Windows 10 was officially released on July 29, and for the first time Microsoft is making their OS upgrade completely free to previous owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. So far, the reviews have been highly positive for Microsoft’s new operating system. The installation process has even seemed pretty painless for most users. But before you upgrade, as with any major software update, there are a few things you should be aware of.

  1. Back up your files: It’s true that Microsoft has made the Windows 10 migration as smooth as possible, keeping all your files and preferences that are tied to your Microsoft account virtually the same when you boot up with your new download. But it’s always good practice to keep a copy of your most important files just in case something goes wrong. An external backup drive or cloud storage is the way to go to making sure you don’t lose anything in the upgrade process.
  2. Check your system requirements: There’s the expectation that newer software upgrades will take less space. As we know (cough iOS 8, Apple cough), that isn’t always the case. It’s best to check whether or not your machine, especially if it’s older, can handle the latest and greatest software. Or that you have enough memory space in general. Because no one wants a new operating system installed only to have it run super slow. Most updates will tell you how much space you need, but it’s up to you to look at your memory (ex. in My Computer for Windows) to see if it’ll work.
  3. Clean out old programs/files: If you need to make space for your install, be sure to delete old apps, photos, documents, etc. so your machine is in the best state possible to receive the new software. I like using WinDirStat on my PC to check how much space each file and program on my computer is using, then deleting the largest, unused culprits.
  4. Be patient and plugged in: When updating to a brand new operating system, or installing other large pieces of software, it isn’t going to take 10 minutes. Be prepared to wait on your installation. Also, make sure no other programs are running. That could cause some interruption or slowdown of your install. And while you’re waiting, make sure your laptop or other device is plugged in – you don’t want it dying in the middle of an update! You should also check in on your device every once in a while – you may need to click through some user screens or choose installation features.

Those are my quick tips on what you should be aware of when installing new software, especially with new operating systems coming out from Microsoft and Apple. Follow these and you should be good to go!