Why you might have to wait for your Windows 10 upgrade -- and how to get it right now if you can't

Windows 10 tablet modeScreenshotWindows 10’s Tablet Mode.

If your Windows 7 or 8/8.1 computer hasn’t gotten the Windows 10 upgrade yet, don’t panic: Microsoft is rolling it out in waves of customers at a time, so it may be a few days, weeks, months or years.

But it will be there for you, sooner or later. It’s even downloading in the background for many users, ensuring a faster installation process.

There are two reasons for the “wave” strategy:

  1. Microsoft doesn’t want its servers to buckle under the weight of millions of customers trying to upgrade to Windows 10 simultaneously.
  2. If you reserved your upgrade with the Get Windows 10 app in Windows 7 and 8, it’s first come, first serve — mostly. In an effort to make sure that everybody using Windows 10 has a good time with the new operating system, they’re taking hardware compatibility into consideration.

“If you reserved your copy of Windows 10, we will notify you once our compatibility work confirms you will have a great experience, and Windows 10 has been downloaded on your system,” wrote Windows boss Terry Myserson in a blog post in early July.

In other words, you may find yourself bumped down the queue for Windows 10 if Microsoft detects that some of the hardware in your system may not play nicely with the new operating system. They’d rather take the time to make sure Windows 10 works on your computer, rather than risk your getting fed up and going back to Windows 7 or 8.

Of course, if you absolutely, positively have to have Windows 10 today, and to heck with the consequences, you have options.

The easiest way for most users is to use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool to download a version of Windows 10 that you can burn onto a CD or DVD, or else copy onto a USB flash drive. You just need to choose if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU (and if you don’t know, you probably shouldn’t do this anyway).

When the installation process asks for a product key, just click “Skip.” Windows 10 will pull your Windows 7 or 8 activation key out from your hard drive, and you’ll be fine. If you’re not upgrading from one of those versions of Windows, you’ll need an official Windows 10 licence key, which will cost a minimum of $US119.

Just remember that Microsoft Windows 10 is still very new, and if you go this route, there’s not a 100% guarantee that your computer’s hardware will be totally supported. Let the upgrader beware.

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