It’s the big day for Microsoft, and after almost a year of testing, the replacement for Windows 8 has arrived. We say “good riddance”, but is your computer really ready to make the move?
Let’s do this in alphabetical order, because while Australia doesn’t have quite the breadth of computer manufacturers as other parts of the world — we are a fairly small country, you know — there are quite a few companies selling machines to our 25-30 million people, starting with…
Acer has been dabbling with tablets and two-in-ones longer than most companies with the exception of maybe Asus, and so we’re expecting to see some pretty solid and quick compatibility for its array of touch-friendly and less touch-friendly machines.
While the company hasn’t said much to us in an official capacity regarding Windows 10, a quick glance to the Acer customer support section reveals that Acer is taking a fairly generic approach to making sure your computer is good to go.
Specifically, it’s pointing you to the Microsoft solution, whereby you click the little Windows icon in the Windows 8 task bar after the latest updates have downloaded, which will pull up the “Get Windows 10” app.
When that’s done, click the menu icon on the left-hand side and select “check your PC”.
It’s nice to know that Acer is pretty confident in its hardware selection over the years that it shouldn’t have any driver dilemmas, so if you do have problems after a Windows 10 migration, feel free to tell Acer.
Another of the companies that has spent heaps of time fiddling with the convertibles — hey, it practically invented the hybrid “let’s store all the tech inside the screen and throw a battery in the keyboard” concept that everyone has used at one point — you have to expect Asus is ready to go with Windows 10.
You’d expect that, anyway.
On launch day, Asus told GadgetGuy that “some hardware/software requirement apply” for Microsoft’s upgrade from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10, specifically citing that “feature availability within the upgrade may be dependent on hardware compatibility”.
What that means is that while you can update existing Windows computers from Asus, you may find some features won’t work. We’re not sure if this relates to specific drivers that need updating, which Asus should no doubt provide updates for on its website, or whether this is just in relation to all the neat things Windows 10 can do not necessarily applying to every Asus computer.
That said, it sounds like based on this comment, any Asus should be able to make the jump this week, though if you’re at all concerned, wait for the Asus website to provide more information, because as of the time of publication, it lacked a Windows 10 section to refer to.
Dell and Alienware
Dell and Windows go together like butter and toast, because like Toshiba, the company has been producing Windows machines for pretty much its entire life, building some of the more interesting and performance based computers you’re likely to see in the laptop and desktop world.
It’s not just Dell doing this, either, with Alienware — Dell’s gamer-centric brand — synonymous with gamers that rely on Windows and graphic-heavy components to let them play the games at the right settings, while also get some work done, all with a healthy glow from the lights Alienware machines are set up to emit.
So with so much reliance on Windows, you have to wonder where Dell and Alienware are on Windows 10’s launch day.
According to Dell, new computers are pretty much ready to go with Windows 10, some of which even have Intel’s “RealSense” technology for visual login via Windows Hello.
But older computer aren’t really mentioned, and while we’re trying to get a comment and a support page out of Dell and Alienware on the topic, the current suggestion that’s looking best for owners of these computers is to head to the Dell or Alienware support page and find out if new drivers are needed before they make the jump.
It is more than likely that owners of these computers can run the Windows hardware check, too, but Dell does make some of its own hardware, so given that there are so many models out there from this manufacturer, we’d check with support before making the jump so you don’t risk any chance of your computer not working.
Windows 10 would probably work, but it’s just safer this way.
UPDATE: Dell chimed in a couple of hours after we went live with the story, with one of its people telling us that you’ll definitely want to check the Dell page before updating.
“For those looking to upgrade their existing operating systems to Windows 10, we will be making drivers available through our support website,” said Jeff Morris, General Manager of Dell’s End User Computing for Australia and New Zealand. “In the coming days we will be adding more information around upgrading your Dell system to Windows 10.“
There’s good news if you own an HP laptop, because the company has apparently been working with Microsoft to make sure the roll out is timely and reliable.
“Working closely with Microsoft we designed all our 2015 products to be ready for Windows 10,” said Paul Gracey, HP’s Business Manager for the Personal Systems Category.
“As a result, customers who purchased or plan to buy a 2015 Windows PC from HP should have a smooth transition to Windows 10.”
That means recent releases like the HP Pavilion X360, Spectre X360, HP Omen, and HP Elite machines are all good to go, some of which should happily handle the Xbox One streaming and Cortana microphone pick-up, so you can speak to Cortana when she does eventually roll out to Australian computers (we’re a beta country).
But what about with computers from before 2015? After all, if you purchased a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer from a few years ago, you’d still like to know that you’re covered.
HP tells GadgetGuy that “eligible PCs from our 2013 and 2014 portfolio can upgrade to Windows 10”, and that “the necessary drivers for these devices to run Windows 10 are on both Windows Update and available through HP.com.”
As for if you have something a little earlier, HP says that “customers with qualifying PCs from 2012 or earlier, running Windows 7 should be able to upgrade to Windows 10, but capabilities like battery life and processor performance may not be the same as those with more modern hardware”.
There’s a practical go ahead, people. If there are any problems, you might want to head to the HP website to find new drivers.
One of Australia’s most popular online retailers isn’t just known for talking up a good deal, it also spends time producing its own products, including numerous mobile phones, tablets, TVs, and yes, the humble computer.
You’ll find a few Windows PCs here and there from the company — two specifically that we can think of — with the “Atlas” models representing budget pricing for people who need a computer but don’t want to spend too much.
But will people who bought one of these be able to upgrade to Windows 10?
According to a Kogan representative, the answer is a solid yes, as they told us that “Kogan.com’s Atlas Laptops are Windows 10 compatible and ready to go.”
One of the biggest computer companies in the world is good to go with Windows 10, and while it has started shipping Windows 10 preloaded onto computers, with availability likely landing closer to early August in Australia, current Lenovo owners can expect an update in a fairly timely manner.
New computers purchased this year are the ones that will make the transition quickly, and according to the company, this will be available to any “qualified Lenovo PC running Windows 7 SP1 or 8.1”, but that qualification is a bit of a catch.
In fact, the list of ThinkPad configurations not supported includes Intel Atom processors, Intel 2nd-gen Core chips (Sandy Bridge), and the 4th and 5th gen Intel Core processors running on 32-bit versions of Windows, throwing out a few laptops that Lenovo supports.
That’s mighty confusing, so we’ve reached out to Lenovo to find out just what these qualifications and catches mean, and if perhaps the Lenovo update site will be cleared up so that anyone with a Lenovo bought in the past five years will have an easier way of finding out whether they can upgrade to Windows 10.
For now, we’d advise Lenovo owners to check the website (found in this link) as it will give them all the information they need, at least until Lenovo tells us otherwise.
You might not think of LG as a big name when it comes to computers, and in this country, you’d probably be right.
We’ve only seen three or four computers in the past couple of years, but we’re sure the people who spent their hard-earned money on these boxes would love to know if LG will be providing drivers and easy compatibility for making the shift to Windows 10.
LG’s Australian website doesn’t tell us much, and is still set up to mention how its computers support Windows 8.1, and LG didn’t come back to us by the time this went to publication, so we’re making an assumption (we know, we know) that the computers will update, but that is simply based on what we’ve seen of Windows 10 installations to date.
Still, if you have an LG computer, we’d probably wait a month or two until LG moves away from Windows 8 and joins the Windows 10 bus. It would probably update cleanly, but this is just one of those “it might be better to be patient” circumstances.
Microsoft hasn’t been a tablet hardware maker long, but you have to know that it is just about ready for Windows 10 since it, you know, makes the freaking operating system.
It’s more or less assumed if you own a Microsoft tablet, you can probably upgrade, but there are some catches, and here they are:
If you own one of the recently released Surface 3 devices — which this article was typed on — you are free to install Windows 10, just like we did. It will migrate painlessly, and will work with no problems.
But if you have one of those Surface RT devices, you are basically out of luck.
Microsoft told GadgetGuy that there will be an update for the Windows RT editions of Surface, all two of them, but that it won’t come yet, and it won’t be a full-blooded edition of Windows 10.
That might sound a little strange when you think of that whole “Continuum” concept Microsoft is engineering, whereby Windows 10 runs cleanly on all devices, including phones and tiny computers that might run similar sorts of processors, but it seems Surface RT is just a little out of the way for Microsoft to really support.
Strange that. We’ll keep you updated when we hear anything more.
Up until a year or so ago, Samsung was pushing out some pretty solid entries in the world of computers, with the excellent Series 9 accompanying some top notch monitors. Recently, though, Samsung pulled back, and now we’re only seeing monitors locally, while the laptops make their way out to other places.
You can still see quite a few Android tablets, but Windows on a Samsung machine is kind of a dead thing.
But what if you still have one of these computers and want to upgrade?
Officially Samsung isn’t saying anything — not locally anyway, and not in the time we asked — but testing a Series 9 Samsung 15 inch we had, the move was fairly painless, and Windows 10 even did that thing that it’s now doing where it keeps all your files in the right place.
Provided you have a spare 20GB free, the move should be good, though as always, we’ll keep pestering Samsung to find out if there are any specific issues people should be aware of.
Much like Samsung, Sony has pulled out of laptops in Australia, though with Sony, it’s heavier, pulling out of laptop computers altogether and selling off its VAIO division in early 2014 just as the company was really nailing it.
And we’re not kidding: the VAIO Pro was one of the better machines we’d ever seen, packing the right amount of features, weight, and design into a laptop that you’d find.
Oh well, though. All good things have to come to an end, and Sony’s computer department appears to be one of them.
But if you spent money on a VAIO Pro, a VAIO Duo, or anything out that wore the “VAIO” name proudly, you might be wondering what your options are to switching to Windows 10.
At the time of publication, Sony Australia hadn’t yet provided a quote to us, but a simple search of the Sony website reveals that you may want to wait before you make the move.
According to Sony, the upgrade process “will vary by model”, and that upgrade information will be made available in August, with drivers likely to be made available in October and November.
That means if you update a computer that needs specific drivers for a Sony piece of hardware, it may not work as well as it should, with most of this warning being applied to computers like the VAIO Pro and Duo that were installed with Windows 8 or 8.1.
If, however, you have a Windows 7-based VAIO, your wait may be less time intensive, with Sony saying the upgrade information should be ready by August.
So while you could technically update today — and you can — you’d be better off waiting until Sony tells you to if you have a VAIO computer.
Until then, check the Sony Windows 10 update page (link in this text) to find out when this is going to happen, because the news will go up there.
The creator of the laptop PC should be good and ready to go with regards to Windows 10, but it certainly has more computers out there than a lot of other manufacturers, which means the company might have had to work around the clock to make sure it was ready.
Is it ready?
Well, to help you find out, Toshiba has a webpage setup to inform you of what is upgradeable and what isn’t.
We suspect most of the Windows friendly hardware sold in the past few years will cleanly make its way to the new operating system, but just in case, you may want to take a look at what the company has to say (link in this text).
There are a few other manufacturers we’ve missed, such as Razer, MSI and Gigabyte, as well as Aldi’s default brand Medion, but any brands that we haven’t been able to get in contact with, make sure to check their respective web page to find out if your computer is good to go.
In theory, most of the manufacturers should be fine for an update, and because Windows 10 has been in testing for quite a few months, we’d have to expect that quite a few processors, graphics cards, and other hardware combinations are good to go.
But there may be some instances where drivers will play havoc, and so as always, check with the manufacturer before signing up for one of those free Windows 10 upgrade downloads.
You have until June 29 2016 to make it happen, so there is time.
Pricing and availability
One thing we forgot to mention was how you update, which we’ve done in another article, but we can do it here, too.
So how do you get Windows 10 on your machine?
If you have a computer from one of the brands that says yes, you can make the update, the price is free so long as you have a copy of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 on that computer.
If you have Windows 7, an update will be made available that will add a Windows icon to your notification bar, and when you click that, you’ll get the “Get Windows 10” dialog box to pop up, allowing you to reserve your place in line.
If you have Windows 8, you’ll need to update to Windows 8.1, which is another download, and from there, it’s a separate update to get that same “Get Windows 10” box that you want.
But once you have that, you’re merely reserving your place in line, because while Windows 10 is available now, it’s going to take some time for Microsoft to make its 3GB Windows 10 download available to all to get without any flaws or inconsistencies. That’s part of what Microsoft is doing with this one to help make sure the installation goes well for all.
It will take some time, that said, so if you reserve your place now, don’t expect a download until mid-August.
But hey, it’s free if you have Windows 7 or 8 (provided you’re not running Enterprise or Server), with that “free” price tag applied for one year, expiring on June 29, 2016.
If you’re building a new machine, Microsoft will be selling Windows 10 for either $179 for the Home edition or $299 for the Pro version, with the latter of these supporting some encryption, virtual machines, and remote login. Most will be fine with the Home edition, but if you know what those last features are in the Pro copy and know you’ll need them, you’ll want to go with that.
Alternatively, if you can find Windows 8.1 for a good price, you might want to go with that, since a free upgrade with a low cost Windows 8 is technically a more cost effective alternative to a full-price Windows 10, at least until June 29, 2016 when the free Windows 10 upgrade opportunity expires.