Here's Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10

By Jeff Bertolucci

Upgrading to a new operating system is often fraught with peril, and Windows 10 is no exception. Here's how to do it right.

Migrated to Windows 10 yet? If you're running Windows 7 or Windows 8, you've probably gotten more than a few nudges from Microsoft -- annoying popups, mostly -- to make the move.

If you haven't upgraded -- and perhaps even more so if you have -- you probably have a few questions about Windows 10's pluses and minuses, as well as concerns about glitches and fixes that have sprung up since the OS's debut.

10 Important Changes You Must Know

Windows 10 corrects many of the glaring shortcomings of its unpopular predecessor, Windows 8, while polishing features that make it a good match for laptops and desktops, as well as hybrid devices like Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. The most welcome change is the return of the Start menu -- albeit a vastly overhauled version with mobile-inspired live tiles that show constantly changing news, weather, and other factoids. Here's a good overview of the most important changes.

Windows 10 tablet mode

The Right Version for You

Which Windows 10 version is right for you? If you're running Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, or Windows 8.1, and opt for Microsoft's free version of Windows 10, the decision is already made for you -- you're getting Windows 10 Home, which does pretty much everything you'll need. But if you're a power user -- maybe you're running a small business and need the BitLocker encryption software in Windows 10 Pro -- there are other factors to consider. We break them down for you.

Multiple versions of Windows 10

Is Your PC Ready?

Not every laptop and desktop PC is upgrade-worthy. The components can't be too old, so if your rusty desktop rig dates back to the dial-up modem era, you're probably out of luck. But don't shrug off Windows 10 just because your PC is a few years old. The compatibility requirements are pretty lenient, actually, and older PCs may very well make the grade. Is your PC ready for Windows 10? Find out here.

A PC that's ready for Windows 10

How to Install it Hitch-Free

Even if your PC makes the grade, the upgrade may not go smoothly. Various devices -- everything from printers and scanners to game and sound cards -- may stop working, and you could lose access to critical files too. You'll need a migration strategy to minimize risk, one that includes data backups, driver upgrades, proper system maintenance, and other essentials. Here's how to do it right.

Windows 10 ad

How to Fix the Bugs

The sky is blue. Cats always land on their feet. New operating systems are buggy -- sometimes really buggy. Windows 10, to be fair, has shown itself to be relatively stable compared to some of its predecessors. This isn't to say, though, that it hasn't had its share of glitches and gotchas. If you've upgraded to Windows 10 and your PC isn't running smoothly, read these tips now.

Fixing Windows 10 bugs

How to Speed Up Your Computer

Even if you've done everything right, Windows 10 may boot sluggishly. So ... you're basically screwed? No, not at all. There are a few tricks you can try to speed things up, including disabling unnecessarily start-up programs and activating Windows 10's Fast Startup feature.

Windows 10 user