If you are still using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you have just a few more hours to take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer from Microsoft.

The tech giant set a deadline of July 29 for the free upgrade, which will see users provided with Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Professional at no cost. After today Microsoft says that the upgrade will cost $119. It’s worth noting that you will need to do a little bit of preparation and allow up to two hours for the upgrade process, writes Mark Hachman for PC World.

Windows 10 Wallpaper
Image credit: Windows/YouTube

Back up data and check your copy of Windows is genuine

Some applications may not work after you upgrade, and you need to back up your data to be safe. Aside from that the transition should be quite easy. Those that have an earlier Pro version of Windows will get Windows 10 Professional, while the rest will likely get Windows 10 Home.

Before clicking the upgrade button, make sure you have a genuine copy of Windows. Microsoft is not offering a free upgrade to pirates.

To prepare your machine, make sure you have Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8. Now click on the Windows icon in the bottom right of the taskbar to launch the Windows 10 reservation app.

Minimum system requirements worth checking

It’s worth checking that your machine meets the minimum requirements for the new operating system. You will need a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit, 16GB storage for a 32-bit operating system or 20GB for 64-bit and DirectX 9 with WWDM 1.0 driver along with a 1024×600 display.

The Microsoft Windows 10 download will take up around 3GB of storage space, with downloads taking around 20 minutes on a 75-Mbps internet connection. Installation on a standard hard drive will take longer than an SSD.

After installation is completed your machine will reboot before beginning the upgrade. The whole process should not take longer than 2 hours.

Certain programs will not be added to Windows 10

Some of you running premium versions of older Windows software may notice some apps disappear. Media Center will not be included on Windows 10, but will be replaced by Windows DVD Player which costs $14.99. One alternative is to download VLC media player for free.

Lovers of Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts will be disappointed to hear that the games will also disappear. However updated versions will be introduced to Windows 10 soon.

If you have antivirus software it will be uninstalled and reinstalled during the upgrade. If you don’t have a valid subscription your antivirus software will not be installed, and it’s worth double-checking.

Another point of interest is that those of you with older hardware may not be able to use certain new features of Windows 10. The Windows Hello log in feature, which uses your face or fingerprint to recognize you, requires a new depth camera or a third-party fingerprint reader in order to work.

If you are making a last minute upgrade your system won’t remain the same for too long. Microsoft has scheduled an Anniversary Update beginning August 2, which is actually more of a service pack than a major update.

Should you upgrade to Windows 10 and decide that you really don’t like the latest version of the Microsoft operating system, you can downgrade to your previous version during a 30 day trial period. Not long now until the deadline, so get cracking if you want to upgrade.