Try as we might, we can't anticipate every question about Windows 10, which. So we asked you, and you have delivered. We've answered as many as we can, though some things we just don't know yet. Keep sending your questions, and we'll post more answers. Our review of the operating system may also provide some answers.
Recording TV with Windows Media Center
"I have an HDHomeRun digital cable TV tuner. How will I be able to use it to watch and record TV programs on Windows 10 if there is no Media Center?" --Gary
Windows 10 will not have the Media Center, and upgrading from Windows 7 will remove it. And unfortunately, there is no replacement for Windows Media Center, which was the only Windows platform authorized to make recordings of encrypted cable transmissions. On the bright side, Microsoft has committed to providing security updates to Windows 7 until 2020. So you can stick with Windows 7 for now and wait for a replacement to arrive, or you can try dual-booting Windows 7 and Windows 10.
Postponing the upgrade to Windows 10
"I do not want to consider Windows 10 for several months, until its kinks are worked out and I can truly decide if I want it. However, I received the Win10 upgrade notification, and I want to know if I can stop the automatic download." --jjoek
The upgrade to Windows 10 won't be automatic. The upgrade notification icon will just stay in your system tray to remind you that your upgrade is available.
Adjusting from Windows 7
"I'm confused how Windows 10 can be an upgrade for both Windows 7 and 8.1. Windows 8.1 I can understand, although for whatever reason, there is no Windows 9. At least it's a short leap from 8.1 to 10. However, with Windows 7 it's a big leap to 10, skipping over Windows 8 and 8.1. Does Windows 10 include both 8.0 and 8.1, so Windows 7 isn't overwhelmed by the giant leap?" --Cris C.
Having used various versions of Windows 10 over the last several months, we can say that it should feel familiar to people who never upgraded to Windows 8 or 8.1. Microsoft brought back the Start menu, and you'll only see the screen full of tiles if you're running a device with a touch-based interface, like a tablet or a Windows phone. For the rest of us, Windows 10 is designed to boot straight to the desktop mode that we're familiar with. The Task Manager uses Windows 8's style, but it's arguably an improvement, or at least a more informative one. The Control Panel (now accessed from the Settings button on the Start menu) uses a different layout, but you can still use the search function there to find what you're looking for.
Cloud storage in Windows 10
"I have very slow Internet speeds. Does Windows 10 use the cloud for most programs?" --Neal R.
Windows 10 will encourage you to use the pre-installed OneDrive service (formerly called SkyDrive) to store your documents, photos, and other files in Microsoft's cloud, but it's not required. The Windows 10 Start menu uses "live tiles" that are updated over the Internet with news, weather, and stock info, but you can disable them by right-clicking and selecting Unpin From Start Menu. The Siri-like Cortana assistant may transmit information over the Internet, depending on what you ask it to do. But overall, the main activities of the operating system that customarily operate offline do not require an Internet connection in Windows 10.
Keeping multiple versions of Windows on your computer
"My desktop PC is currently a dual-boot system running XP and Windows 7. I would like to keep my XP. Can I upgrade the Win 7 portion only and leave the XP portion intact?" --Rick W.
Yes, as long as you have a partition on your storage device set aside for installing a second operating system. If that's the case, use the custom installation option and point it to the second partition. If you do not have a partition set aside, the process to create one can get a little complicated and would require a separate article to explain. Our CNET colleagues have an article about dual-booting Windows 7 and Windows 8 that should work for people who don't have a partition set up already.
While you can install Windows 10 as an update to 7 or 8.1 in a partition, as far as we know you cannot use the free upgrade to create a brand-new installation of Windows 10 on a separate partition or other device. It can only be used to upgrade Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. If you want to install a full version of Windows 10 instead of an upgrade, you'll need to buy a copy of the operating system.
"Will the Windows 10 upgrade delete the manufacturer's restoration partition on a Windows 7 computer?" --Bill R.
This is a section of your computer's storage device that is created by the manufacturer (Dell, HP, Toshiba, and so on) to restore the operating system to the state it was in when the device was shipped. You can use this if your computer gets messed up and if less destructive fixes don't work. The Windows 10 installer won't mess with existing partitions unless you tell it to, so this restoration partition will be unaffected. Keep in mind, though, that using the restoration partition will return you to the previous operating system that's stored there, not to Windows 10.
Windows XP mode in Windows 10
"We have two Windows 7 computers bought in the last two years, but we have an accounting program which will only run in Windows XP. I understand that there is a virtual XP which can be downloaded into Windows 7, but can it be downloaded into Windows 10?" --Eileen S.
It doesn't look like Windows 10 will have support for Windows XP Mode. However, you can install Windows XP in a virtual machine. I wrote an article recently about installing Windows 10 in a virtual machine -- you can apply those same steps to creating one for Windows XP. Running a virtual machine requires more processing power than XP Mode, but since you bought your PC fairly recently, it should be up to the task.
The Windows 10 update schedule
"I've always have had Windows on my PCs, but since 1986, I've learned to wait for any product from Microsoft to be X.1 or X.2.0, because they haven't done very well with first releases of many of their products. Will Windows 10.1 be available before next July?" --Ronald R.
If you're wondering whether a major revision of Windows 10 will be available before the upgrade offer expires on July 29, 2016...that's a pretty good question, actually. Windows 7 was released to retail in October 2009, and its service pack didn't arrive until February 2011. Windows 8.1 came out a little over a year after Windows 8.0. But with all the changes that the company has been evolving through since CEO Satya Nadella took over in February 2014, we don't know if Microsoft will be using the same game plan as before. There may not be a Windows 10.1 as a retail product, if they take the route that Apple has with OS X.
Whatever the case, we've found the Insider Preview version of Windows 10 to be quite stable. This is due in part to it sharing a lot of proven DNA with previous versions of Windows. It's not a major leap like Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, or 95 to XP.
Keeping previously installed versions of Microsoft programs
"What is this about Office 2016? I own 2013 and do not want to pay for the same software every year. If I download and install Windows 10, do I have to accept Office 16? Will it overwrite my 2013 Office?" --Ronald R.
When you upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1, you copy of Microsoft Office will remain unaffected. The Windows 10 upgrade does not include a copy of Office 2016. However, Windows 10 will install Microsoft Edge alongside Internet Explorer 11. Edge is intended to be the successor to IE 11, though the latter will still operate as a fallback.
Device compatibility with Windows 10
"Years ago, when I upgraded to Windows 7, I consulted a Windows 7 compatibility webpage. It listed software that was and wasn't compatible. My webcam wasn't compatible with Win 7, and I needed to download a patch so that my printer would work with it. What about Windows 10? Will it be compatible with all software/hardware that works with Windows 7?" --Bill P.
The Windows 10 upgrade notification icon (which will show up in your Windows system tray if you qualify for the upgrade) has a built-in tool to check for device compatibility. Our friends at ZDNet have a short article that walks you through how that works. As far as we know, Microsoft does not have a webpage this time to check for compatibility with Windows 10.
Re-installing Windows 10 later
"Once I have installed Windows 10 on my computer, what happens if I have to change my hard drive at a later date? How do I re-install Windows 10? And do I get an installation code with the Windows 10 download?" --Nic
Ideally you're creating backups of your Windows 10 drive or partition on a regular basis, so you can restore from that if something happens to your main drive. If you need to reinstall Windows 10, the free offer is only for an upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1, so you'd need to install one of those older operating systems first before upgrading them to Windows 10. We've been able to to do a full OS installation using an upgrade installer in the past, but it's not clear if that will be possible with Windows 10. And it would be a violation of the license agreement anyway.