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Windows 10 Free Upgrade: Sincere Apology or Bribery?

In a stunning announcement on January 21, Windows chief Terry Myerson announced that Microsoft will offer an upgrade to Windows 10 for free for the first year to all Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 users.

Microsoft has NEVER done this.  So why are they doing it now?  I suspect we’ll never know the real reasons.

One guess is they’re extending an apology of sorts for the mess they made of Windows 8 – a despised, problem-infested operating system reminiscent of the seriously flawed Windows Vista.

They know frustrated computer users have spent hundreds of dollars of their hard-earned money fixing problems caused by Windows 8.  This may be their attempt to make up for that.

Another theory is Microsoft is bribing people to adopt Windows 10 to boost their numbers.

Prior to its release, Windows 8 received a significant amount of negative publicity.  More than a few people chose to avoid upgrading to Windows 8 because of it (including many smart readers of this column).

Microsoft’s numbers plummeted, especially compared to the release of the stable Windows 7 operating system.

The largest majority of computers running Windows 8 or 8.1 are new computers bought from big box store retailers.  And that’s only because Microsoft forced retailers to stop selling Windows 7 computers soon after they realized Windows 8 wasn’t very popular and most people preferred to avoid it.

Windows 8’s numbers remain pathetically low, which is why it’s theorized Microsoft is offering the free Windows 10 upgrade to alter the numbers.  And we all know Mark Twain’s famous quote, “There are lies, d**ned lies, and statistics.”

Windows 10 is slated to be released sometime in the fall of 2015.  Our testing of the technical preview indicates it’s a promising operating system, correcting many of the problems with Windows 8.  However, Microsoft will continue to modify it over the next few months, so our official review will be made when we see the final release.  (They still have time to screw it up!)

We learned in February that Microsoft is making the Windows 10 upgrade super-easy by allowing it to be downloaded and installed as part of regular Windows updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

I’m not so sure this is a good thing.

Windows 10 Free UpgradeFirst, Microsoft is notorious for releasing faulty Windows updates.  I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve fixed computers broken by bad updates.

Second, changing operating systems is completely different than just patching one.  It’s the difference between tearing out an existing wall and erecting a new one versus simply patching up a small hole in the drywall.

Too many things could potentially go wrong – even if Microsoft promises it to be seamless.

There’s also the issue of software and hardware incompatibilities.  Some of your existing programs and external devices may not work with Windows 10.  But you won’t know that until it’s too late – after you’ve already upgraded.

My recommendation at this point is WAIT – do NOT install Windows 10 under any circumstances, even if you’re offered it.  Let us thoroughly test the final release version of Windows 10 and report the results to you.