Late last week, Microsoft unleashed an updated preview build of Windows 10. There are plenty of new features to explore, and you might be wondering how you go about installing Windows 10 so you can play with them. Here’s how!
The fine print
What they don’t do is hide a keylogger in the Windows 10 preview. Keystrokes do need to be transmitted sometimes, like when you’re using autocorrect. How else would they know whether or not your typing needs correction? Questions and commands you speak to Cortana? Those get transmitted, too, otherwise she’d have nothing to respond to.
Become a Windows Insider
Late last year, Microsoft revealed a new program called Windows Insider. It’s sort of like what Google offers Chrome and Chrome OS users with their different channels, in that users can get early access to new software. It might be rough around the edges, but a little peril is just part of the fun of playing with software before it’s finished.
If you want to try out the Windows 10 preview, you’ll need to become a Windows Insider first. Visit this page to sign up, and make sure you have a Microsoft account. You may already have one — whether from an old Hotmail or OneDrive account, or from Xbox live. If not, creating one doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost you anything, and you can use your existing email address. No need to create a new Outlook.com address just to get one!
Before you begin
Remember, this is pre-release software. It might not be stable enough to use for your daily computing and some of your favorite apps and hardware might not play nicely with it. Before you install Windows 10, consider creating a recovery drive for your existing installation. It’ll make it easier for you to bail out later if you decide you’ve had enough.
How to install Windows 10
Microsoft gives you two ways to install the Windows 10 preview. There’s a cheery button that says “Start upgrade now” which downloads a streaming installer to your system. It’s intended, obviously, to load Windows 10 onto an existing system that’s running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1.
You can also choose to download a full Windows 10 .ISO image. If you go that route and you’re upgrading, make sure that you download the version that matches your existing Windows installation. You can’t upgrade a 32-bit Windows 8.1 system using the 64-bit Windows 10 .ISO.
Once the download is done, you can simply double-click the .ISO to mount the image as a virtual drive. Double click the setup file to launch the installer, and then follow the prompts.
If you’re installing from scratch onto a real or virtual machine, any .ISO will do provided your processor is compatible. Need something you can boot to instead of a file? Microsoft provides a free tool that will copy the Windows 10 files onto a DVD or a USB drive.
Getting Windows updates
As with other versions of Windows, you’ll receive updates to the Windows 10 preview automatically provided you don’t shut off Windows Update. You do have a couple of options, though.
Windows 10 lets you choose either fast or slow update delivery under Settings > Update and Recovery. Fast means changes to the code will be delivered as soon as Microsoft makes them available. Slow means they’ll come a little later — perhaps not quite as exciting, but it’s a trade-off for stability and compatibility (hopefully).