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Better upgrade to Windows 10 while it’s still free (and time is almost up)

Windows has been pushing those helpful little notification on Windows system to upgrade; if you don’t heed those notifications by July 29, it will cost you to upgrade to Windows 10.

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Don’t risk the costly upgrade

If you’re using a Windows operating system, chances are you’ve encountered those persistent message to upgrade to Windows 10. While upgrading does take a little bit of time and patience, the upgrade itself to Windows 10 is free, or rather it has been up to this point. Unlike Apple, which allows users to upgrade at any point, to the newest operating system for free, Windows is taking a different approach and if you’re a procrastinator, you could be in trouble.

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If you haven’t upgraded your system to Windows 10 by June 29, 2016, the upgrade will cost you $119. If the thought of upgrading right now is more than you can handle, there is another option to keep you from having to pay the hefty fee and still keep Windows 7 or 8 on your machine. What you’ll need to do is “reserve” your copy of Windows 10 before July 29.

Reserving your copy

To “reserve” your copy of Windows 10, you’ll want to go ahead and act on that notification to upgrade. Once, you’ve completed the upgrade, you can roll back to Windows 7 or 8, keeping the original verson, but “reserve” your Windows 10 license, while it’s still free.

Your version of Windows 7 or 8 must be genuine or you will not be eligible to upgrade for free.

Have questions about this? Check out this article, or if you need help determining your eligibility, check out this article.

How can you have two versions?

When you receive a notification to upgrade to Windows 10 from your PC, Microsoft knows you’re running a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8 (also known as a digital entitlement). Microsoft notes this on their servers and knows you can download Windows 10 for free. Once this is noted, you can install and reinstall Windows 10. It will remain active, since it’s noted on the Microsoft servers, without the product key. Since it’s noted on the servers, this allows you to install a different operating system (like Windows 7 or 8), while still maintaining your Windows 10 eligibility and activation.

There are a couple of caveats here, however. The upgrade is tied to each PC, so you’ll need to repeat this process for each eligible PC. Also, if you upgrade the motherboard, or install Window 10 on another PC that didn’t receive the digital entitlement mentioned above, it will not work. This differs from previous upgrades, because once you bought the upgrade with the product key, you could use it on any machine.

How to install and roll back

Before making any changes to your computer, you should back everything up to the Cloud, or an external hard drive, USB, or other storage medium. This ensures nothing gets lost forever. When you’re ready, the easiest way to begin installation and roll back is to use the built-in roll back feature. Be warned, however, some programs may be removed during the upgrade and you’ll need to reinstall them.

To get started, click on your upgrade notification, or click here, to get started. You’ll need to run the tool and agree to upgrade. After you’ve gotten Windows 10 installed, click the “Start” button and then navigate to “Settings.” Find “Update & Security,” then “Activation.” Double-check and make sure you see “Windows 10 on this device is activated with a digital entitlement.” (Remember, this is how the server knows you’ve activated). If it does, you’re good to go; if it doesn’t, you may need to wait while the Microsoft server updates before you roll back.

If you’re activated, click on the “recovery” tab and then you’ll see “get started” under “go back to Windows 7/8.1.” Click the appropriate option and Windows 10 will automatically uninstall itself and restore your old Windows system.  Once roll back is complete, make sure you double-check for missing programs and reinstall those. Then, you’re all set.

Alternative (but not better) options

There is another method to keep your programs in place, but it is more complicated. It involves created an image of your existing Windows operating systems, but to do so, you need an external hard drive with the same amount of room as your computer. You can use CDs, but the process can take nearly a day and you have to be in front of the computer to switch out the disc as they fill up. As long as you know which programs you’re running, and have the product keys to re-install them, the option above is your best (and easiest) bet.

If you don’t want to be out the money for upgrading at a later date, July 29, 2016 is your deadline.

#FreeWindows10

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Count Iblis

    June 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Windows 10 doesn’t work on my computer. After installing it causes internal power error, the computer constantly restarts. The fixes for this involve installing new drivers, but these new Windows 10 compatible drivers are not compatible with the image processing software such as ImageJ that I use. They cause the error ” LoadLibrary failed with error 87: The parameter is incorrect”, and the program quits. A later attempt to upgrade drivers (within Windows 8.1) led to unexpected shutdowns immediately after a cold start; the second start did work, but then it would take a long time for the computer to boot. I had to do a system reset to get rid of that problem (the option to roll back the drivers didn’t work). So, I’m going to stick with the old drivers that are only compatible with Windows 8.1.

  2. Debbie Cerda

    June 27, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I’m a bit wary of upgrading to Windows 10 as well. What’s the general consensus for making the move?

    • Lani Rosales

      June 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Good question – all of the PCs here are upgraded, and it’s actually a slightly better iteration than 8.1, seems faster and less glitchy. Plus, get it while it’s free and you can always revert if you hate it. 🙂

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Tech News

iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault

(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.

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Woman looking at Apple iPhone representing new iOS 15 beta that will blur nude photos.

In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.

The option to blur nude photos is opt-in, reports The Verge, and does not prevent users from choosing to view the photos in question even after being implemented.

This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”

With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.

Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.

 

Child on electronic device- iOS 15 beta that will allow blur nude photos should protect children.

Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.

While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.

There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.

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Tech News

Amazon Music debuts synchronized text transcripts for popular podcasts

(TECH) The first feature to hit Amazon Music is auto-generated and synchronized text transcripts for their most popular podcast shows. Sign us up!

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Amazon Music Transcripts

Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.

According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.

Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.

Amazon Music Homescreen

To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.

Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.

So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.

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Tech News

UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy

(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.

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Two UX design people standing in front of a whiteboard with a UX map.

A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.

But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.

So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.

According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.

The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.

Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.

The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.

The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.

The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.

If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.

However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.

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