Will my PCs upgrade to Windows 10? We examine Windows 10 compatibility, whether the PCs in your business should upgrade to Windows 10. Read on for more on Windows 10 compatibility and to find out will your business' PCs run Windows 10? (See also: Everything you need to know about Windows 10.)

The Windows 10 upgrade conundrum is upon us all. But harder than deciding whether to upgrade your personal PC, laptop or tablet, is figuring out whether to update your fleet of Windows systems.

Most enterprises will of course run enterprise level server software, but for those smaller businesses that have lots of individual software licences, Windows 10 is both a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge because individual users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be prompted to upgrade and you may not want them to, but an opportunity because you can get everyone on the same page, with a more stable, secure and quick OS. Often, for free.

In this article we asses the impact of upgrading from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. We consider whether your colleague's PCs can handle the transition, but also pick out a few things to consider.

For one thing, you need to make sure you have a policy on upgrading individual systems, and that your colleagues and employers know what that policy is. And for another, you need to consider the hardware itself, as well as the data and software applications stored on each PC, laptop or tablet. 

If migrating to Windows 10 is a challenge for your business, we recommend you read Computerworld UK's other guides Windows 10: Pros and cons for enterprise - why your business should move to Windows 10 , Windows XP Migration: Making the Move to Windows 7, 8.1 or 10? Or am I asking the wrong question? and How to migrate to Windows 10: How do I move employees' PCs and devices to Windows 10?

Do let us know how you get on.

Windows 10

Will my businesses PCs run Windows 10?

The short answer is: probably, yes. The Windows 10 system requirements are basically the same as Windows 8.1, which makes them similar to Windows 7 (in turn a replica of Window Vista).

So in truth only any Windows XP PCs need be concerned, and you wouldn't have any of those, would you?

Of course, there are challenges in that to upgrade a pre-Windows 7 PC will require you to purchase a Windows 7 licence, as the free bump up won't affect those older PCs. But the truth is that any PC running anything from XP onwards is likely to be able to handle Windows 10. But you may be considering upgrading systems in your shop that run on other platforms. So here are the minimum system requirements:

Windows 10 system requirements

  • 1GHz processor or faster
  • 1 GB RAM for 32-bit or 2 GB RAM for 64-bit
  • 16 GB hard drive space for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
  • DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 graphics card
  • 1024×600 display

These are pretty basic, but in our limited experience Windows 10 works well on even this limited hardware. So this may be an opportunity to get every desk on to the same platform.

How to upgrade PCs to Windows 10

The process to upgrade is more simple than you might expect. Our colleagues over on PC Advisor have explained this in detail, from the end user's point of view: How to upgrade to Windows 10 - How to install Windows 10.

Which versions of Windows will get a free upgrade to Windows 10?

Only the following versions of Windows are eligible for the update:

  • Windows 7 SP1 (Service Pack 1)
  • Windows 8.1 Update
  • Windows Phone 8.1

These versions are not eligible (some merely require updating to the versions above):

  • Windows 7 RTM (this can be updated to SP1 for free)
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8 (this can be updated to 8.1 Update for free)
  • Windows 8.1 RTM (this can be updated to 8.1 Update)
  • Windows RT (the version of Windows used on the Microsoft Surface and Surface 2 – cannot be updated)
  • Windows Phone 8.0 (updates may be available from your mobile operator or Microsoft)

In terms of specific versions of Windows, the upgrade will work on a 'like-to-like' basis:

Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10:

From Edition

To Edition

Windows 7 Starter

Windows 10 Home

Windows 7 Home Basic


Windows 7 Home Premium


Windows 7 Professional 

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 7 Ultimate


Upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10:

From Edition

To Edition

Windows 8.1

Windows 10 Home

Windows 8.1 Pro

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 8.1 Pro Student


Windows 8.1 Pro WMC


Windows Phone 8.1

Windows 10 Mobile

Will end users lose files and programs by upgrading to Windows 10?

Obviously not if they are storing those documents on a server, and you are backing up regularly. But this is the real world. User files, settings and applications will be kept, but some settings and applications won't be 'migrated' as Microsoft puts it. (See also: 15 things you'll love about Windows 10... and some you might hate.)

For example, anti-virus software won't be moved. Windows 10 should keep your anti-virus settings and install the latest version of your AV software after the update, assuming your subscription is current. This is obviously a challenge if you are running enterprise level security software across the office.

If such software isn't present, Windows Defender will be enabled instead. That's nothing like as good, but at least offers your network some protection.

Other apps which may not be moved include those installed by your computer manufacturer, as well as those which aren't compatible with Windows 10. As before, the end user will get a list of any such issues before beginning the actual update, so they can choose whether or not to proceed with it.

Most applications which run in Windows 7 and 8 will work fine in Windows 10, so there shouldn't be many problems in this area. But there could be mass driver issues. Make sure your colleagues know when, or if, to upgrade.

If migrating to Windows 10 is a challenge for your business, we recommend you read Computerworld UK's other guides Windows 10: Pros and cons for enterprise - why your business should move to Windows 10 and How to migrate to Windows 10: How do I move employees' PCs and devices to Windows 10?

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