Windows 10 upgrade – the Office Watch view

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As the author of a popular Windows 10 book (thanks to the thousands who have bought it so far) Peter knows he’s supposed to be an enthusiastic and unquestioning shill for Windows 10.  But that’s not the Office Watch way … we tell you what we think …

We’ll look at compatibility with Microsoft Office, the Microsoft hype and hardware requirements.  A guide to the switch decision from Windows 8 or Windows 7.  How to stop the Windows 10 upgrade nagging in your current Windows.

Windows 10 is really popular?

Of course, Windows 10 has been taken up by a lot of people.  It’s FREE for heaven’s sake!

Microsoft proudly tells us that Windows 10 has the “fastest Windows adoption -ever” and even has a graph to ‘prove’ it.  This ‘graph’ has no values on the X or Y axis let alone independent auditing of whatever numbers are behind it.

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Not only is Windows 10 being offered free but it’s almost being rammed down users throats.  Constant prompts on their computer to upgrade and so on.

Ignore that hype, make your own decision about Windows 10.

Microsoft Office compatibility

All these versions of Microsoft Office are certified by Microsoft to work with Windows 10:

  • Office 2016
  • Office 2013
  • Office 2010
  • Office 2007

(Office 2016/2013 includes the Office 365 subscription options.)

Earlier versions of Office (at least Office 2003 and Office XP) will probably work too.  There may be problems with some of the more obscure features.  Microsoft Answers has a look at installing Office 2003, XP and 2000 plus Publisher 98.  If you strike problems, try ‘Compatibility Mode’ or setup a virtual machine.

Windows 10 for Microsoft Office users has a whole chapter on the virtual machine feature in the high-end versions of Windows 10. We strongly recommended virtual machines for running multiple versions of Office on the one computer.


The ‘official’ deadline for completing the free upgrade to Windows 10 is 29 July 2016.

It’s generally thought that Microsoft will start charging for Windows 10 after that date. Wiser heads aren’t so sure.  It’s in Microsoft’s interests to get people onto Windows 10 and demanding money for something that was once free is a good way to annoy customers.

The deadline serves more to give a sense of urgency to upgrading.

Moving Target

It’s hard to judge Windows 10 because it’s a moving target with changes and new features rolling out.  There’s already been one major update to Windows 10 and there’s another aimed for July, the ‘Anniversary Update’.

Windows 10 at March 2016 isn’t bad but it’s not that great either.  Just as well it’s a free upgrade (for now) because it would be hard to justify paying for it.

Windows 10 is primarily a marketing platform for Microsoft to sell future products and services.

Here’s our suggestions depending on which Windows you already have.

Windows 8

We can’t see anything compelling in Windows 10 that isn’t already available in Windows 8.1.

Hang on .. I hear you cry … isn’t Windows 8 really bad?  After all, Windows 10 is free as an apology for Windows 8?

It’s become accepted wisdom to trash Windows 8 but it’s really a decent operating system.

Certainly the full screen Start Menu was a dreadful (and entirely avoidable) mistake.  But it’s easy to get rid of that monster.  Once that’s dismissed you have a good, stable Windows with some useful features for Office users like File History, better Bitlocker, better multi monitor support and Storage Spaces.

Our Windows 8.1 for Microsoft Office users has a chapter devoted to removing the Start Menu as well as in-depth on the features useful to Office users.

No matter what Microsoft says and does – sticking with Windows 8.1 is fine.

If you’ll be getting a new computer in the next year or so, you can get Windows 10 with the new hardware.

Windows 7

It’s worth considering the free Windows 10 upgrade because you’ll get the goodies from Windows 8.1 for free (File History, Storage Spaces etc. mentioned above).

The rule of thumb to upgrade every second software version serves OK here.


With any Windows upgrade there’s the question of hardware.  Is your current computer sufficient to run Windows 10 smoothly and without delays?  Microsoft, of course, gives very low hardware requirements to get more people to upgrade.

Windows 10 for Microsoft Office users goes into detail about compatibility.  In our view, a Windows 10 computer should have at least 4GB of RAM and at least 200GB of free disk space.

No Windows 10

You’ve decided not to get Windows 10?   It’s quite possible to get rid of Microsoft’s nagging reminders on the taskbar and the Windows Update prompts.

There are some tools out there to stop the upgrade prompts appearing in Windows 7 or Windows 8.

You can do the same thing yourself with a few mouse clicks.

The taskbar prompts are created by a mysterious program called GWX.  Right click on the taskbar clock | Customize notification icons then change GWX to ‘Hide icon and notifications’.

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Alternatively, you can remove GWX entirely by removing the Windows update labelled  KB3035583.

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