Hmmm, I wondered. Could it really be done?
Not being one to ever take anything at face value, I was eager to find out for myself. Fortunately I happened to have such a machine in my possession. It originally had Windows XP installed, but had since been upgraded to Windows 7, which meant the upgrade to 10 on it was free. If you aren’t lucky enough to have Windows 7 or 8 already and want to upgrade a Windows XP or Vista machine, you can. You will need to download the ISO file and burn it to a disk first, which you can get here http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10ISOYou will of course need to purchase a valid Windows 10 licence at some point, but you can still experience Windows 10 for free for a short time. The upgrade from XP or Vista basically starts from a clean slate, so save anything you want to keep to an external hard drive, CD, DVD or USB stick first.
Thankfully the Get Windows 10 app on the PC I wanted to upgrade indicated it was compatible and much to my surprise (given my previous experiences with Windows 10) the upgrade went smoothly.
It is true that the computer in question appears to be running better than it did previously. However, there is a catch. With any operating system that you install, they tend to run nicely when you first get them, but as time moves on they get cluttered up with - stuff. So with a newly installed Windows 10 I would expect it to perform better, at least at first. So time will tell on this one.
If you have an old PC lying around and want to see what all the fuss is about, upgrading it to Windows 10 could well be a very good idea. Even if it doesn’t run quite as quickly and smoothly as you would like, it will give you a chance to get used to the operating system and will mean you can make a more informed decision when buying a new computer.