With the announcement of a free year of Windows 10 for all users, virtually everyone has wondered about the new operating system’s compatibility with their existing PCs. Windows 10 is a direct upgrade from the most previous versions of Windows, meaning the installation can be done from either Windows 7 or either version of Windows 8. Click here to learn more about potential compatibility issues with Windows 10.
When you proceed with the Windows 10 upgrade, a Compatibility Report will open to tell you if the upgrade will run on your PC. You’ll also see a list of hardware and software that may experience altered function or may not work at all after the upgrade, although the list of compatibility issues is expected to grow shorter as rollout and development continues. In addition to the Compatibility Report, you may find it helpful to check the Windows 10 required spec details on Microsoft’s website.
Although the vast majority of your files, documents and programs should smoothly transfer to Windows 10, there is always the possibility that issues may arise during the upgrade process. For this reason, it can be a good idea to back up your personal data to an external drive or other memory source before starting the upgrade. Backups can also be helpful for retaining downloaded applications and settings, which may not fully migrate with the automatic upgrade depending on the device used.
The Windows 10 installation process will also avoid migrating programs it sees as redundant based on its own native utilities. For example, an outdated third-party antivirus program may be uninstalled during the upgrade and often replaced with the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Defender. Manufacturer applications specific to your computer that are uninstalled during the upgrade process will be replaced with the most updated versions.
Windows 10 also features a Compatibility Mode that extends the versatility of the OS by effectively running older applications in the environment for which they were designed. Windows 10 automatically enables compatibility options for critical applications that may not otherwise work with this version of the OS, and you can also enable these compatibility options by accessing the Properties menu of an application.
If your Windows device has shown an update notification, it is compatible with Windows 10, although all files and utilities on the device may not be. While highly outdated applications such as 16-bit programs are not compatible with Windows 10, most others will work just fine.