Rumors about the next-gen Windows started shortly after Microsoft Build 2014, where the company released Windows 8.1 Update. Will it be called “Threshold” or “Windows 9″ or simply “Windows”? Well, most of that was wrong: Windows 10 was announced at an enterprise computing event in San Francisco this week, and a technical preview followed the next day.
You can get Windows 10 now, but beware, it’s a very early and unstable software build. I tested it and not only did I see stability problems such as error messages when trying to run standard programs, but some features didn’t work as expected. For example, the Charms no longer appeared when I pointed the mouse to the top-right corner of the screen (even though I’d set this option in Control Panel), and some window arrangements didn’t look right.
Installing Windows 10 Technical Preview
Getting and installing the new OS was surprisingly simple, when starting from a Windows 8.1 PC. No going to the Windows Store or installing preliminary Windows Update packs as previous preview versions have required. And it’s not as time-consuming as Windows installations have been in the past. It took less than 20 minutes. Ready? Lets begin!
1. Choose a PC you don’t need for everyday use. Windows 10 Technical Preview is a very preliminary build, so you should not install it on a PC you need to use regularly. It’s just for trying out the operating system and sending feedback to Microsoft so that the company can improve the final release. On that note, don’t expect privacy on the test Windows 10 PC: Microsoft will examine system files in trying to rectify the problem code. Back up any files on the test PC that you may need. The OS doesn’t require a touch screen, though it does support them, albeit Microsoft claims touch support is unpolished. Also note that you may not be able to revert to an earlier version of Windows after this installation.
2. Check the specs for your test PC. If you’re running Windows 8.1, there should be no problem. You can test for compatibility by downloading and running theWindows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant. In general, requirements aren’t at all arduous. Here are Microsoft’s minimum system specs:
• Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
• RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
• Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
• Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
4. What appears next depends on whether you’re running Windows 8.x or an earlier version of the OS. If you’re running an earlier version of Windows, you’ll see a purple “Get the upgrade” button:
If you’re running Windows 8.x, you’ll instead see a list of ISO disk image file downloads.
I recommend installing with an ISO disk image file. If you do run the setup on a pre-Windows 8 PC, it will prompt you to restart; but don’t fret if you’ve clicked the button unintentionally and don’t want to update the PC; it just adds an option to update after the reboot.
5. Download the ISO disk image file for your system type. These are available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, and I recommend the latter for any PC with a 64-bit processor, which means pretty much any PC less than five years old. There are also three language choices: English (with U.S. and U.K. options), Chinese, and Portuguese.
6. Create startup USB with USB Download Toolkit. You could also burn the .ISO file to a DVD, but these days USB keys are widely available and the target PC may not have a disc drive. I used the trusty Microsoft USB download tool, which you can download from CodePlex Microsoft’s open-source resource site .
8. Sit back and watch the installation. First you’ll see a small message box that says “Preparing” with a percentage counter: