Go to the Microsoft Website starting on July 13, and the message is clear. Upgrade time is near, and the company wants you to think about upgrading everything about your world, not just your copy of Windows.
The Upgrade Your World link takes you to a list of nine extremely worthwhile charities, all of which deserve your support, and a chance to play a role in choosing a tenth charity.
Of course there's more to it than that. There's also a link to the Windows 10 free upgrade page that shows you how to register for the upgrades that will start arriving on July 29. That day, which apparently is World Upgrade Day, will see automatic upgrades to Windows 10 being sent to users in 190 countries, according to a blog entry by Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft.
For people who have registered with Microsoft—which probably includes most people with Windows 7 Pro as well as other versions of Windows 7, and for Windows 8.1—the upgrades will likely happen via Windows Update. The same is true of people who have been participating in the Windows Insider program, which means they've been testing the preview version for a while, perhaps since as long ago as fall of 2014.
But that won't happen for everyone. If you have the Enterprise version of Windows, then the upgrade will come at the hands of your system administrator. Others may find that they'll need to ask for physical media or to download an ISO file so they can create physical media. This will apply to computers that are incapable of connecting to the Internet or where connections aren't up to supporting a download.
And then there are computers that just won't run Windows 10. One of the machines that I tried to put into the Windows Insider program, a dual-Xeon HP workstation, can't be upgraded because its processor can't handle a couple of the instructions that Windows 10 uses.
That machine will likely live in the lab for a few months longer, but it's a sure bet that it's next in line for a brief trip to the county recycle center, or perhaps it'll be next for a Linux upgrade.
Fortunately, most computers that run Windows 7 or 8.1 can run Windows 10. They don't need to be later model machines. One of the PCs in the lab that's running the preview version of Windows 10 is an old HP desktop computer equipped with an Intel Core Duo 32-bit processor circa 2005.
This computer is so old that it originally ran Windows Vista and yet the 32-bit version of Windows 10 works perfectly and seems to run faster than it did when it ran either Vista or Windows 7.
So let's say you're like many small businesses and you've been running Windows 7 on desktop and laptop machines for a while now.