Windows 10 will be out before the end of the year, and Microsoft has been quickly updating the preview version since October. Since the first preview version, the company has added its Edge browser and Cortana digital personal assistant and other new features.
Windows 10 only available to “insiders”
For those who just can’t wait until the official Windows 10 version comes out in a few months, Brad Chacos of PCWorld put together an excellent guide which tells how to install the preview version now. One thing that’s important to realize up front though is that unlike the Windows 9 Consumer Preview, the Windows 10 Technical Preview is available only through the new Windows Insider program.
Microsoft was wise to begin the insider program as it strides to make Windows 10 everything Windows 8. Those who belong to the program and are able to try out the Windows 10 Technical Preview are asked to submit feedback. Microsoft has also set up forums for users to talk about problem areas with its engineers.
A warning about the Windows 10 preview
Those who are daring enough to install Windows 10 should be aware that the operating system is also highly unstable. Microsoft emphasizes in a disclaimer statement that the preview version includes “experimental and early prerelease software,” meaning that users “may experience occasional crashes and in rare cases data loss.”
Yes, there’s a very good reason, Microsoft isn’t rolling this out to the average consumer yet. A lot goes into working out the bugs in it before it hits store shelves. If you do decide to try out the Windows 10 preview, make sure that you back up everything before you start. Use a cloud storage service like Dropbox or One Drive to ensure that you don’t lose anything important.
Getting started with Windows 10
In order to try out the preview, you’ll need a PC or Windows tablet with x86 processors. The preview doesn’t work for Windows RT tablets. The preview version also requires a processor that’s at least 1GHz and can support SSE2, NX and PAE, 1 GB of 32-bit RAM or 2 GB of 64-bit ram, 16 GB of hard drive space and a DirectX 9 graphics with WDDM driver. Also a Microsoft account is required. In some cases, you may be required to install the product key for the technical preview, which PCWorld gives as NKJFK-GPHP7-G8C3J-P6JXR-HQRJR.
To get started, head over to preview.windows.com and click “Get Started.” It will take you through the registration process for the Windows Insider program before you can download the Windows 10 preview. It’s important to note that it isn’t wise to overwrite your PC’s current operating system with the preview. This could severely cripple your computer and will make Windows Media Player unable to play DVDs and delete Windows Media Center from Windows 8.1 Pro. If you just happen to have a spare, unused computer lying around, it’s not a bad idea to use that.
PCWorld suggests using a virtual machine to try out the Windows 10 preview. Chacos recommends VirtualBox, which is made by Oracle. For trouble-shooting tips and further details, check out his article at PCWorld.com.