How to download Windows 10

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A simple guide to downloading and installing Windows 10 on your Microsoft device

Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 10 is being rolled out to users across the world, with Insider programme members being the first to receive the upgrade. Here’s how to download and start using the new software.

In order to run Windows 10, users need a PC or tablet with a 1GHz processor or faster, 1GB of RAM and 16GB hard disk space for 32-bit machines or 2GB and 16GB for 64-bit machines, a DirectX 9 or later graphics card with a WDDM 1.0 driver and an 800 x 600 display or better.

Unlike with previous versions, there will not be a separate Windows Phone 10 operating system. Instead, Windows 10 will be used across all Microsoft devices, including PCs, tablets and smartphones – as well as the Xbox games console and Microsoft’s holographic headset, HoloLens.

How to upgrade

  1. Your device must be running either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 in order to update your system – Windows 8 users will be required to upgrade to 8.1 before they can move on to 10. Ensure that automatic updates are turned on under Control Panel > System > Automatic Updates. If you’re running Windows RT, you won’t be able to upgrade to 10, but Microsoft has said a start menu and lock screen update is coming in September.
  2. You can reserve your free upgrade by clicking on the Windows 10 app icon that will appear in the bottom right-hand side of your taskbar. You will be notified by Microsoft once the operating system has been automatically downloaded onto your computer.

Clicking the notification begins the installation process

It’s worth noting the new upgrade is coming in stages, with some business customers not receiving an upgrade prompt until August 1. PCs and tablets are the first compatible devices, as the Mobile version will be made available from later in the year.

The new system is free to download for 7 or 8.1 owners, but those with older versions or wishing to install 10 on a non-Windows running device will have to pay $119 (£99) for Windows 10 Home and $199 (about £131) for Windows 10 Pro.

Where is my notification?

If you haven’t received a notification to upgrade yet, it could be down to Microsoft working on a specific compatibility fix for your particular device, or down to the high volume of devices upgrading at any one time.

Why is it taking so long?

It is thought that the rollout of Windows 10 will break internet traffic records, due to the high volume of downloads, and could result in some problems with network performance over the next week. Microsoft has reportedly reserved up to 40Tbps (terabits per second) of capacity, in an attempt to ensure it runs smoothly.

“Around the world, millions and millions of people have registered for the upgrade, so we need to do this in a responsible way using the bandwidth of the internet,” said Michel van der Bel, Microsoft UK CEO.

“At the same time of course, we need to be sure that people get bits in the right order and get a great experience. Windows users in New Zealand will be the first to get access to the code on the 29th, and we’ll be watching very closely to see how we can improve the experience as we go along.”

Acer, Lenovo, HP and Del desktop PCs, laptops and tablets running the new system are available to buy from today. More devices will begin to ship with Windows 10 in the run up to Christmas, Microsoft has said.

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