There is something else you should know about the Get Windows 10 app that has been installed on Windows 7 and 8.1 systems which are eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade.
It is not for us.
My definition of us means enthusiasts, prosumers, IT Pros, tweakers and anyone else who monitors and keeps up with the tech news of the day.
This tool is intended for the vast majority of computer users out there who do not monitor hundreds of tech websites for news items nor is it for the nearly four million people who have signed up to be Windows Insiders.
The prompt to reserve Windows 10 and make users aware that it is free and that it will be available on 29 July is for everyday users.
Everyday users are the exact opposite of us - as defined above.
If you have ever done support for family & friends you know who they are.
These are the individuals who have a system tray full of icons, out of date anti-virus software (usually the expired trial that came with their computer) and have not used Windows Update for a long time.
These are the users who expect their computer to work like an appliance so that they just flip a switch and it works.
In the last 18 months I have spent some time working in two customer facing positions and met these users first hand.
Most recently it was providing customer service for a software company and answering the questions of these everyday users about how to use this software. That included the basics of not only using the software but also using their computer itself. A large number of them were still on Windows XP trying to squeeze whatever they could out of the un-supported operating system.
Many of them had systems that were in such bad shape from a lack of regular maintenance/updating that they needed to be reformatted to even have a clean starting point.
Last year I interacted with everyday users as a Microsoft Consultant at a Best Buy retail store. I met with customers each day on the sales floor and as the final days of Windows XP support were approaching last April we had a lot of customers come in as they shopped for new systems.
They did not come in to purchase a new system because they had been reading sites like this, The Verge, Neowin, WinBeta or Microsoft support pages and heard about the end of XP support. They were in the store because they had seen an alert on their computer that informed them that Windows XP support was ending. That alert was the result of a Windows Update that had been installed on those systems in a similar manner that the Get Windows 10 app was this April.
Despite the months of tech news coverage leading up to the end of support it was not until they were served up that alert on their system and became aware of the issue that they then took steps to address it.
That alert was not an ad – just like the Get Windows 10 app is not an ad.
The Get Windows 10 app is a tool and it is being used to reach everyday users and let them know about the free upgrade to Windows 10 so they can take advantage of it.
One of the changes to Windows 10 Home is that those users will not be able to opt out of receiving system updates from Windows Update. This is a smart move on Microsoft’s part because it will keep those everyday users and their systems up to date and operating more like appliances instead of out of date targets for malicious software.
That feature alone will make those everyday users safer than they have been in the past by not neglecting updates to their systems.
Could Microsoft have been more transparent when they offered this update to users back in April?
It took the digging of tech bloggers to find out exactly what KB3035583 was intended for and even at that point Microsoft did not come out and clarify their intended goal for this update.
Does that change the benefits of providing a prompt like this for everyday users?
Just like last April when our Best Buy was full of everyday users upgrading from Windows XP due to its expiration, users who might not have ever been aware that Windows 10 was out and being offered for free will have the opportunity to get their hands on a more secure and modern operating system.
There is nothing wrong with that at all.
We all pay for security breaches in some form or another so protecting everyday users from being victims will be a bonus for all the rest of us.