Microsoft has unveiled Windows 10, and although it will not be officially available until next year, the Windows maker is in a hurry to wipe out the distressing memory that Windows 8 left on its users.
The Technical Preview for Windows 10 is now available for download for all users. However, Microsoft is quick to emphasize that Windows 10 is largely a work in progress and beta testers should be more than comfortable troubleshooting PC problems, as Windows 10 is still rough around the edges and users can expect several bugs and issues to crop up over the next several months. This is by design, as Microsoft takes a page out of Apple's playbook and attempts to smooth out the kinks and creases of its latest software with the help of user feedback.
"The tech preview is meant for PC experts who are comfortable downloading unfinished software. If this sounds like you, great," says [video] Joe Belfiore, vice president for Windows.
So unless users like trying out new and buggy software, don't mind the constant updates that Microsoft will be rolling out for Windows 10 and know how to format a hard drive, install a new operating system and re-install an old operating system, they would do better to wait until the final version of Windows 10 becomes available. And Belfiore recommends using a second computer that is not the user's everyday computer.
"We recommend you install it on a secondary PC as it's still not finished and there will certainly be some rough edges," he says.
Microsoft also warns that users should back up their files regularly as the technical preview could cause "unexpected PC crashes" to "damage or even delete your files." Other caveats include the possibility of some hardware and software not working, such as printers and antivirus programs, and the inability to connect to the user's home or Wi-Fi networks.
One last thing. Installing the technical preview disables the PC's entertainment center, which means users will not be able to watch DVDs on Windows Media Player and the Media Center won't be usable.
Now that we have that out of the way, here is how users can download the Windows 10 technical preview. First, they sign up for the Windows 10 Insider Program, where they will be taken to a page where they can download the technical preview. Users have the option of choosing between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions and will have to make sure their PCs meet Windows 10's system requirements: at least 1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version and at least 2GB of RAM for the 64-bit, a 1GHz processor or faster and 16GB of storage space.
They then download the technical preview which comes as an ISO file, which should be transferred to an installation medium such as a USB flash drive or a DVD from which they can install the file simply by double-clicking setup.exe. If this does not work, an alternative is to mount the ISO file on a mounting program such as Power ISO. Users should click Mount-Set Number of Drives-1 Drive then select the new drive in which to mount the ISO file. Afterwards, they can open My Computer or This PC which contains the file as a selectable drive. From there, they can double-click setup.exe to install the technical preview.
The installation will take around 15 minutes to be complete. Once that's done, users can enjoy trying on the resurrected Start Menu integrated with live tiles, the virtual desktops and the old-school makeover of the Modern apps.