While 14 million people or so may have already installed Windows 10, Microsoft’s just-released operating system, you may be curious to try it without wanting to make the full commitment yet. See, while Windows 10 may be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users, installing it will completely overwrite the older OS. Thankfully, Microsoft has made a free, 90-day trial version of Windows 10 Enterprise available, letting users try Windows 10 without completely eliminating their Windows 7 or 8.1 installation.
It’s true that if you don’t like the full version of Windows 10 you can roll back to 7 or 8, but that can be a huge hassle to go through just to try out the new OS, or worse, to discover it’s just not compatible with your workflow. This is where the 90-day trail is really useful. You have three months to play with Windows 10 in your free time, but can continue to do your necessary daily work in an environment you’re comfortable with and know is stable.
However, there are a few drawback to free trial. Because it’s the Enterprise edition of Windows 10, it’s lacking a number of features that specifically aimed at personal users. This includes most of the apps, like Mail, Calendar, People, Photos, and even Cortana, the virtual assistant. There’s also no Windows Store, so forget about downloading new apps. Then again, if you’re specifically looking to try Windows 10 in a big business environment, all that may not be a problem.
There are two main ways to go about using the Windows 10 trial alongside Windows 7 and 8. The first is to create a separate partition on your hard drive, and installing the trail there, giving the option of booting into either OS. The other is to use virtualization software, letting Windows 10 run in a sandbox within Windows 7 or 8.
The 90-day trail of Windows 10 Enterprise edition can be downloaded fromMicrosoft’s website here.