Why you should download Windows 10 right now

Windows 10

Did you miss me?

Windows 10 is also the first desktop OS to debut with a full-featured digital assistant, named Cortana. Siri has yet to make its way OS X and won't be showing up in El Capitan, unless Apple has some forthcoming surprises. Google Now voice search is available on all laptops and desktops through Google's Chrome browser, but it's nowhere near as useful as it is on Android.

Besides being the first one out of the gate, Cortana is just a great new way to control your computer with voice commands. All you need to do is say "Hey, Cortana" to summon the spunky assistant on your computer to help you look up files, weather and traffic details, and other information on the web.

What's more, Cortana will learn more about you and start to anticipate your needs, even making music suggestions and automatically setting reminders based on items in your calendar.

For now, it seems like Cortana will be Windows 10-exclusive and won't trickle down to Window 8.1. That's a shame – but all the more reason to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Windows 10

Finally made for PC gamers

Perhaps one of Windows 10's coolest features is that it can stream games playing on an Xbox One to a PC through a home wireless network. Streaming could also be a boon to anyone tired of fighting family and roommates over who gets to use the big-screen TV tonight. It's a solution very similar to the Wii U's Gamepad, but Windows 10 enables game streaming to so many more devices.

It might seem pointless to play Xbox games on a hardcore PC rig, but Windows 10 opens up streaming to all types of Windows devices, including laptops and tablets that are light on hulking performance muscle.

At the same time, Microsoft is redoubling its efforts to bring games to the PC, starting with Fable Legends, Gears of War Ultimate Collection and Killer Instinct. Both Killer Instinct and Fable Legends will even support cross-platform play, letting Xbox One owners run alongside (or brawl it out with) their PC friends. So for you Xbox One gamers with a spare Windows computer lying around: you're just leaving cool features on the table by waiting to download.

Windows 10

It's free

One thing Windows 7 and 8.1 users won't need to worry about is paying for the upgrade – the OS is free for those folks to download for one year. The freebie deal is unprecedented from Microsoft, and it completely removes one barrier that might stop you from picking up the new OS right now.

Typically, upgrading from one Windows release to the next meant getting pegged with a 100-buck upgrade fee, as was the case for going from Windows Vista or Windows XP to Windows 7 and Windows 8 after that.

That said, you'll need a genuine version of Windows (i.e. one you paid for), otherwise Microsoft's latest operating system will cost you $119 (£99, AU$179) for the Home Edition. Meanwhile, Windows 10 Pro will cost $199 (£131, AU$299).

So get on with downloading it, or as Shia would say…

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.