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Although I have written about Windows 10 earlier this year, I’m still fielding questions on a regular basis. Although many computer users befuddled by the idiosyncrasies of Windows 8 welcomed the arrival of free copies of Windows 10 as if they were early Christmas gifts, electronics vendors are still wistfully longing for improved new computer sales this holiday season. Nearly 132 million computers are now running Windows 10; this represents about 8.8% of the 1.5 billion PCs around the world.
While the early adoption rate exceeded that of Windows 7, that initial surge of interest appears to be dwindling. Microsoft is changing strategies to encourage more installations of Windows 10.
At present, optional installation is encouraged by the “Get Windows 10” app installed with Windows updates several months ago. At first, accepting this offer would download the required installation files on a delayed basis and, upon completion, urged you to begin the install process. Today the download process usually begins immediately! If you have grown weary of refusing daily offers to download Windows 10, you can stop the messages and even prevent the installation of Windows 10 by downloading and running the “GWX Control Panel” from the “Ultimate Outsider” website. You can undo the blocking by running the GWX Control Panel again.
Early next year, Microsoft will push adoption even more aggressively by categorizing Windows 10 as a ‘Recommended Update”. This will “simplify the upgrade process” – the Windows 10 upgrade will automatically begin if your PC is set to install both important and recommended updates as they become available (NOTE: this is the most common setting!) You can change your update settings for Windows 7 in Control Panel / Windows Updates and for Windows 8.1 in Settings / Update and Recovery.
If you elect to retain your current programs and data files during the update process, you can easily revert to your prior installation for 30 days after completing the installation. Simply go to Settings / Recovery and select “Go back to your previous version of Windows” to start the process. The reversion process completes much more rapidly than the upgrade process
The anticipated “Threshold 2” Windows 10 Fall Update due to arrive by the end of November will provide multiple performance improvements and bug fixes in scattered areas along with at least 4 new apps, but the expected extensions for the new Microsoft Edge browser will not be included . If you postponed claiming your free update until the product is as complete and stable as possible, you need not wait any longer – this is the last announced significant update for Windows 10 until the summer of 2016. The free update offer is set to expire on July 29th next year.
If you are still hoping to buy a new PC with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, be advised that sales of these computers will end on October 31, 2016. Support for Windows 7 will end in 2020 and support for Windows 8.1 will end in 2023. Windows 10 will be supported into 2025.