It's official: Windows 10 will be available on July 29. So, it's time to start thinking about the free upgrade process. Greg Shultz explains.
Back in April, I wrote an article titled "Microsoft hides a Windows 10 Easter Egg in Windows 7/8.1 systems," in which I investigated the KB3035583 Windows Update/Get Windows 10 program in detail and compared it to an Easter Egg as opposed to what most folks were calling it: Nagware or Adware. In any case, the egg has hatched and the Get Windows 10 program is well underway on many Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 system where the update is installed. I recently found that the Get Windows 10 program was active on my Windows 8.1 test system and began investigating it in detail. Let's take a closer look.
A simple notification
I first noticed a Windows icon appear in the notification area. Nothing popped up or took over my screen with advertisements; the Windows icon was just there. When I hovered my mouse pointer over the icon, the pop-up simply displayed Get Windows 10 (Figure A).
The Get Windows 10 program simply displays a Windows flag in the notification area.
The context menu
When I right-clicked the flag icon, a context menu appeared containing several options related to the new operating system (Figure B). I started at the bottom of the menu and worked my way up.
The context menu provides you with access to everything that you need to know about getting Windows 10.
Clicking the Get to know Windows 10 command launches Internet Explorer and connects to a Windows 10 Q&A page (Figure C). This page is full of information and contains 25 answers to the most common questions anyone would want to know about getting Windows 10.
This Q&A page contains answers to the most common questions you're likely to have about Windows 10.
If you want to access the Windows 10 Q&A page right now, just click here.
Clicking the Go to Windows Update command takes you to Windows Update, which displays another UI that basically provides you with access to the Q&A page and allows you to reserve your copy of Windows 10 (Figure D).
You can reserve you free Windows 10 upgrade from within Windows Update.
Clicking the Reserve your free upgrade command launches a five-page informational presentation. You just click through the slides to learn more about what Windows 10 has to offer (Figure E). This is basically the advertisement that everyone feared would be forced upon us by the Get Windows 10 program. However, as you can see, it's completely optional.
This five-page advertisement presentation is completely optional.
Now, when you click the Get Windows 10 command, you'll launch what's essentially an upgrade advisor that examines your system to check if it's ready for Windows 10. It quickly scans your hardware, devices, and installed programs for known compatibility issues and provides you guidance on what, if anything, you need to do before the upgrade (Figure F).
As a part of the reservation process, the Get Windows 10 app runs an upgrade advisor.
As you can see, on my test system, no issues were found that would prevent or cause problems with the upgrade. However, you'll notice that I received a warning about Windows Media Center not being available in Windows 10. According to the information on the Q&A page, Microsoft will be providing a free DVD playback app in Windows 10 for those users who were using Windows Media Center. (I'm not sure if the DVD playback app will be free on those systems that didn't have Windows Media Center. I doubt it though, since the Windows Media Center in Windows 8/8.1 cost extra.)
After the upgrade advisor displays, you'll see a message telling you that your free upgrade has been reserved (Figure G). If you wish to receive an email confirmation, just provide an email address.
Once you reserve your copy of Windows 10, you can provide an email address in order to receive a confirmation.
You'll then be notified that there's nothing else to do until you receive your notification that Windows 10 is ready for you to download and install (Figure H).
After you reserve your copy, there's nothing left to do but wait.
If you reserve your free copy of Windows 10 and then get cold feet, you can cancel your reservation at any time prior to installing Windows 10. Just right-click the Windows icon in the notification area and select the Check your upgrade status command. When the Get Windows 10 dialog appears, access the menu, select the View confirmation command, and then click Cancel reservation (Figure I).
If you get cold feet, you can cancel your reservation.
Remove the Windows flag
If you get tired of seeing the Windows flag in the notification area, you can disable it just like you would any other notification. Just select the Show hidden icons arrow in the notification area and click the Customize button. When you see he Notification Area Icons dialog, select Hide icons and notifications (Figure J).
You can hide the Get Windows 10 notification icon.
What's your take?
So, you can see, the Get Windows 10 program makes it extremely easy for you to learn more about and get your FREE copy of Windows 10. Did you install the KB3035583 Windows Update back in April? Have you investigated the Get Windows 10 app? Let us know in the discussion thread below.