• Do I need to upgrade my Win 7 machine now?

    Got a good question from reader BI:

    I usually don’t e-mail these things, but it looks like Microsoft strongarm tactics are continuing. I want Cortana & other Windows 10 features, but not at the risk of my PC’s well-being. I have less than 9 months to upgrade for free & I will wait the whole time if I have to! What do you think, Woody?

    The story that made the rounds yesterday was that Microsoft would make it very difficult for hardware manufacturers to sell Windows 7 and 8.1 machines after October 31, 2016. Ed Bott has an excellent recap of the facts (and the hysteria) surrounding that revelation. The details are complex, but the bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel any pressure to buy a new Windows 7 machine right now. You may, in fact, be better off buying a new Windows 10 Pro machine and downgrading it to Windows 7, if you really want Win7. There are plenty of good reasons why you might prefer Win7 to Win10. (To me, the argument for Win 8.1 over Win10 is much less clear.)

    Microsoft has made several promises about Windows 10 which — if they come true — will give us more details about patches, a way to slow down patches, and a central switch to turn off some (if not all) of the snooping. If Microsoft comes through on those promises, Win10 will be much more palatable to a lot of people.

    Also, I remain skeptical that Microsoft will start charging for Win7/8.1 upgrades after July 29, 2016. But that’s just a hunch.

    For now, if you have the slightest doubt, just hang tight. The situation should get much more clear in the next few months.

    I hope.