Important Windows 10 Questions and Answers

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 23, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft will unveil Windows 10 on July 29 and deliver it via Windows Update to millions of computer systems who opted in to upgrade to the new operating system from Windows 7 or Windows 8.

While a release is less than a week away, some questions about Windows 10 have not been answered yet.

This short FAQ about Windows 10 is about questions that we know the (official) answers for. That does not make them less important but it could be that you know the answer to one or multiple of the questions already.

Before we start, I'd like to encourage you to ask additional questions in the comment section below so that we all can answer them and clear any confusion that may still exist this way.

1. Is Windows 10 really free

The rumor that Windows 10 is not really free, at least for systems eligible to upgrade to it for free, won't die. Microsoft could have avoided it completely by wording the Windows 10 is free for users upgrading from existing Windows 7 or Windows 8 systems more carefully.

In short, yes Windows 10 is free for users who upgrade a licensed version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 in the first year of release of the new operating system.

Microsoft won't charge afterwards and will not force a subscription-based service on users who upgrade to Windows 10.

2. What happens to the previous license?

If you upgrade from an existing Windows 7 or Windows 8 system, what happens to the license after the upgrade?

Systems can be downgraded to an earlier version of Windows up to 30 days after the upgrade has been run.

Microsoft converts existing Windows 7 and 8 licenses to Windows 10 during the upgrade process. Users who downgrade in the first 30 days will have their licenses converted back to the previous license.

Basically, the license for the earlier version of Windows is converted to a Windows 10 license by Microsoft during the upgrade.

3. What's the benefit of reserving the upgrade?

Upgrades to Windows 10 can be reserved on systems running eligible copies of Windows 7 or 8. The only thing that reserving does is preload some operating system files before July 29, 2015.

The company would have to provide a massive amount of bandwidth if all systems were to be upgraded on a single day. To avoid this, reservations are used to spread the distribution to multiple days.

Users benefit from this as they won't experience slow download speeds.

A reservation is not required to accept the free upgrade offer. In fact, most experts suggest to wait with the upgrade until the dust settles to avoid issues that may come to light during the first weeks or months of availability.

4. Will all programs, games and apps run on Windows 10?

This cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Generally speaking, if something ran on Windows 8, it is likely also running on Windows 10.

The vast majority of apps, games and programs will run just fine on Windows 10.

Users who run the "Get Windows 10" offer on their computer will be informed about incompatibilities by the application.

According to Microsoft, programs and files remain available after the upgrade to Windows 10.

5. Are features or programs removed in Windows 10 that earlier versions supported?

Yes, that is unfortunately the case. Microsoft abandoned Windows Media Center and won't ship it in Windows 10. In addition to that, users won't be able to play DVDs natively as third-party software, VLC Media Player for instance, is required to add the functionality back.

Other features that are not available include:

  1. Desktop gadgets are not supported (they were in Windows 7).
  2. Games may be removed or offered as applications instead.

6. What about clean installs?

There are two main questions that users who plan to upgrade to Windows 10 may have in regards to clean installs. First, can they do a clean install after they have upgraded, and second, can they do that even during the process?

According to Gabriel Aul, users who have accepted the upgrade offer may reinstall Windows 10 on the same device at any time.

The official Windows 10 FAQ provides the following information that clarify this further:

Can I reinstall Windows 10 on my computer after upgrading?

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.

It is interesting to note that this works for upgrading a 32-bit system to a 64-bit version of Windows 10 as well. As Microsoft notes, users need to run the upgrade from the 32-bit old version of Windows to Windows 10 first, and then use a clean install to install a 64-bit version of the operating system.

7. Which editions of Windows 10 are available?

End users get access to the two desktop editions Home and Pro. If you upgrade to Windows 10 from an earlier version, the edition you get depends on the earlier version's edition.

Generally speaking, all Starter, Home and Basic editions of Windows 7 and 8 are upgraded to Windows 10 Home, while all Pro and Ultimate editions are upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.

There are major differences between Home and Pro systems, but the most important ones are the following:

  1. As Microsoft notes on the specifications page, Windows 10 Home "users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available". What this means is that updates are mandatory on those systems, while Pro users have eight months that they can delay updates for.
  2. Home systems don't support BitLocker or Group Policy Management, as well as several other (mostly business) related features such as Remote Desktop, Domain Join or Enterprise Mode.

 8. What are the core new features of Windows 10?

Windows 10 ships with several new features and changes. Here is a short selection of important features or changes:

  1. The operating system uses a regular Start Menu that combines the functionality of Windows 7 with the start screen of Windows 8. It features live tiles (which you can remove).
  2. Cortana, the personal voice-controlled assistant is integrated in Windows 10.
  3. DirectX 12 will be a Windows 10 exclusive
  4. Microsoft Edge, the company's new web browser, will be Windows 10 exclusive and the default browser on the system.
  5. Biometric support (Windows Hello) for authentication.
  6. Virtual desktop support.
  7. New notification center.
  8. Improved command prompt.

Now You: Have other questions? Post them in the comments below.

Important Windows 10 Questions and Answers
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Important Windows 10 Questions and Answers
The article lists a series of important questions about Windows 10, and the answers that Microsoft gives to those questions.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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