Don from California writes:

I’m 73 and don’t always understand computer changes. Is it too early to determine if Windows 10 will completely replace Win 7 if you download it or can both be on your computer at the same time?  Additionally, if Win 10 just isn’t for you could a switch back to Win 7 be possible?

The upgrade to Windows 10 would completely replace Windows 7 with 10. At least if you go with the free upgrade Microsoft will offer Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.  You could pay for a new copy of Windows 10 and run it as a dual boot alongside Windows 7 on your computer, assuming you had enough room to install both. That’s how I’m running the Windows 10 Technical Preview now.

dualboot

The idea behind offering the Windows 10 upgrade for free is that it will put as many Windows users as possible on the same page. That way customers using Microsoft products and services will all have the same experience. That’s much easier than trying to come up with options for four different operating systems and similar to the way that Apple offers updates for OS X.

I’ve been running the Windows 10 Technical Preview for several weeks now and I do think that most Windows 7 users should find it pretty familiar.

windows10crop

As long as you have your discs and activation code for Windows 7,  theoretically you may be able to go back and do a clean install of Windows 7 over Windows 10. But then when support for Windows 7 expires in 2020, you’ll have to pay to upgrade to the current version of Windows at that time.  Microsoft hasn’t announced everything about the upgrade process, so we don’t know yet if those who choose the upgrade will be able to go back to Windows 7 or 8. It may turn out that you swap your license for those programs for a Windows 10 license and there’s no going back. We also don’t know yet if the upgrade to 10 will like the update from 8 to 8.1 where your files remain intact or if it will require a clean install of Windows 10.

~ Cynthia