Windows 10 was available for a limited time as a free upgrade through Windows Update, the "Get Windows 10" icon in the System Tray or through the upgrader available at Microsoft's Windows 10 site. You needed to do this before July 29th 2016 in order to reserve your free upgrade for the life of your device.
Windows 10 is so familiar and easy to use, you’ll feel like an expert. The Start menu is back in an expanded form, plus the upgrade will bring over your pinned apps and favourites so that they’re ready and waiting for you. It starts up and resumes fast, has more built-in security to help keep you safe, and is designed to work with software and hardware that you already have. Windows 10 Update Site
No, it will stay on the computer. The free upgrade is hardware dependent so if you have upgraded to 10 between July 2015 and July 2016 you can still have Windows 10 put back onto the system later providing there are no major hardware changes (ie more than one thing changes inside the computer, typically the Motherboard
From Microsoft (our emphasis):
To take advantage of this free offer, you must upgrade to Windows 10 within one year of availability. Once you have upgraded, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/windows-10-upgrade
We're not sure at this time whether you would be able to upgrade back to 10 from within Windows 7 or 8.1, our best guess is probably not.
The so-called "November " update allows one to activate Windows with a product key from Windows 7 or 8.1. It is our understanding that, based on the activation rules for previous versions of Windows, one may be able to reactivate that with a telephone call to Microsoft to get your Windows 10 back, however it's entirely possible that one may have to buy a new Windows 10 licence.
Updated July 26th: In our experience, the Windows 10 Free Upgrade obtained prior to July 29th will not re-activate on new hardware, or at least not before the Anniversary update (see next paragraph). If you replace the motherboard and Windows still boots, we found it will not activate even by telephone call.
At this time you will need either your old Windows 7 or 8.1 product key (7 Home Premium/8.1 for Win 10 Home or Windows 7/8.1 Pro/Utimate for Win 10 Pro) to get Windows reactivated. No key = no reuse of the free upgrade and a new licence will be required. (Windows 8.1 Bing was only available on laptops but still qualified for Windows 10 Home - same clean install route is available once you've upgraded.)
If the change of motherboard is too drastic and Windows 10 will not boot, your upgrade ceases to be valid and a new licence and fresh installation will be required. This is typical of OEM licences in any case, they are officially not transferrable and die with the machine.
This has changed with the Anniversary Update. When you receive it through Windows Update you can link your Microsoft account with the Windows 10 digital licence on your device. This will allow you to re-activate your free upgrade copy of Windows 10 if the motherboard has had to be changed. If you already sign in with a Microsoft account this should happen automatically, otherwise you will need to manually link it. Obviously it goes without saying this will need to be done before the board goes, otherwise a new board will mean a new licence.
Windows 10 uses digital licences/entitlements and doesn't need a product key if you are reloading on the same hardware as before (this applies both to the upgrade as a clean install and Windows 10 OEM licences once they've been activated for the first time). Windows will activate itself automatically when it finds an internet connection. You can verify this in Windows 10 by going to Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Activation.
Nothing. You will stay with what you have now. If you wish to upgrade after July 2016 to Windows 10 the current quoted figure is £99 from Microsoft, this is almost certainly going to change.
Remember that if you did upgrade (by accident or otherwise) your computer now has a digital licence. These cannot be revoked once generated and can be used to move to Windows 10 as a clean install at a later date (it is our understanding no (free) upgrade is now available), but you would not need a new licence if the base hardware has not changed. Remember - you have Windows 10 for life on a device that has been upgraded to it in the first year of Windows 10 availability.
The exception to the upgrade expiry rule is customers who use assistive technologies - they will continue to have access to Windows 10 as a free upgrade after July 2016. Examples of such technology include Narrator, a screen-reader app that vocalizes text; Magnifier, a digital magnifying glass for those with poor vision; and Speech Recognition. This free upgrade offer is ongoing.
As a general rule of thumb computers supplied by us that have USB 3 Ports and/or HDMI ports on the back are fully Windows 10 compatible. This will typically be any system sold as new from 2014 onwards. If in doubt, look the motherboard up on the manufacturer website.
Systems sold prior to 2014 or second-hand units with Windows 7 may have Windows 10 support available from the motherboard manufacturer website and/or can work with built in/Windows Update drivers. Anything running Vista is unlikely to be Windows 10 capable.
Microsoft say the notifications will stop. In due course a Windows Update will come down to remove these elements.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update aka Redstone is rolling out from August 2nd 2016, near enough a year after Windows 10 was first available, hence the name. It features changes to the Start Menu (the 'All Apps' will go, providing a single click to your items on the start menu), the Action Center, Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Windows Ink. It will come to you through Windows Update in Windows 10 automatically on or shortly after August 2nd.
Windows 10 comes with the telemetry "feature" enabled by default which collects all sorts of user activity and sends it to Microsoft. Unfortunately, Microsoft has provided no way to disable it completely using the Settings app for Home and Pro editions of Windows 10. As you use Windows 10, Microsoft will collect usage information. All its options are available in Settings -> Privacy -> Feedback and Diagnostics.
If you reduce the option here to Basic, this is, Microsoft say:
data that is vital to the operation of Windows. This data helps keep Windows and apps running properly by letting Microsoft know the capabilities of your device, what is installed, and whether Windows is operating correctly. This option also turns on basic error reporting back to Microsoft. If you select this option, we'll be able to provide updates to Windows (through Windows Update, including malicious software protection by the Malicious Software Removal Tool), but some apps and features may not work correctly or at all.Microsoft
There are a range of extra tools that one can use in order to reduce (but not completely stop) the amount of telemetry being sent: See here for some.
If you still have Windows XP or Vista, the upgrade to Windows 10 won't be available to you regardless of the age or specification of your hardware. Windows XP support is discontinued as of April 2014, Windows Vista support ends April 11th 2017. See here for details.
All our current systems are fully Windows 10 capable.
Click here for the Windows 10 Flyer.