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
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  1. Norman White said on August 16, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Have no additional comments to make. I just hope you can help me with the above problems

  2. Norman White said on August 16, 2019 at 7:54 am

    I am having a horrendous time trying to find simple functions on Windows 10 after upgrading from Windows 7. I have purchased Windows 10 for Dummies and it FAILS to address basic questions.

    Actions I use almost daily are
    (1) Centering headings and text. How is this done?
    (2) Some of my headings eg date and other relevant information is shown against the right margin but cannot find any information about this important function?
    (3) How do I justify text on both sides of the page when required?
    (4) How do I bold words in text for emphasis?
    (5) How do I set rules across the page above the page number at the bottom and in the body of the copy to separate information?

  3. E Lehman said on January 19, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    What kind of a program is this Windows 10 anyway. I can’t file something not finished and bring it back up to work on,. it just won’t do anything. The way to send e-mails has been changed. This program seems to be for offices, not the individual. Whoever designed this program should go back and do a better job. Nothing works well, underline just keeps underlining, the spacing when changed keeps going back to double spacing. It is terrible. Do you have any suggestions besides throwing it in the garbage and getting something else that works?

  4. carol said on August 6, 2017 at 3:54 am

    I have windows DVD drive says it’s a DVD RW drive:E does that mean it will only accept DVD RW’S? when I try to use a cd or a dvd plus R it reopens the door and refuses them.

  5. Bob said on November 29, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I have many photos in Windows 7 Photo Gallery and have set-up numerous folders and slide shows. I have read that in Windows 10, the photos will be rearranged by date. Will this change the order of photos in the folders or slide shows?

  6. Colin said on August 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Since upgrading to windows 10 I cannot open my USB drive to open contents . I can see the drive but there is no way I can view files.

    Help would be appreciated.


  7. Jerry said on August 17, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    On Windows 10 — When I place a web page in the favorites bar — how do I get it from the favorites bar to my desktop as an icon.

  8. Susan said on August 16, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    My question is basic: my computer is nearly 10 years old. I’m assuming it won’t be able to run Windows 10, and even if it could, I have strong suspicions as to why Microsoft would just give away a new OS. What are my choices, or do I have any?

  9. gemini said on August 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    I have XP so is it wishful thinking that I can move documents, photos and most importantly Print Shop 6 and 12 to windows 10 and a new computer? Thanks

    1. Andrew said on August 11, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      To a new computer, yes you just have to install and copy the documents over… if you’re thinking of upgrading, you will lose everything though.

  10. Mike said on August 5, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Will DX12 be available for LTSB version? Currently LTSB runs 9Ex, and we have would like to use LTSB but need DX12 for development purposes.

    **EDIT – NM I realized that might be because I am running it on a VM and not actual hardware. Does the VM dumb down the DX to 9Ex by design?

  11. Shannon said on July 29, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    …”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….”

    So I will NOT be able to run my old WIndows 7 as a virtual computer?
    That is another thing…. Does Windows 10 have the virtual machine program like Windows 7 did containing Windows XP?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 29, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      No it does not have Windows XP Mode.

  12. Gerald Bailey` said on July 28, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Will windows 10 have a good user manual so that a person learn it? Or will it be like windows 8.1 that you learn if Microsoft will help?

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 28, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Seems you’re not the only one to have issues with latest Win10 pre-release, Dwight. It’ll all get fixed, don’t worry. Meanwhile it’s annoying, I can certainly understand that. Tomorrow is D-Day (Dwight!) and perhaps things will be more clear then. Sorry if I can’t help on this issue.

      1. Dwight Stegall said on July 29, 2015 at 2:36 am

        I think I figured it out. They put this on my computer but it won’t be activated until tomorrow. It’s their own fault for not saying that up front. I was never very good at reading minds. :)

  13. Ken Saunders said on July 28, 2015 at 5:56 am

    First, some blah, blah, blah’s.

    I’m one who’s embracing and appreciating getting older.
    Experience and learning from the past is great.
    Like, not repeating the same mistakes.
    For example. I went from XP to Vista.
    Big mistake.
    But I stuck with 7 when 8 came out.
    Great choice, I’ve missed nothing even though 8 is not a Vista. I liked 98 more than Vista.
    Now with 10, the only appealing things so far (to me) is that the upgrade is free and the start menu is back. The upgrade being free is a big deal to me personally.
    When 7 came out and Microsoft didn’t even offer a discount to Vista (Home or whatever it was) users, I was pissed and swore that I wouldn’t purchase Windows ever again. And I haven’t. Seven was a gift.

    I used to be a huge fan of all things MS. That ended when they pretty much abandoned IE6 and left all of us users to the wolves and then the Vista thing solidified a hatred towards them.
    But, things change and my opinions towards MS have a little.
    I like 7 a lot, Bing is my default, and I hear that they actually make a decent browser or two now. Firefox haters can thank Mozilla for that. For Chrome too while you’re at it.

    I will eventually upgrade to 10, but certainly not until it’s been out there for a while and also not until I fully understand the whole licensing thing.

    With past Windows versions, we had the option to install the OS a few times with the same key. Like, 3 times I guess. After that, you’d have to call and tell them you got a new hard drive or whatever.
    Is this what Windows 10 users who’ve upgraded from 7/8 will have to do after a clean install on a new device/hard drive?
    Call and activate it the same way?

    And, does anyone know if the retail version works the same way they always have with the ability to use it 3 (or so) times before having to call and activate it?

  14. toni said on July 26, 2015 at 10:09 am

    so, if i have a license for windows 7 pro and I DON’T want to go through that windows upgrade and wait for iso to clean install system I CAN’T get the license for windows 10? As I understand the license is converted ONLY during the upgrade process.
    Basically…I hate that :)

  15. Bryan J said on July 25, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Here’s my Windows 10 upgrade “just in case” check list:
    Magical Jelly Bean Key Finder? – Check
    Bootable USB Drive via a 3rd party backup tool? – Check
    EaseUS GoBack System Backup? – Check
    Existing Backup Partition? – Check
    External Hard Drive – Check
    50GB MEGA Account – Check
    250GB OneDrive Account with all my downloaded app’s executables, music/documents/video zip files – Check
    And for good measure, All my current applications and settings and current Windows folders backup via Cloneapp!!

    I think the above cover’s most everything I’ll need for a smooth transition. ;-)
    (and don’t forget to ‘check your system’ via the “Get Windows 10” icon in the notification area for good measure)

    I hope everyone’s upgrade goes smooth and trouble free!!

  16. george kinbote said on July 25, 2015 at 2:50 am

    what? no clean download…no iso…no dvd?
    in the immortal words of Samuel Goldwyn…include me out

    1. Doc said on July 25, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Retail versions of Windows 10 (which you will have to pay for) will be available on DVD and on USB thumbdrives. The free upgrade will allow you to make a reinstall backup (to USB drive, and possibly to recordable DVD) to refresh, repair, or reinstall Windows.

      1. Tom Hawack said on July 25, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        The free upgrade will allow you to make a reinstall backup (to USB drive, and possibly to recordable DVD) to refresh, repair, or reinstall Windows.” … on the same device only. That’s the problem and that’s why an article on Forbes writes “free” :

  17. chesscanoe said on July 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    After I go from Win7 to Win10, will I have to know my Win7 password?

  18. ilev said on July 24, 2015 at 8:06 am

    What about upgrading To Windows 10 a Windows 7 were files like : My documents, My pictures, pagefile… where move to another hdd/partition in order to free space on SSD drive ? Should these changes be reverted before the upgrade ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

      Good question. While the files are carried over, I don’t know if the links are as well. I’d say that this is not the case but have not verified it.

  19. Ray W said on July 24, 2015 at 6:35 am

    My system is encrypted with VeraCrypt. Will I have to unencrypt it before updating from Win 7 to Win 10? If Microsoft is really concerned about security, shouldn’t BitLocker be available on all systems?

    1. Andrew said on July 24, 2015 at 11:21 am

      you’re best to decrypt your system first before you upgrade and then re-encrypt after. That’s what I would do. Bitlocker is only on Pro

  20. jasray said on July 24, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Maybe work it out and follow the typical steps for making a system disc image; remember, the upgrade is purely optional. Unless one has a lot of time for fooling around with Windows 10 for the sheer sake of vanity and saying, “I am running Windows 10; it’s so cool” I’d recommend leaving all as.

    1. For Product Key/Activation–use Advanced Tokens Manger and save on external drive.
    2. Clean the current system–get rid of clutter: old programs, etc. CCleaner, etc. May want to defrag. Run malware/virus check.
    3. Create a fresh disc image using Macrium and one other program; make sure both images are on external drives and fresh restore discs are created.
    4. Verify the image and make sure the machine will boot the restore disc and find the image; reason for two images? One may not work. For most users, this may not be a problem; for me to lose an entire SSD or HDD–bad day in the park.
    5. Do whatever now; it may be smart to use the EaseUS program Martin mentioned yesterday, but upgrading and downgrading isn’t perfected. Something not-so-good will occur and a small message like the famous “system restore could not restore your system” will be replaced with something like “EaseUs System GoBack Encountered problems. Please reboot.” Maybe not, but is it worth the risk?

    This is great time to pretend one is in IT with 100 or more computers and users.

    Note: Read a few articles written by techies who interview BIG corporations to find out how many BIG corporations have the time and trust MS to the point of upgrading in the middle of the year.

  21. Oxa said on July 24, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Will Win10 be available as a download (e.g. ISO file), or will it be available only through Windows Update?

    Is it true that you can’t upgrade directly from Win8, but must upgrade to 8.1 first?

    1. ilev said on July 24, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Yes to both questions.

  22. Ron said on July 23, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    I’m glad I’m learning Linux so I don’t have to worry about this crap.

  23. Anonymous said on July 23, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Will Win10 be available to install from a download (e.g., ISO file) or just through the Windows Update process?

    Is it true that you can only upgrade to Win10 from Win8.1 and not Win8?

  24. Tom Hawack said on July 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm

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

    I just don’t get it.

    I have a Windows 7 license. I can install Windows 7 on a new computer and my license will remain valid.

    With the new converted Windows 10 license, I can create, once Win10 installed, an installation media on USB/DVD but valid only on the same device (what characterizes the device by the way?). If I buy a new computer after that, what becomes of my license?

    Windows 10 remains a most problematic, confusing commercial mess. Only commercial, I do hope.

    1. jimbobillyjoe said on July 25, 2015 at 2:09 am

      This is the biggest question for me and I wont be touching 10 until it is answered officially and clearly.

      I consider my “device” to be the box sitting in front of me and not the various parts that run it. Those are transitory. I’m not going to lose my OS license just because my motherboard died or I want to get a better SSD.

    2. Andrew said on July 23, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      I believe that if you deactivate your license on one machine, then you can activate it on another…

      But this was something I read, we won’t know the details until it is released.

      1. an said on July 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

        If I understood it correctly Your current retail Win7 license will be CONVERTED into a NEW windows 10 license.
        this windows 10 license is lifetime for the device aka motherboard most possibly will automatically get en new valid license.
        This would in some point of view mean a degradation of the license but when in 3 years windows 11 comes out you’ll have still a valid license for that new OS.

      2. Andrew said on July 24, 2015 at 12:25 am

        Yes, Microsoft has been horrible at explaining things, but i’m guessing it would be the same process as prior licenses. Install, attempt to activate, call number, done….

        And I figure upgrading a win7/8 retail license will give you a 10 retail licenses and OEM to a OEM license.

      3. Nebulus said on July 24, 2015 at 12:19 am

        There is no such thing as “license deactivation” per se at Microsoft… They simply let you activate the license on another computer if the license allows it; however I don’t know exactly what kind of policy they have regarding Win10 and they don’t tend to communicate too well on the subject either…

      4. Tom Hawack said on July 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm

        Then why is it stated that a clean install will be possible on the same device only?
        I mean, in 2015, with a company like Microsoft, having to scrub one’s neurons as if we were bargaining a carpet in a souk is annoying to put it mildly.

        A better, a good scenario would have been :
        A valid license for Win7/8/8.1 -> Microsoft sends the user a new license and either a link to download Win10 in ISO format, either charges the user the price of a postal sending of Win10 on DVD, like it had been done for Win7… what is so complicated in that?

        Let them go to hell. I can tell you one thing : Windows 10 available July 29th? : August 2015 will be the worst month Microsoft will have had to endure. there will be complaints from everywhere, downgrades as well, leading forum topics will run around ‘How to downgrade from Win10?’ … the whole upgrade process is odd, unhealthy. It won’t count me in.

  25. hirobo2 said on July 23, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Can anyone else confirm that we can’t go back to our old Win7/8.1 license after 30 days post W10 upgrade?

    1. Anonymous said on October 25, 2018 at 2:37 pm
    2. ilev said on July 24, 2015 at 10:36 am

      It is confirmed. It is part of the EULA in RTM 10240,.

  26. freakassoid said on July 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    i’m worred about these partitions on my hard drive that got added when i upgraded to Win 8.1 from Win 8

    then i had to restore back to Win 8 and got a second restore partition when i upgraded back to Win 8.1

    and the Microsoft Support Engineer from Microsoft Community forum saying that the Windows 10 upgrade
    will mess up installing because of the added restore partitions i got from the Win 8.1 upgrade

    and what happens to the OEM restore partition on my HP computer is it just left there ?

    i know there are others out there like me and they do not know it and will try to upgrade lol



    1. fokka said on July 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      i would say win10 will simply try to install onto your current C: drive, if those recovery partitions will be a problem i don’t know. i would do a full system backup anyway before upgrading and if win10 encounters problems during upgrade i would try to remove the win8/8.1 recovery partitions and try again.

  27. Jared Ferguson said on July 23, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Will Edge and IE 11 still stay 2 different browsers on 2 different engines.

    1. hirobo2 said on July 23, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Wasn’t it a while ago I read Win10 Enterprise will NOT ship with Edge, only IE? That means most of the business world will continue to cater to IE11 while Edge is mostly for consumer devices?!?!?

      1. Andrew said on July 23, 2015 at 11:25 pm

        No, Not really. Not sure why you would make that conclusion. This is specifically for IT that doesn’t want “new features” and strictly want bugfixes and security patches from what I read.

        But I mean if you are in Corporate IT that is completely familiar with the enterprises licenses that microsoft offers, I would gladly like to hear your knowledge on how you state that no corporate will use edge now.

      2. hirobo2 said on July 23, 2015 at 11:08 pm

        I think it was in the first Spider-man movie where a civilian went to the Goblin, “You mess with one of us [Enterprise users], then you mess with all of us [Enterprise users]”.

        Removing Edge from one Enterprise branch of Win10 simply means Edge won’t be as relevant to Enterprise as to Consumers!

      3. Andrew said on July 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm

        Well, you’re half right. This only points to enterprises on LTSB, not all enterprise users. To quote the ZDNET article:

        “Machines on the LTSB will receive only security and hot fixes, and no new features, for ten years. LTSB is an option for customers running mission-critical or otherwise locked-down applications who cannot risk having new features and feature updates pushed to them.”

      4. hirobo2 said on July 23, 2015 at 10:05 pm

        This article is dated June 2015, so the info should still be valid. W10 Enterprise will NOT come with Edge browser?

      5. Andrew said on July 23, 2015 at 9:54 pm

        Never heard that, I heard that it is shipped with both edge and IE

    2. Andrew said on July 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      to my knowledge, yes. IE/Trident will be for legacy purposes.

  28. Jeff said on July 23, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    “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).”

    Just an FYI for those interested, Classic Start is already working just fine with Windows 10, for those who prefer a true Win 7 start menu. I find the Win 10 start menu, and anything metro related, to be quite ugly.

  29. Karol said on July 23, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I have two questions:

    1.Will installation media be also available for Windows OEM?
    2.When some Windows updates causes problems with my computer, can I disable them so after uninstalling them they won’t be installed again?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 23, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Karol, we will have to wait until after the release to know for sure.

  30. George said on July 23, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Will I have to reload, things I use like foxfire, ccleaner, my pictures, and other things in documents??

    1. Rick said on July 23, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      If you are doing an upgrade, the answer is no, you don’t have to reinstall apps and your existing documents are retained.

      Having said this, doing an OS upgrade can go wrong (drivers etc) so backing up / cloning before upgrading is recommended.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      No, usually not. If you upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8, programs and files should remain available. I do recommend to backup important files though prior to the upgrade to have a backup at hand if things go wrong.

      1. manideep said on December 14, 2018 at 6:29 am

        differnce between windows 10 and windows 8

      2. Anonymous said on October 25, 2018 at 2:35 pm
      3. George Melendez said on July 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm

        That’s good to know. I was worried about Firefox which is my default browser with over 50 bookmarks. I will make a backup just in case but glad to hear that programs and files will not be lost. Thanks for the info and BTW, excellent article… keep up the good work.

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