Windows 10 Free Upgrade: Everything You Need to Know

Windows 10 free upgrade

Windows 10 free upgrade download will available on 29 July 2015. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users can reserve now and start the download before the release date.

Windows 10 free upgrade
Windows 10 free upgrade

Good news! Finally, Microsoft officially announced the Windows 10 release date – July 29th, 2015! The new Windows operating system will be available in 190 markets globally.

All existing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users are eligible for FREE Windows 10 upgrade. You can download and install Windows 10 free of charge within 1 year after the release date (before 29 July 2016). You still have a lot of time to consider whether you want to upgrade or not… (check out new Windows 10 features below)

Reminder: It is a full version of Windows 10, not a trial. Free. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Microsoft want everyone install Windows 10!

Get Windows 10

Windows users are getting “Get Windows 10” icon in their system tray to reserve free Windows 10 upgrade.

Screenshot: Get Windows 10
Screenshot: Get Windows 10 (hat tip: weilian)

Click on the “Get Windows 10” icon to read how the reservation work. Basically, your computer will automatically download Windows 10 (3GB download size) as soon as it is available. You will then receive a notification when Windows 10 download is completed and you can choose a time to install Windows 10.

Click “Reserve your free upgrade” button to proceed. You need to confirm your email address so that Microsoft can send you a notification when Windows 10 is ready.

Why do you need to reserve while Windows 10 is a free upgrade? By reservation, you confirm your computer is compatible with Windows 10. Your computer must run Windows 7 Service Pack 1(SP1) or Windows 8.1. No Windows 10 upgrade for Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1, sorry.

Upgrade files will be downloaded to your PC before the release date to make final installation faster, no need to fight for the download bandwidth with millions of users after July 29, 2015.

You can turn off the Windows 10 upgrade notification by clicking “Customize” in the System Tray and turn off the Get Windows 10 app notifications in the menu.

You will still get free Windows 10 even you do not reserve. Don’t worry. Visit Windows 10 Q&A for more questions and answers.

Refer to the following Windows 10 upgrade edition table to see which Windows 10 edition you will getting.

Windows 10 upgrade editions
Windows 10 upgrade editions

Windows 10 system requirements

Basically, if your computer can run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 then it will run Windows 10. You can check to see if your computer meets the requirements by using “Check my PC” in the Get Windows 10 app.

Here are the Windows 10 system requirements:

  • Latest OS: Make sure you are running the latest version either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 1024×600

Windows 10 features

Windows 10 brings back the Start menu combining with Windows 8 live tiles to easily find your files, applications, and favorites.

Windows Hello enables you to unlock Windows with your face or fingerprint (requires an infrared camera or iris detection or fingerprint reader).

Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, is included in Windows 10 to provide recommendations, information and your todos with reminders.

Microsoft Edge replaces Internet Explorer to be the Windows 10 web browser. You can write notes directly to web pages in Edge and share with your friends. It also built-in “reading view” and Cortana.

Xbox on Windows 10 brings Xbox Live gaming network to PC, enable you to compete against Xbox console players, and stream games from Xbox One console to Windows 10 at home. (Check Xbox Live Countries) Windows 10 supports DirectX 12 games for better gaming experience.

Other Windows 10 apps including Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Photo app, Music app, and more.

Windows 10 price

In case you missed the Windows 10 free upgrade period (1 year, duh!) or want to upgrade from older Windows, you can buy Windows 10 Home with $110USD. Windows 10 Pro will cost you $199USD. Windows 10 Pro Pack that upgrade Home edition to Pro edition is $99USD.

Will you upgrade to Windows 10? Why?

16 Best New Features of Windows 8.1 You Want to Know

Windows 8.1 personalized lock screen

Windows 8.1 – a free update to Windows 8 – has been launched in October 2013. Windows 8.1 maybe looks identical to Windows 8 but there are many new features and improvements inside.

Here I compiled a list of 16 best new features of Windows 8.1. Let us know which feature you like most in the comment section?

1. Start button is back! (not really…)

Windows 8.1 Start button
Windows 8.1 Start button

Good news: “Start button is back in Windows 8.1.”
Bad news: “It is not THE Start button.”

Microsoft brings back the classic “Start” button in Windows 8.1 after removed it in Windows 8 (criticized by many users).

However, it is not the old Start button that we know. Click/tap on it bring you to Start screen (Modern UI a.k.a Metro UI) by default, not the old Windows cascade menu.

“What da…!”

Good thing is that you can change the Start button to show all your apps (Apps view) – Goto “navigation” tab on the taskbar properties dialog, tick “Show the Apps view automatically when I goto Start”.

In media discussion with Sunny Ooi, Consumer Channels Group Director Microsoft Malaysia, pointed out that “traditional Windows cascade menu is not ideal for touch screen and different screen sizes – small to big”.

Additionally, power users can access Windows admin tools – event viewer, device manager, disk management, computer management, Windows PowerShell, etc – and shut down/restart device by right clicking the Start button.

2. Start directly to Desktop

Many traditional Windows users and those who do not own a touchscreen device would like to skip Windows 8 start screen and boot directly into Desktop mode.

Windows 8.1 Start screen settings
Windows 8.1 Start screen settings (Image credit: MaximumPC)

Now you can do it with Windows 8.1. On the “navigation” tab on the taskbar properties dialog, tick “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”.

3. More Start Screen visual options

Windows 8.1 Start screen showsing 4 different tile sizes
Windows 8.1 Start screen showsing 4 different tile sizes

App tiles on Start screen now can have 4 sizes: Large, Wide, Medium, Small. Large and Small are new tile sizes. Large tile size is 2x the height of Wide tile; Small tile is a quarter of Medium size.

You can select multiple app tiles and move them all at once. No more moving one-by-one as in Windows 8.

Start screen background can use Desktop wallpaper. The setting is “Show my desktop background on Start” on the “navigation” tab on the taskbar properties dialog.

4. All Apps view

Windows 8.1 all apps view
Windows 8.1 all apps view

Want to see all your installed apps in a view? Simply hit Ctrl+Tab to toggle between the All Apps View and the default Start Screen view.

Or, swipe up for All Apps View and swipe down for default view in the middle of the Start Screen.

5. Improved multitasking and productivity

Windows 8.1 multi-tasking
Windows 8.1 multi-tasking

Now you can have up to 4 apps side-by-side in Windows 8.1 for double productivity (only 2 apps in Windows 8). Each app on screen can have flexible size.

Multi-monitor support has been improved so that you can view the desktop or modern apps on any or all monitors.

6. Bing Smart Search

New Bing Smart Search will find everywhere – documents on device, SkyDrive, apps, song from Xbox Music, website – for your search query.

You can watch videos, play music and check Bing maps directly from the search results.

7. Windows Store Redesigned

Windows 8.1 redesigned Windows Store
Windows 8.1 redesigned Windows Store

Windows Store has new layouts and categories, such as New & Rising make it easier to stay up to date on the hottest apps.

Personalized recommendations powered by Bing advanced recommendation and relevance system help you to find your new favorites.

Best of all, apps are updated automatically by default. You always have the newest and best version of any app.

8. New lock screen

Windows 8.1 personalized lock screen
Windows 8.1 personalized lock screen

New Windows 8.1 lock screen allows you to turn your device into a digital picture frame by showing your selected photo gallery.

You can also access camera and answer Skype calls without unlock screen first.

9. Modify settings from Start

In Windows 8.1, you do not need to enter Desktop mode to modify your computer settings. Many settings can be accessed from within the Start Screen interface.

10. Better touchscreen typing

Windows 8.1 now has better touchscreen typing. It learns as you type and make suggestions based on what you have written before.

Touch keyboard child keys
Touch keyboard child keys (Image credit: Winsupersite)

Plus, you can press and hold on a key to get other options such as numbers or language-specific alternatives.

One more thing, Emoji icons are now in colour!

11. Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11
Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 is designed for touch screen with larger tabs and simpler controls, as well as speed boosts, and sync browsing history, favorites and settings across all your Windows 8.1 devices.

IE 11 features redesigned developer tools, support for WebGL,enhanced scaling for high DPI screens,SPDY, prerender and prefetch. (WikiPedia)

12. Your Windows follows you

When you logon Windows 8.1 with your Microsoft account, your Windows stuff – Windows settings, photos, apps, music, and so on – are automatically synced. Apps not on your device are not automatically download but you can see the app icon in All Apps View and one-click to install them.

13. SkyDrive Cloud in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 Skydrive
Windows 8.1 Skydrive

With deep SkyDrive cloud integration in Windows 8.1, you can create, edit and save files to SkyDrive cloud just like you save files on your PC.

Then, you can online access the latest version of your files anywhere, anytime on whatever device you are using.

Since your files are online and backed up on SkyDrive, they are always safe, even something bad happens to your device.

14. Native 3D Printing Support

Windows 8.1 is the 1st operating system provides native support for 3D printing. It has plug-and-play support for 3D printers, enable apps to print 3D jobs and understand 3D file formats.

15. High-DPI and DPI Scaling Support

In Windows 8.1 each display can have its own dot-per-inch (DPI) scaling factor which makes the relative scale of content consistent.

Meaning, if you have multiple displays mixed with normal resolution and 4K monitor or ultra-high resolution laptop, the on-screen content will be scaled consistently across different displays.

16. Quiet Time

Windows 8.1 Quiet Time
Windows 8.1 Quiet Time (Image credit: Lifehacker)

Windows 8.1’s Quiet Time is your device’s “Do Not Disturb” mode. You can put your device to stay silent — no app notification allowed — for a preset time, like nighttime. Goto Windows Settings, then Search and Apps, turn Quiet Hours on in Notifications and set the quiet hours.

Bonus: FREE Windows 8.1!

Windows 8.1 is free update for Windows 8 users. The online update download size is over 3GB.

  1. At Start screen, tap or click Store tile.
  2. Tap or click the Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 in Store.
  3. Tap or click Download.
  4. Download will start and install in the background while you can still use your PC to do other things.

Read more information on Windows 8.1 update here.

New Windows devices are also shipped with Windows 8.1 since October 2013.

Buy Windows 8.1

If your PC is not currently running Windows 8 or Windows RT, you can buy Windows 8.1 online download at USD119.99 and Windows 8.1 Pro for USD$199.99. DVD box edition is USD$169 for Windows 8.1 and $289.99 for Windows 8.1 Pro.

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Now you learn the 16 best features of Windows 8.1. Which one is your favourite? Did I miss out any new features? What are the features you would like to see in Windows 8.2? Please tell us in the comment.

The Best Windows Laptop is… Apple MacBook Pro!

Apple MacBook Pro is best windows laptop
Apple MacBook Pro is best windows laptop
Apple MacBook Pro is the best windows laptop

If you are looking for a best performance and reliability Windows laptop, you should consider Apple MacBook Pro. No joke!

Soluto, an online PC management service, released a report which awarded Apple MacBook Pro 13 (US$1,129.98) as the “Best Performing Windows Laptop” based on a combination of crashes, hangs, BSoDs, boot time and background processes.

The result certainly please Apple fanboys and become another reason/excuse to buy an Apple laptop.

According to Soluto that the reason MacBook Pro scored well is because every Windows installation on Apple laptop is a clean installation – no PC manufacturers’ crapware.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch on Amazon.com

Interestingly, the MacBook Pro 15″ Retina scored worse (Ranked 6th) than MacBook Pro 13″, despite that the former has newer and better hardware and both use clean Windows installation.

Using Windows on MacBook has its disadvantages, such as setup BootCamp, buy & install Windows, driver issues, and keyboard not mapping for Windows.

How about non-Apple laptops?

Aspire E1-571

Acer 15.6″ Aspire E1-571 won the 2nd place in the list. The result has surprised Soluto team because the Acer E series laptop is entry-level notebook. Nevertheless, Aspire E1-571 is the 2nd most reliable Windows laptop. Price was not taken into account in the report.

You could buy almost 3 of those for the price of one MacBook Pro 13″3, so this is a superb option for budget-minded businesses who like big laptops (15″6).

In the top 10, Apple notebooks proudly gained 2 spots (1st and 6th). Acer got the 2nd and 5th (Aspire V3-771). Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is the 10th.

I would say Dell is the biggest winner because Dell laptops won 5 out of 10 spots with Dell XPS13 at 3rd place.

By the way, some famous laptop brands did not make to the Top 10: ASUS, HP, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba are not in the list. I wonder what’s these brands standing in the Top 50 of Best Windows Laptop.

ASUS Transformer AiO is All-in-One Windows 8 PC cum Supersize Android Tablet

ASUS Transformer AiO P1801 is all-in-one Windows 8 desktop PC with standalone Android tablet
ASUS Transformer AiO P1801 is all-in-one Windows 8 desktop PC with standalone Android tablet
ASUS Transformer AiO P1801 is all-in-one Windows 8 desktop PC with standalone Android tablet

ASUS Transformer AiO P1801 is world’s first Windows 8 desktop PC with standalone Android tablet. How is it possible? Read on to find out.

ASUS Transformer AiO consists of two parts: a) PC dock station and b) a detachable 18.4-inch tablet. The tablet itself is a Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) tablet powered by NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-core processor. Inside the PC Station are Intel Core processor and other computer hardware to run Windows 8.

Read moreASUS Transformer AiO is All-in-One Windows 8 PC cum Supersize Android Tablet

Celcom Offer Samsung ATIV Smart PC Windows 8 Tablet with 3G

Samsung ATIV Smart PC
Samsung ATIV Smart PC
Samsung ATIV Smart PC

Celcom offer Samsung ATIV Smart PC, the Samsung’s first Windows 8 3G tablet. Visit Blue Cube Sunway Iconic on 25 January 2013 to receive Celcom exclusive offers including Liquipel vouchers and Samsung Keyboard Dock & Pouch.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC

Samsung ATIV Smart PC is a Windows 8 tablet that support 3G connectivity. Meaning, you can run full Windows desktop software such as Microsoft Office suite on the tablet; support  USB “plug and play” to PC peripherals such as printer; Access Internet on-the-go using 3G data connection.

In short, Samsung ATIV Smart PC is a full Windows 8 computer in tablet size that closes the gap between work and leisure.

Now, let’s learn about the hardware specs of the Windows 8 tablet. Samsung ATIV Smart PC is powered by Intel Atom processor for a balance in between processing power and battery life. The 11.6-inch touchscreen display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.  It has 2GB RAM and 64GB storage space, support Micro SD. The build-in 30WH battery provides battery life up to 10 hours continuous video playback.

You would be delighted to find that Samsung ATIV Smart PC has a 8 MegaPixel (MP) rear camera to take photos and then edit & upload them all on the tablet, as well as a 2MP front camera for video conference calls.

For connectivity, ATIV Smart PC supports WiFi (802.11 n/g/b/a), Bluetooth 4.0, and 3G/4G LTE. It also has a USB2.0 port and mini HDMI for data input/output.

Like Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung ATIV Smart PC includes a S-Pen & S-note for note taking and easily add remarks on documents. It’s convenience! When you need to do a lot of typing (that’s me!), a magnetic keyboard dock instantly turn the tablet into a 11.6-inch notebook.

Samsung ATIV Smart PC retail price is RM2499 (~USD833) in Malaysia. With Celcom First Data plan, you can get it from RM1,758. Read on for the details.

Gallery

Buy Samsung ATIV Smart PC with Celcom First Data

Since ATIV Smart PC supports 3G connectivity, it would be a good idea to subscribe a data plan for it. Celcom now offer Samsung ATIV Smart PC from RM1758 with Celcom First Data + Voice plans. The Celcom First Data + Voice plan start from RM48. Celcom has the widest network coverage in Malaysia and offer best network quality for messaging, calls, web surfing, etc.

Check out Celcom Samsung ATIV Smart PC plans in the table below:

Celcom Samsung ATIV Smart plans
Celcom Samsung ATIV Smart plans

Celcom exclusive offer

Are you interested to buy Samsung ATIV Smart PC? Visit Blue Cube Sunway Iconic on 25 January 2013 for Celcom exclusive offers. The first 200 customers who sign up with any Celcom First Data plan will receive Liquipel,  water safe nano-coating, service voucher worth RM90. The first 30 customers will get FREE Samsung Keyboard Dock & Pouch worth RM550.

Visit Celcom website for more information.

*This post is sponsored by Celcom