If you have Windows 7(SP1) or Windows 8.1 you should be able to upgrade to Windows 10 on July 29th or for up to one year after that date.
Let’s start the positives with a word from Microsoft
Windows 10 has been designed to operate seamlessly across all platforms, PC, Laptop, Tablets and phones; performance being optimised to touchscreens.
It comes with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant. This is intended to provide faster access to important information, whether talking or typing. Internet Explorer is replaced with a new web browser, specifically designed for Windows 10; Microsoft Edge. The browser lets you annotate webpages by keyboard or pen before sharing them, while there’s also a distraction-free website reading view that simply gives you a site’s text and key images. The integration of digital assistant Cortana should make searching online and scheduling calendar appointments easier and faster too.
[If you want to find out what they are doing with Xbox and Microsoft HoloLens (what!), I refer you to your search engine!]
Major software launches usually means bugs to be sorted. Microsoft is offering free upgrades for a year after launch and so it might be wise to wait for 6months or so before upgrading. If you have Windows 8.1 and are happy with using it, I believe Microsoft have committed to support it until 2023. Of course, if you buy new hardware in the meantime, it is likely to come with a later OS.
Apparently Microsoft Office suite has been redesigned from the ground up to run on all Windows 10 platforms, while still retaining the familiar Office features. I have also seen suggestions that it will come free with Windows 10 but I have not seen anything definitive on that. If that is important to you, doubtless it will be clear once launched and you will know what you are getting if you delay your upgrade.
Why has Windows 8 only survived one update to 8.1? What happened to Windows 9? According to this article Windows 10 is no more than a rebranding of Windows 8, originally rumoured to be an upgrade to Windows 8.2. So, not all reviewers are overly enthusiastic about Windows 10.
How to Upgrade to Windows 10
Step 1: If you own Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 then you’re eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10. However, in order to get Windows 10 you need to be running the latest version of your respective system.
To update your version of Windows over the internet, first open Windows Update by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Update and then click Windows Update in the results.
In the left pane, click Check for updates and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer. If any updates are found, click Install updates.
Step 2: Once your operating system is completely up-to-date you can reserve your free update for Windows 10 (if you want to upgrade as soon as it is available). Take a look at your system tray (in the lower right of your desktop) and you should see the Windows logo:
Note 1: My laptop, running Windows 8.1 acquired the system tray logo automatically. My PC running Windows 7, despite fulfilling all the criteria for being up to date refuses to get the logo. Apparently, it will be possible to test after launch if it is the specification of my computer that makes it ineligible.
Note 2: On January 13, 2015, Microsoft stopped mainstream support for Windows 7–which is still an extremely popular operating system. But you’ll still be able to use it safely for another five years. Once mainstream support ends, there will be no more service packs. Microsoft won’t redesign the environment or add new features. Microsoft will patch vulnerabilities that could become security risks; Windows 7 remains a safe operating system.