgrade is to reserve, but you can upgrade even if you don't reserve. Once Windows 10 is available, we'll begin notifying devices that their free upgrade is available. Just open the Get Windows 10 app to schedule your upgrade. Note: Some notifications will go out as soon as Windows 10 is available; others may go out in the weeks or months following.
Q: What if I have more than one Windows device—can I upgrade them all?
A: Yes, you can get a free upgrade for each of your eligible Windows devices. All you need to do is make a separate reservation for each device you want to upgrade.
Q: Why don't I have the Get Windows 10 app?
A: If you don't see the Get Windows 10 app on your PC, it might be because:
1. Your device isn't up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
2. Windows Update is turned off or is not set to received updates automatically.
3. You've blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality.
4. Your device is not running genuine Windows.
Running Windows Update and installing any available updates will fix the first three issues. Need more help? Go to our Windows Community Forum (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10_1-win_upgrade).
PCs that we determine cannot run Windows 10 will not see the Get Windows 10 app before July 29, 2015. After July 29, 2015, we'll enable the icon in the system tray. This is to help ensure that you can easily check your PC's compatibility if you choose.
If your device is managed as part of a school or business network, please check with your IT administrator about upgrading to Windows 10.
Q: Why am I seeing notifications about Windows 10?
A: Notifications let you know about Windows 10 availability and the free-upgrade offer.
Q: Can I turn off the notifications?
A: Yes. Click "Customize" in the System Tray and turn off the Get Windows 10 app notifications in the menu that comes up.
Q: Can I reserve even if I didn't get a notification?
A: Yes. You can reserve your upgrade at any time on any compatible PC by clicking on the Get Windows 10 app or the Windows Update control panel.
Q: What edition of Windows will I get as part of this free upgrade?
A: When you upgrade, you'll stay on like-to-like editions of Windows. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium will upgrade to Windows 10 Home.
Q: Do Windows phone devices qualify for this free upgrade?
A: Yes. We are working with Windows Phone 8.1 partners to make the Windows 10 upgrade available to most phones later this year.
Q: What about Windows RT?
A: If you're running Windows RT, your device won't upgrade to Windows 10, but we will have an update for you around the time of Windows 10 release.
Q: Can Enterprise customers get the free Windows 10 upgrade?
A: Enterprise customers with active Software Assurance subscription in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer.
Q: How much does Windows 10 cost?
A: The easiest way to get Windows 10 is to upgrade for free. We explain how to take advantage of this limited-time offer above.
You may also purchase a copy of Windows 10 if you decide not to upgrade or if you need to purchase a copy for other reasons like installing on a PC you built yourself.
The retail prices for Windows 10 are the same as Windows 8.1. Windows 10 Home is $119.99. Windows 10 Pro is $199.99. And Windows 10 Pro Pack, which enables you to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, is $99.99. All these are available in stores or online.
Q: Will I get all of the features of Windows 10 once I upgrade?
A: Some Windows 10 features will require advanced hardware and not all features and services are available on every device, nor in every market. For instance, Cortana is not available in all markets. See the Specifications page for more details (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-specifications).
Q: Will my devices and apps work with Windows 10?
A: Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the vast majority of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. so your device is most likely compatible. For details on your specific device and apps, you can use the Get Windows 10 app to do a compatibility check. Click the menu in the upper left of the app, and select "Check your PC" or "Your PC is good to go." This displays any compatibility issues we find and recommends a resolution; while we don't have info on every app or device in existence, it provides a comprehensive list of all known potential compatibility issues.
Some Windows 10 features will require advanced hardware and not all features and services are available on every device, nor in every market. For instance, Cortana is not available in all markets.
Q: Will Windows Media Center be available in Windows 10?
A: Windows Media Center is not part of Windows 10 and won't be available after upgrading to Windows 10. If you use Windows Media Center, we will alert you during upgrade that Windows Media Center is not available on Windows 10. We know that some users use Windows Media Center to play DVDs, and we are providing a free DVD playback app in Windows 10 for Windows Media Center users.
Q: Can I reinstall Windows 10 on my computer after upgrading?
A: Yes. Once you've upgraded to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer, you will be able to reinstall, including a clean install, on the same device. You won't need to purchase Windows 10 or go back to your prior version of Windows and upgrade again.
You'll also be able to create your own installation media, like a USB drive or DVD, and use that to upgrade your device or reinstall after you've upgraded.
Q: When do new Windows 10 devices arrive in stores?
A: New PCs running Windows 10 will begin to arrive after Windows 10 is available on July 29, 2015.
Q: Will all my stuff be in the cloud?
A: Your files are saved on the hard drive of your device by default. Windows 10 includes OneDrive which provides free storage space in the cloud; this is completely optional, but gives you the benefit of being able to access your personal files from anywhere.
Q: Have additional questions? We can help.
A: Check to see if your question has already been answered in the Windows Community Forum (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10_1-win_upgrade)or post a new question. If you need help installing Windows 10 when it's available on July 29, 2015, Microsoft will offer phone and chat support to make sure that you get up and running smoothly.
Information provided by Microsoft.
Glossary of Tablet Terms
3G/4G: 3G and 4G are mobile communication technology standards that provide Internet services to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The "G" stands for each generation of technology, making 4G (or LTE) the faster successor to 3G. Unlike tablets that are only Wi-Fi enabled, those with 3G or 4G will be able to access the Internet (and therefore email, social networks, app downloads, and the like) outside of wireless networks, providing more freedom to use all of your tablet's features. However, that connectivity usually comes with an increased cost, as well as a monthly fee.
Accelerometer: A motion sensor that detects a tablet's orientation. For example, when you turn your tablet from portrait to landscape orientation, the content will generally adjust to fit the screen. This is the accelerometer at work. Some games and apps also incorporate the accelerometer in other ways, though this varies from program to program.
Ambient Light Sensor: Determines how much light is available in the area surrounding your tablet and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly. This conserves battery life, allowing you to get more use out of each charge.
App Store: A digital distribution platform for software, such as the App Store for Apple® or the Google Play market found on Android™ devices. This allows you to download applications, or apps, sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee. Apps will vary by store, operating system, and manufacturer. Most tablets come with some apps preloaded.
Bit/Byte: A bit is the smallest unit of measurement for electronic data. Eight bits equals one byte; approximately 1,000 bytes equals one kilobyte (KB); 1,000 kilobytes equals one megabyte (MB); and 1,000 megabytes equals one gigabyte (GB). These units determine how much information your tablet can store and retrieve.
Bluetooth: A form of wireless communication allowing devices to communicate with each other. For example, a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse might be compatible with a tablet, allowing these components to be used wirelessly.
Bus Speed: Measured in megahertz (MHz), bus speed is the speed or frequency at which the data on the motherboard is moving.
Capacitive Touchscreen: A type of touchscreen display that is very responsive to finger touches, allowing easy swiping, which generally results in an intuitive user interface; however, they won't respond to a gloved hand or stylus. See touchscreen for more information.
Chipset: A set of electronic components in an integrated circuit that manages the data flow between the processor, memory, and peripherals. It is usually found in the motherboard of a computer or tablet.
Cloud Storage: Allows data to be stored virtually in storage space hosted by a third party, as opposed to on your physical hard drive. Cloud storage can be advantageous because it may make it easy to share information across devices or among users, as well as freeing up your own physical hard drive space.
DDR (Double Data Rate): A type of SDRAM (memory) that supports data transfers that effectively doubles the speed of the RAM. Double data rate type three (written DDR3), which is currently in use, is twice as fast as its predecessor.
Digital Media: Can refer to the places where digital files are stored (memory cards, hard drives) or the files themselves (photos, videos, MP3s).
eReader: Also called an eBook reader, this refers to a mobile electronic device designed for reading digital books (eBooks). While some tablets exist simply for this purpose, like the most basic Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook models, most modern tablets have an eReader feature built-in, such as the iPad® iBook® app.
Expansion Slot: A slot that allows you to "expand" your tablet functions by using memory cards. Not all tablets have expansion slots, and they're generally more limited than those found in computers.
FaceTime®: A proprietary video calling service from Apple, which comes built into Mac® computers, as well as iPad, iPhone®, and internet-enabled iPod® devices. It functions basically the same as other video chatting services, though is restricted to users with Apple IDs (so you can't use FaceTime on your iPad to call a friend with an Android tablet). FaceTime calls can be made across various devices (iPad to iPhone, iPhone to Mac), so the service is particularly useful to those with multiple Apple devices.
Flash Memory: Sometimes called internal memory on tablets, this refers to how much room you have to store media files like photos, apps, and music. While a computer's hard drive might have hundreds of gigabytes of storage space, a tablet's memory much more limited, a trade-off for being so portable.
Geotagging: The process of adding geographical identification information to media. For example, if you take a photo with a GPS-enabled mobile device, the device may automatically add information about where the photo was taken. Usually, this can be turned on and off in a tablet's settings.
GPS/GLONASS: GPS stands for "Global Positioning System"; you're probably familiar with the ones designed strictly for vehicles, but modern mobile devices usually have some kind of GPS feature installed, eliminating the need for a standalone GPS. Some devices use GPS with GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), which works alongside the GPS to provide faster, more accurate directions.
Graphics Card: Also called a video card, it's what allows the tablet to display pictures.
Gyroscope: Often combined with an accelerometer in a tablet, the gyroscope allows for more accurate recognition of movement. This is particularly useful in motion-controlled apps and certain games, which utilize more advanced controls than those that only use an accelerometer.
Hardware: The physical components of a tablet.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface): The uncompressed, all-digital standard used for high-definition (HD) quality for consumer electronics and PC products using a single cable (an HDMI cable).
Hertz (Hz): A unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second.
High Definition: Means that the screen will be "widescreen" and at least twice as clear as standard definition (which is 480 horizontal lines). Generally, anything at 720 or more horizontal lines will be considered HD; 1920x1080 resolution refers to Full HD; and 4K (or 4,000) horizontal lines refers to Ultra HD.
I/O Ports (Input/Output): The connectors on a tablet that connect its external devices, such as a USB port.
IPS (In-Plane Switching): LCD screen technology was first introduced in 1996 and now used in many displays. IPS technology offers wide viewing angles and consistent, accurate color reproduction without blur.
iSight® Camera: A proprietary camera of Apple, previously an external webcam. Not to be confused with a FaceTime camera, iSight refers to the rear cameras in more recent iPhone, iPad, and iPod models, which generally have a higher resolution than the front-facing FaceTime camera.
LAN (Local Area Network): A set of devices, such as computers, printers, or video games, physically or wirelessly connected for interactive communications wirelessly.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display): A type of display that uses standard compact fluorescent tubes to illuminate the picture. Unlike LEDs, they don't produce their own light.
LED Backlighting: A way of producing light in LCD screens, resulting in a much clearer, brighter, better-looking display.
Level 2 Cache: Often written as "L2 cache," this is a type of memory capable of high-speed storage, enabling quick access to the most recently used data and instructions.
Lightning Port/Cable: The power connector used on Apple devices starting in September 2012 with the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini™, 5th generation iPod touch®, and 7th generation iPod nano®. It replaced the 30-pin adapter, with Apple claiming improved functionality and power capacity as reasons for a new proprietary charger.
Lithium-ion/lithium-polymer: A light, rechargeable battery often used in portable electronics such as tablets and smartphones.
Memory: The place where a computer keeps programs and data. This could refer to the hard drive, RAM, or cache.
Memory Card Reader: A device that accesses data on a memory card, such as an SD card.
Motherboard: A tablet's main circuit board. It's the central, essential part of a computer to which most other integrated parts are connected.
Multi-touch: A touchscreen or touchpad, sometimes referred to as multi-gesture, that recognizes two or more fingers, incorporating advanced functionality like pinching to zoom.
Network Card: A network card, network adapter, network interface controller, network interface card, or LAN adapter is a computer hardware component designed to allow computers to communicate over a computer network. It allows users to connect to each other wirelessly or by using cables.
Oleophobic Coating: An oil-resistant coating applied to touchscreens to help reduce fingerprints and smudges.
Operating System (OS): Software that takes care of basic system activities such as reading forms and saving to disk. It controls how system resources are used and provides a user interface. Tablet operating systems are generally optimized for a portable touchscreen experience. Among the most popular mobile operating systems are Google's Android, which can be found on a variety of devices, and Apple's iOS, found on iPhone, iPad, and internet-enabled iPod devices.
Processor: Also known as the CPU (central processing unit). As the primary element carrying out the tablet's functions, it's effectively the "brain" of the tablet. A dual-core processor has two execution cores, while a quad-core has four, etc; generally, more cores allows for faster computing.
Processor Speed: The rate at which the CPU performs calculations per second. It's measured in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz). 1000MHz equals one GHz.
RAM (Random Access Memory): The place where a tablet keeps programs and data when they are in use. It's measured in megabytes or gigabytes (see bit/byte for more info).
Resistive Touchscreen: Can typically be used with a finger or stylus, but require pressure to be applied to the screen, which can sometimes affect ease of use. See touchscreen for more information.
Retina Display: A type of LCD screen specific to newer-model Apple MacBook Pro®, iPad, iPhone, and iPod devices. Retina displays have a high enough pixel density that the human eye is unable to notice pixelation at a typical viewing distance. Basically, Retina displays are clearer than typical LCDs.
SATA (Serial ATA): A way of connecting a hard drive to a computer. Most computers made after 2005 use SATA hard drives, which is generally faster and more efficient than SATA's predecessor, PATA.
Screen Resolution: Maximum number of pixels that can be displayed on the screen. This number is a product of the number of columns and the number of rows. For example, a display with 1920x1080 resolution can display 1,920 columns of pixels and 1,080 rows of pixels. The higher the resolution, the clearer the screen; see high definition for more info.
Software: The actual programs on a tablet, as opposed to the physical components. This includes apps and the operating system itself.
Solid-State Drive (SSD): Like a standard hard drive, a solid-state drive is used to store data. However, SSDs read and write files much more quickly, resulting in better performance overall. Hybrid drives combine the standard features of hard-disk drives and solid-state drives, resulting in a more optimal performance than a hard drive alone at a better price than a large SSD.
Sound card: A piece of computer hardware that controls its sound input and output.
TFT (Thin Film Transistor): A type of LCD flat-panel display that is made to be as thin and light as possible, taking up less space than bulky old-school computer monitors. TFT displays also generally have higher resolutions than older displays.
Touchscreen: A display you can interact with by touching it with an object, typically a finger or stylus. Touchscreens are one of the defining characteristics of tablets. For more information on different kinds of touchscreens, see capacitive touchscreen, resistive touchscreen, and multi-touch.
USB (Universal Serial Bus): A high-speed serial port technology that allows a variety of input and output devices to be easily attached to a PC. A USB device can be plugged in or unplugged without turning off the PC and is automatically recognized and configured upon plug-in. Typically, modern computers will have USB 3.0, USB 2.0, or some combination of the two. On paper, USB 3.0 is faster, though how much faster will depend on other factors, like your hardware.
Webcam: The term webcam is a combination of "web" and "video camera." They can be used for video chatting or recording videos, and are built into most tablets. Some tablets may even have two cameras, one that faces the front and one that faces the back, with the front being more suited for video chatting.
WiDi: This Intel-developed technology is short for Wireless Display, and lets users to stream music, movies, photos, videos, and apps wirelessly from a compatible tablet to a compatible HDTV or through the use of an adapter with other HDTVs. WiDi technology is capable of Full HD 1080p video and 5.1 surround sound audio, but you'll need the appropriate hardware to achieve that.
Wi-Fi: Wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high speed Internet and network connections. Wireless networks will generally use a 2.4GHz or 5GHz network, with 5GHz networks being able to carry more data. Some devices offer dual-band Wi-Fi, which works at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Some newer tablets use MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) Wi-Fi, which increases the performance of existing Wi-Fi networks.
Wireless capability may require a network connection, accessories, and/or a service fee. Use of Bluetooth technology may require software and accessories. Please consult the manufacturer's documentation regarding the safe and proper use, handling, storage, charging, and disposal of products containing lithium-ion batteries.