Buying a computer system/windows updates and new computer


Hope you don't mind but I have 2 questions...In the past, when buying a new desktop pc from Dell, they would ship it with windows updates already loaded. If I buy a new desktop pc from a retail store and it has been boxed up and sitting on a shelf for a long time, would one of the first things I'd need to do is download and install Windows updates? Seems like that would take a long time to do. Or does it somehow automatically update itself?  

The other thing is, if I buy a new computer with Windows 8.1 and want to upgrade to 10 later, I would take it somewhere and let them do it, I'm not a computer guy. But can that cause problems, in terms of possibly having bits of the old Windows version still on the system creating conflicts with the newer version? Seems it would be cleaner and simpler to wait and get a new computer when Windows 10 is released and already on the computer.  Thanks

To your questions from the top:

1) Windows, since Windows XP SP2, has an automatic update feature that will check itself against Microsoft's update master list. Since Vista, this feature has been greatly expanded and improved, and can also keep drivers and some other applications (like Windows Media Player) up to date as well. As long as the machine has an Internet connection and automatic updates are not disabled (by default they are not) it will take care of itself both upon unboxing and as new updates are released. Do note that if you're relying on Windows Update to handle things like graphics drivers it "lags" somewhat behind the IHV releases, usually by a few months. This generally isn't a problem unless you're wanting to play a brand-new game that relies on a brand-new driver, in which case you can just download the driver directly from Intel/nVidia/AMD as needed with no problems (and Windows Update will still continue to prompt for future updates after that).

2) I wouldn't bother with paying someone to perform a Windows upgrade; since the transition to Windows 7 the upgrade software process has become very painless, even for novice users. There is no real risk to running the upgrade at home, nor should there be any conflicts (lots of files will be retained, or only replaced with newer versions; this is normal/correct behavior). Basically all you would do is purchase a Windows 10 Upgrade package at retail, and insert the disc and follow the on-screen directions. That said, there's no pressing need to upgrade from something as new as 8.1; it will receive updates and support for many more years (even Windows Vista continues to do so, to give you some perspective).

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.


Buying a computer system

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

15+ years of experience

©2017 All rights reserved.