Microsoft announced Windows 10 last year and I’ve come across many people who are interested in trying out Windows 10 Preview Edition but aren’t sure how to. Although the final version of Windows 10 is scheduled for a summer release, the preview version is free to download and try as long as you sign up for the Windows Insider program.
The Microsoft Windows Insider program is basically a portal for users to download the latest test version of Windows 10 and to give feedback to the developers at Microsoft about bugs. You can also give ideas on how to improve the OS. All you need to do is sign-up here with your Microsoft account (which is also free if you don’t have one.)
So how does Windows 10 differ from Windows 8.1, you ask? Well, for starters, Microsoft has finally returned the traditional start button on Windows 10, which had been missing under Windows 8. Microsoft has added a new cleaner Task View mode that lets users manage separate desktops within one single OS. Other features include Microsoft’s universal apps, advanced Command Prompt, the Continuum feature that adapts the OS between desktop and tablet mode, a new notification panel, Cortana integration, Xbox One remote gaming and Microsoft’s next generation browser- the Microsoft Edge.
You can try Windows 10 in three ways. First, you can update your existing Windows 7/8/8.1 OS without losing your personal files and settings. Second, you can do a fresh install of Windows 10 if you happen to own a spare laptop/PC/internal hard drive on your home or don’t mind losing your current Windows setup. Finally, you can install Windows 10 as a virtual machine letting you run your current OS and Windows 10 at the same time. This last type of install can also be done if you’re on a Mac or Linux. The way I see it, virtual machines are the safest bet, provided you have at least 8GB RAM on your system and 20GB of storage free on your hard drive. This will not affect any files or settings of your existing OS, except for the fact that the processor, RAM and the internet will be shared with the virtual machine.