Want to see what all the buzz was about yesterday? Well, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is giving you a chance to test out the Windows 10 Preview for free as long as you agree to become an ‘insider’ and help them improve it before it launches next year. All you need to do is head over to the Windows 10 Preview site and log in with your Microsoft account and then make sure your system meets the minimum specifications. If you’re already running Windows 8.1 you’re pretty much read to go and the OS will handle everything for you.
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Free hard disk space: 16 GB
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
A Microsoft account and Internet access
Also, keep in mind that some processors and hardware configurations still are not supported by the Technical Preview, so if you have driver problems there’s a chance your hardware isn’t supported. You will also need to have a monitor capable of running a minimum of 1024 x 768 resolution in order to access the Windows Store to download apps. Also, after you install the preview you will no longer able able to play DVDs using Windows Media Player, which means that they are moving people over to the new Windows 8.1 video player which was problematic in Windows 8.1 because you had two video players for all video files. This is a clear indication that Windows 10 Preview gets rid of that and very likely that Windows 10 as a whole will do away with Windows Media Player. Windows 10 Preview will also remove Windows Media Center if you have Windows 8 Pro and install the preview.
If you have Windows RT 8.1 (ARM-based tablets) the Windows 10 Preview will not work for you either. Microsoft had already said that they will address the Windows 10 ARM situation at a later date (very likely in 2015) but that Windows RT will be folded into Windows as a whole and no longer operate as a separate OS. The same goes for Windows Phone, which will also carry the Windows 10 name scheme, but since it too is based on ARM we probably won’t see anything until 2015.
If you’re running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 and your default installed language isn’t English, Chinese or Portugese you will only be able to keep your personal files when you upgrade, you will lose all of your apps and Windows settings. Additionally, if you have a language pack or language interface pack, those will also be removed when you install the Windows 10 Preview
Also, some older 64-bit CPUs may be blocked from installing the preview (AMD 64-bit Athlons, perhaps?) but Microsoft gives no explanation why.
Last but not least, if you are running Windows 7 without Sp1 you can only upgrade to the preview by downloading an ISO file and not using Microsoft’s automated system or Windows Update.