Windows 10 is finally here, bringing the familiar desktop back to the forefront and introducing new treats like Cortana, the virtual assistant, and Edge, the browser that will finally erase those bad memories of Internet Explorer. Wondering how to get in on the goodness? Don’t worry. It’s easy—and if you’re an existing Windows 7 or 8 user, it’s free.
First, you need to make sure your device meets Windows 10’s minimum requirements, which it should, because they’re not all that strenuous. You just need a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM (or 2GB for 64-bit), and 20GB of free disk space. Forget your PC; other than the storage, even most phones measure up.
All set? Great. From there it’s varying degrees of easy, mostly depending on whether you reserved your upgrade already.
If you already reserved your Windows 10 upgrade: Good news! Upgrade files may already have discreetly downloaded onto your PC. Just look for the notification that says your upgrade is ready, and run the installer. The whole process should take between 20 and 60 minutes, depending on your rig.
If you haven’t reserved your Windows 10 upgrade yet: Look to your system tray for a “Get Windows 10” icon. From there, you can either reserve an upgrade (Windows 10 will roll out over the next few weeks, so not everyone can get it day one), or go ahead and schedule an install if your device already qualifies. When your magic moment arrives, in the form of a notification from Microsoft, go ahead and run the installer.
As always, it’s smart to back up your system ahead of time. And maybe most importantly, remember that the free upgrade offer only lasts a year; if you wait until July 30 of 2016, you’re going to have to pay up.