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Windows 10 free upgrade clock is running out

IT administrators that don’t have the ball rolling on a Windows 10 upgrade for their companies might be haunted by Will Smith’s voice reading Raphael de la Ghetto’s poem in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air: “Tick tock clock, the clock is ticking for you.”

Why is the clock ticking? Well, believe it or not, Windows 10 celebrates its first birthday on July 29. While most birthday parties are celebrations with cake and presents, this anniversary is more like a deadline; it signals the end of the free upgrade period. Any company that hesitates much longer will be forced to purchase a Windows 10 license with its upgrade, which can be pricey. The Windows 10 Pro license, for example, costs $199. And because Windows 10 is the last new OS Microsoft plans to release, most organizations will make the move to it eventually so why not do it while it’s free?

Hesitation is particularly costly for Windows 7 customers because the OS is already in extended support, which means companies have to pay Microsoft for any traditional support needs on the OS. Extended support won’t last forever either. It is scheduled to end in January 2020.

So with the clock ticking on the free upgrade period, the IT procrastinators are probably wondering how they can get a free upgrade before it’s too late and how the upgrade process works in general. First of all, the free upgrade is only available on qualified version of Windows 7 and 8.1. The qualified versions include:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

Once admins have determined if their users qualify for the free upgrade, they must take a few considerations very seriously. Their hardware must be compatible with the new operating system. To run the 32-bit version of Windows 10, for example, the minimum requirements include 1 GHZ or faster CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB free disk space and a display that supports 1024×600 resolution.

Application compatibility is also something to keep in mind. Yes, most Windows 7 and 8 apps do work on Windows 10, but they might need patches to function properly. Before making the move to Windows 10 admins should take stock of their app inventory and research any apps that might have issues. Admins should not overlook infrastructure apps either. Some older apps, such as aging antivirus software, might run into problems with the new OS.

Clearly the time is now to make the move to Windows 10. Take stock of hardware and apps and get a plan in place before it’s too late.