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Close to the Metal Episode 5: Windows 10’s free upgrade is almost gone – should you upgrade?

Windows 10 is approaching its first year in the hands of everyday consumers. That means the free upgrade, which has simultaneously pestered and benefited many users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, is about to go away. If you want to upgrade after July 29, you will have to pay.

What does that mean? Well, it means you’re going to have to lay out a lot of cash if you want to use the latest version of Windows without upgrading to a new system, which includes it as part of the price. It’s also led to speculation that a subscription model is in the works. If that’s true, it would be the first example of a subscription operating system sold directly to consumers.

While the free update is enticing, many users on an older version of the Windows operating system are skeptical about making the switch. That’s understandable. Why fix what isn’t broken? But, as we’ll discuss, there are a lot of benefits to Windows 10. And many of the downsides – like supposed privacy issues – are either overblown, or unlikely to impact you.

Related: Why the hell wouldn’t you upgrade to Windows 10?

There’s more happening with Windows 10 than the end of the free update. On August 2, Microsoft will release the Anniversary Update, the first major addition to Windows 10 since its release last year. The update includes several new features, like Windows Ink, a bundle of interface updates that are designed to improve the experience of using Windows with a stylus.

We’ve been using Windows 10’s Insider updates all along, so we have a good idea what it’s like to use the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, even if it’s not yet released. While Windows Ink is interesting, it’s not necessarily the most substantial update. There is a long list of minor improvements to Cortana, the Action Center, and other portions of the operating system.

We’ll discuss also this, and more, in this week’s Close to the Metal. This podcast features Matt Smith, Brad Bourque and Greg Nibler.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Wednesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.