Picture the scene: if you were the CEO of a huge international corporation, one that nearly everyone had heard of and you were bringing out a new product, your most important one for years, what would you want to happen in the first few weeks?
Well, funnily enough, I’ve never been in that situation, but I’d hazard a guess you might want to sell lots of it. I could be wrong, but it seems plausible.
And yet Microsoft have just brought out Windows 10 – and it’s really not very easy to buy a new PC with it on. You can get the free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows – though not everyone’s got theirs yet simply because Microsoft can’t keep up, so they’ve spread it out a bit. And you can, if you want, buy a completely new copy of Windows 10, maybe to put on an older PC that doesn’t have Windows 7 or 8 on, or if you’re building your own PC from scratch. But Microsoft don’t sell many copies of Windows this way – usually people buy a PC with it already on.
But trying to buy a new PC with Windows 10 on – that’s not so easy.
If you go into one of the big PC shops, they’ll have banners everywhere about Windows 10 – but the PCs you can buy will be running Windows 8.1
in some cases, the demo models they have will be running Windows 10 – but with a sticker on them saying that if you buy it, it comes with Windows 8.1, which you can upgrade to Windows 10 free. That does mean having to do the upgrade itself – which you might find intimidating (or having done it on a few PCs, boring as most of it’s sitting around waiting).
Some shops will do the upgrade for you, which is better. But it does beg the question: why not just sell PCs with Windows 10 on in the first place?
I don’t have a definite answer. I suspect the PC manufacturers want to clear their stock of Windows 8.1 machines first. And they didn’t get very long from Microsoft giving them the finished version of Windows 10 and it going on sale – so maybe they just struggled to get ready.
Plus it could be us being the “poor cousins”. Apparently in America you could order a brand new Windows 10 computer to be delivered to you on the day Windows 10 came out. So maybe the manufacturers are selling off their old stock here.
Anyway, my advice if you want to buy a new PC at the moment is to wait a month or two anyway, if you can. Then when you get it, they’ll have had time to fix any of the worst bugs in it. There are some – earlier in the week Ellen (who helps me write the books) found her Windows 10 laptop wouldn’t log in to a Microsoft account, no matter what she did. She tried everything we could think of, then got in touch with Microsoft. They tried all the things we’d tried and said they’d have to get a senior engineer to help – but they were all booked up until next week.
Luckily in the meantime Ellen did some research, tried something else and sorted it – one of the settings in Windows 10 can stop it logging in to a Microsoft account, even though it tries to get you to log in that way. I think Ellen emailed Microsoft back with the helpful solution – but I’m sure they’ll fix it so it’s not an issue in the first place.
Anyway, it is possible to get a Windows 10 machine – I found one for sale from Dell. But at the moment you get virtually no choice, so I’d definitely recommend leaving it unless you really need to get a new PC. In which case, you’re probably best getting one with Windows 8.1 and either doing the upgrade yourself later or getting the shop to do it.
One more thing about Windows 10…
If you’ve booked a free upgrade…
As I said, if you booked a free upgrade to Windows 10, you won’t have necessarily got it straight away. Microsoft’s servers simply couldn’t cope with everyone getting it at once (and I suspect the broadband lines would have struggled, too).
But if you’re wondering how to tell if yours is ready, when it is you should get a screen like this one pop up:
That means it’s downloaded the update and it’s ready to go when you click on the blue “Schedule your free upgrade”.
If you haven’t had that pop up – or don’t think you have but want to check if it’s ready, you can click on the little white window symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the screen – the same one you used to book the upgrade in the first place. If yours is ready, it’ll tell you in the screen that appears.
It doesn’t mean you have to do the upgrade straight away, though. You can still leave it until later if you like.
Keeping an iPad or other tablet safe
Most “techies” seem to only want to write about the properly techie side of computers, gadgets and tablets. But sometimes, the basic stuff is important too.
For example, if you’ve got an expensive tablet, you don’t want it damaged. It’s much more important to think about than with a PC that sits on a desk. After all, a tablet can be easily dropped when you’re holding it, knocked off a shelf or even have a hot cup of tea put on it if you didn’t realise it was on a table.
In my case, my two little boys like to use the iPad sometimes, and good as they generally are, they are more likely to drop things…
There are two main things you can do to try to protect yours – though I admit I only do one of them.
First, I’d really suggest getting a case. And I’d suggest getting one that properly surrounds the device. Some just attach magnetically onto the front and back but that doesn’t protect the side and gives it no “cushioning” if it falls.
Make sure it’s designed for the right type of device, so it has holes in the right place for the camera, on/off button and so on.
You can buy them for £10 or less. And some of them have clever magnets in that turn the device on automatically when you open the case. Nifty.
And it’s best to close the case when you’re not using the device, in case anything gets dropped on it!
The other thing you can do is get a screen protector. This is a special plastic that sticks onto the screen and protects it from getting scratched. It has to be the special plastic or it’ll stop the screen from working.
I don’t use one of these because the screens are pretty resistant to scratches anyway – it’s a really tough kind of glass they use. But a scratch protector does give extra protection and it also helps keep it clean (Edward used to have a habit of dribbling on the screen – which he’s luckily stopped doing now).
Anyway, I’d recommend at least getting a case, but it’s up to you!