Upgrading to Windows 10: One good reason to wait

New software always carries some risks. Here's what to consider before you decide.

Windows 10 Start menu Microsoft
Credit: Mark Hachman

Patricia Hardy worries that some of her programs may not work in Windows 10.

Chances are that if a program runs successfully in Windows 7 or 8.1, it will run just fine in Windows 10. And if it doesn’t, the developers will fix the problem as soon as possible.

But really, we can’t be sure before the official release. And frankly, we can’t even be sure immediately after the release. It will take time for bugs and incompatibilities to surface. (For more details, read Mark Hachman’s article on how to upgrade.)

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

0716 get windows 10 icon

Microsoft can tell you now, with what I suspect is reasonable accuracy, whether your hardware or software is compatible. If your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC is up-to-date, you should have the Get Windows 10 icon in your notification area. Click it. Once the program is up, click the menu icon in the upper-left corner, then click Check your PC for details. (The wording of this option may change. It did while I was writing this article.)

0716 win10 check your pc

Most likely, the program will tell you that everything is okay. But a statement like “Check this report later for updates about your apps & devices” should give you pause. (An earlier version told me that there were “0 known issues found,” indirectly reminding us that Microsoft doesn’t yet know about the unknown issues.)

0716 windows 10 upgrade results

If you have professional obligations that require you to upgrade, or if you enjoy riding on the bleeding edge, go ahead and upgrade as soon as Microsoft lets you. Otherwise, I recommend you wait until the new OS has been out for about three months (around Halloween). Follow the news about Windows 10 while you wait. If there’s a particular program you’re worried about, set up a Google News alert on Windows 10 and the name of that program; for instance, Windows 10 Adobe Bridge.

You will definitely lose one application: Windows Media Center (not to be confused with Windows Media Player) will disappear with the upgrade. Microsoft is discontinuing this DVR/streamer/DVD playing program. If you use it, you may want to wait for other options to appear before upgrading. (Windows 10 will have DVD-playing software).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to Windows 10. But I’ve seen too many new operating systems to trust one as soon as it’s out the gate.

Am I personally going to wait? On my main computer, yes. But I will update as soon as possible on a secondary PC. It’s my job.

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