Summary

Our Score

8/10

Pros

  • The Start Menu is back and it’s better than ever
  • A significant upgrade over Windows 7 and Windows 8
  • Fixes the broken desktop experience of Windows 8
  • Cortana is powerful and useful

Cons

  • Tablet experience still has problems
  • Regular nagging to use Microsoft account
  • Mail and Calendar apps not available without Microsoft account

Review Price free/subscription

What is Windows 10?

Windows 10 is the most important product Microsoft has released in years. It’s Microsoft’s attempt to persuade PC users who didn’t fancy the much maligned Windows 8 to finally upgrade from Windows 7, or even earlier versions. If Windows 10 isn’t a success then Microsoft has much bigger problems than its flagging fortunes in mobile.

Thankfully, Microsoft has learnt from past mistakes. It’s listened and responded to complaints about the Start Screen in Windows 8 by reintroducing the Start button and menu, and added features such as Virtual Desktops that power users have demanded for years. There’s something for everyone in Windows 10.

But the most important detail about Windows 10 is this – it’s free. It’s only free to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, and it’s only free if you upgrade in the first year, but most people will be able to get Windows 10 at no cost – read our guide to the Windows 10 free upgrade for more info.

This makes the choice of whether to upgrade to Windows 10 much simpler than if it cost £100 or so for everyone – that’s the price for Vista and XP upgraders. As it is, we can say confidently that there’s little reason not to upgrade to Windows 10. We can’t admit to loving Windows 10, which is telling, but it’s more lovable than Windows 8 ever was.

Windows 10 5

Over the next few pages we’ll look at the key new features of the operating system, guide you through the experience on desktop PCs, laptops and touchscreen devices, and explain how Microsoft wants Windows 10 to bind all your devices together.

We’ve split the review into broad sections – it’s up to you whether you read from start to finish or jump to a specific section in which you’re most interested. You can use the review contents below to do just that, and we’ve also included links to other features that help explain what’s new in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Review Contents

Part 1 – Introducing the New Desktop, Start Menu and CortanaIn this section we explore the new desktop, the return of the Start Menu and the introduction of Cortana.

Part 2Using Windows 10 on PCs and LaptopsNot everyone wants a tablet or a hybrid, so what is Windows 10 like to use if you mainly use a traditional desktop PC or laptop?

Part 3Using Windows 10 on Hybrids and TabletsWindows 10 has to work on a huge variety of devices, none more demanding than tablets and hybrids.

Part 4Microsoft Edge, Mail and Native AppsYou probably spend most of your life either browsing the web or sending emails. Windows 10 introduces new apps for both, but are they any good?

Part 5Gaming on Windows 10How will Windows 10 change gaming on PC and Xbox One? Quite a lot, actually.

Part 6Stability, Performance and VerdictIs Windows 10 ready for you to upgrade to now?

Windows 10 FAQ

If you know nothing about Windows 10, here are a few common questions before you read the rest of our review.

Can I get Windows 10 for free?

Anyone with Windows 7 or Windows 8 can get Windows 10 for free if they upgrade in the first year. Windows XP and Vista users will have to pay £100 ($120) to upgrade. Read our Windows 10 Free Upgrade guide for more info on this.

When can I get Windows 10?

The Windows 10 release date is 29th July. That's when updates will start for anyone who has reserved Windows 10, though Microsoft plans to stagger the release so not everyone will get Windows 10 on that precise date.

How can I get Windows 10?

The best way is to go to Microsoft's website and 'Reserve Windows 10' – that will ensure the update is pushed to your PC via Windows Update when it's available. If you'd prefer a hard copy, USB versions will be available as well.

Will all my stuff work?

Anything that works with Windows 7 or Windows 8 should work fine on Windows 10. If you're not sure, Microsoft has a 'Get Windows 10 app' that will check and make sure your device is compatible.

What's the difference between Windows 7/8 and Windows 10?

Windows 10 is a big upgrade over Windows 7 – it's faster and adds many new features, which you can read about in our full review. You can read our Windows 10 vs Windows 7 comparison for shorter summary. We have a similar guide that compares Windows 10 vs Windows 8.

Is my PC fast enough to run Windows 10?

Any Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer should run Windows 10 fine. Windows Vista users should be ok, too, but it's worth checking the Windows 10 System Requirements first before installing.

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