July 29th marks one year since the introduction of Windows 10 and the end of the free user upgrade. If you currently run Windows 7 or 8 and you haven’t already taken advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade, or haven’t mistakenly downloaded it, you may be wondering whether you should.

While there is no denying Windows 10 has some impressive new features, here are some things all PC users should think about before updating:

If I upgrade to Windows 10 and I don’t like it, can I downgrade again?

Its human nature to resist change and as a result, one of the most frequently asked questions about Windows 10 is whether or not it is possible to revert back to the previous system.

Downgrading back to Windows 7 or 8.1 can be done and only requires a few clicks to have the system roll back to the previous version.  While this is done most easily within one month of the upgrade, not all hope is lost after a four week period.

PC Advisor tested the roll back feature and found that the feature successfully took data and installed apps with it, making the process a success. Like any major upgrade (or downgrade) a full backup of your data should be done just in case things don’t go to plan.

While it is incredibly rare, there have also been some cases where upgrading has killed the machine. Even though the chances of this happening are incredibly low, you should keep this in the back of your mind before you make the decision to upgrade.

Should I upgrade?

Windows 8 and 8.1 Users:

Both Windows 8/8.1 users and Windows 7 users can upgrade to the latest software for free. With Windows 8 being one of the most widely disliked updates, it is no surprise that we recommend users to take advantage of the free upgrade.

Windows 10 improves on almost every aspect of Windows 8 and also brings back some of the things from Windows 7 which users had to install from a third-party tools to get. Packed with a bunch of new features which are easy to get used to, Windows 10 will enhance user experience drastically.

While we recommend upgrading, users who have paid for Windows Media Center may want to hold off on the upgrade as Windows 10 doesn’t support it, and will actually remove it during the upgrade.

Windows 7

Compared to Windows 7, Windows 10 is packed with new features including Cortana and the new Action Centre for Notifications. Not to mention Windows 10 carries over some of the great features which were introduced in Windows 8 including faster start up times, security improvements and tighter integration with your Microsoft Account and OneDrive.

For Windows 7 users, this new upgrade is a win-win. Not only are users saving the hundreds of dollars which were required to upgrade to Windows 8, but everything from Windows 7 will continue to work on Windows 10.

Keep in mind, that like Windows 8 users, if you upgrade you will lose Windows Media Centre so if this is a program you use often it may be best to stick with Windows 7.

Windows Vista and XP Users

Windows Vista is similar to Windows 8.1 and is expected to be supported by Microsoft with patches and security updates well into next year.

Considering the Windows 10 upgrade is not free for Vista users, it may be worth waiting a little while and using the money it would cost to upgrade your system to save up for a new computer.

Windows XP, on the other hand, is no longer supported by Microsoft, meaning anyone who still has Windows XP is extremely vulnerable to hackers as users no longer have the Windows Security software detecting the hundreds of security threats which were identified each year.

While Vista and XP users can still purchase Windows 10, chances are the specialist software you are running on your machine is pretty old and may not be compatible with the latest OS.

In addition, even if you are willing to pay for the upgrade, updating requires a clean install.

If your software is compatible in Windows 10, it would be more beneficial to simply purchase a new machine with it already installed. If your PC is running Vista or XP, chances are your system is over a decade old anyway.

Remember that software will end support for older operating systems such as XP and Vista – the Google Chrome browser is the latest to join the list, and those running XP or Vista will no longer receive updates.

While it is ultimately your decision as to whether or not you should take advantage of the free upgrade and excellent new features available in Windows 10, you should make sure that your hardware and important programs are compatible before going ahead with the upgrade. In addition, it is possible that you may have to reinstall or update some software.

Hayden McMaster