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Windows 10 for Windows XP Users

Some people might find it hard to believe, but there are still tens of millions of people and companies still using Windows XP, 14 years after its initial release—and more than a year since Microsoft quit officially supporting it. That loss of support is reason enough to upgrade from XP to Windows 10; you also gain a great deal of functionality by moving to a more modern operating system.

How different is Windows 10 from Windows XP? The changes are almost too numerous to note, but include

  • Revamped Start menu with live tiles for pinned apps.
  • Revamped taskbar to which you can pin shortcuts to your favorite apps. There’s also a search button directly on the taskbar, and you can use the search functionality to find apps and files on your computer.
  • It’s a lot easier to connect your computer to a network, especially with the Homegroup feature.
  • The Documents and Settings folder has been replaced by traditional User folders.
  • You can more easily switch from one open app to another with the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut.
  • The new and improved Microsoft Edge web browser replaces Internet Explorer.
  • Windows 10 runs a lot faster, especially on newer PCs, and crashes less often.

The challenge with upgrading directly from Windows XP to Windows 10 is that you’re moving from a 14-year-old operating system to a brand new state-of-the-art one. If you use a computer that’s as old as the operating system, it may not run Windows 10; certainly, you’re likely to run into some compatibility issues with older peripherals and software programs.

In addition, the upgrade itself won’t be easy. You can’t just upgrade the operating system; you have to wipe your computer’s hard disk completely clean and then install Windows 10 fresh on top of that. (This is called a clean install.) You’ll lose all your files and programs and settings, so you’ll want to back up your files first and then restore them after you install Windows 10. You’ll need to reinstall all your software programs from scratch, as well.

In addition, Windows XP users are not eligible for the same free upgrade offered to Windows 7 and 8.1 users. If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, you’ll have to pay for it.

For these reasons, it’s difficult to recommend that “absolute beginners” upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 10, even with all the benefits that might come from such a move. A better approach is to ditch your older computer (or give it to one of your kids) and buy a new computer with Windows 10 already installed. New computers are a lot less expensive than they were a decade ago, and getting a new PC up and running will take a lot less time and effort than trying to upgrade a Windows XP machine to Windows 10.

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