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Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

Carl Phillips
Microsoft, PC games, Windows 10

Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

Today is the big day – Windows 10 is launching worldwide. To mark the occasion, we thought we would collate all the information about Microsoft’s new OS and how it relates to PC gamers. After all, regardless of whether you think being an early adopter is exciting or foolish, there are many gamers that will be making the switch as soon as they are able. So take a look through our handy guide as we explain what is new, what to watch out for, and which games are confirmed to run on the new OS – along with those that definitely won’t.

Getting Windows 10

Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

In case you don’t know, users of Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 have the opportunity to upgrade to the new OS for free over the next 12 months. So long as a legal copy is installed, you'll automatically qualify. Most users will already have seen a new icon in their taskbar (next to the clock) that looks like a Windows symbol. Simply clicking it will bring up a window that will guide you through registering for Windows 10, along with making sure your system is compatible. Once that’s done (and any conflicts are resolved) you’re all set. All you’ll need to do is wait for the upgrade to download, and then wait your turn to install.

You may be asking why you need to wait at all instead of jumping in as soon as the download is ready. This is because Microsoft is rolling out the new OS in waves to ensure a smooth launch (although there is a way around it. More on that later.) You will get a pop-up notification on your desktop when everything is ready to roll, although you can check manually by clicking the upgrade icon.

If you don’t have a copy of Windows 7 or 8 (for whatever reason – we’re not here to judge you, our wonderful, good-looking audience) then fear not – you can get a fully-fledged copy of Windows 10 Home for around £80 (currently £79.32 from Scan.) If you want to try and save even more, you could always find a cheap copy of Windows 7 (or 8) and download the free upgrade.

What’s new?

Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

The most obvious change is that the start menu is back. The metro tiles that were at the forefront of Windows 8 aren’t gone completely though, and will have their own space on the start menu as well as on tablets, but otherwise it will be a much more familiar experience for most PC users. Perhaps the most touted new addition is that of Cortana – the virtual assistant for Windows 10. Much like with Siri on Apple devices, Cortana uses voice activation to help search the internet or look for files and contacts. Microsoft aims to take the service beyond basic searches though, tailoring Cortana to user habits over time.

With the Windows eco-system being unified with Windows 10 it means that universal apps will be available across PCs, tablets, Windows Phone, and even Xbox One. Hopefully this will mean that the app store will be better populated with mainstream apps (and possibly in a more timely manner, too) but it should mean that a purchase of an app on one system will be usable on other devices. So, expect to have Angry Birds. Everywhere.

Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

Internet Explorer, which has had a lot of stigma attached to it, is finally getting the elbow, and Project Spartan is taking its place. The cleaner design and new rendering engine aim to make it a much better experience, but the inclusion of features such as social sharing and offline reading are the big talking points. Cortana will be linked in to, meaning you will be able to tell her to take your to that Dealspwn website everyone can’t stop talking about.

As mentioned above, the metro tiles aren’t completely gone, and will definitely feature on tablet devices where it felt much more natural an interface. Thanks to what is being called Continuum, tablet users will be able to switch between normal desktop view and the tiles simply by attaching a keyboard. No buttons to press or options to select – it will happen automatically. There will no doubt be a way to switching it off so the Desktop view is always on, but it’s good to know that the choice is there.

Gaming with Windows 10

Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

All of that info is nice, but what you really want to know about is the gaming stuff coming to Window 10, right? The Xbox App is the first part of this, allowing users to link their Xbox One experience to their PC. The most obvious way is through social interaction, allowing friends to chat across platforms, view gamer profiles, as well as watch and upload videos. The last part is made easier thanks to the new DVR-like features included in the app, although it should be pointed out that nVidia users will probably find Shadowplay much more functional.

There are two other notable features for gamers as well. The first is that the Xbox App will display information on third-party games that are open including those in your Steam account. The second is how Xbox One gamers will be able to stream their gameplay from their console to their PCs over a local network, which will no doubt please those who have to stop playing something when someone else wants to use the TV. There's also the cross-play functionality that will be coming to more and more titles, with Fable Legends leading the charge.

Are there any risks to upgrading?

Upgrading to Windows 10 | A Gamer’s guide to the big switch

There is cause for concern with Windows 10 a launch, though, especially for gamers. This is because of something intended as a helpful thing – automatic updates. To ensure systems are up to date and secure from malicious attacks, Windows 10 will always download and install the latest patches, but that also includes hardware drivers.

A report over on Forbes details how nVidea users could potentially have issues thanks to the auto-updates.  The nVidea GeForce Experience usually covers this, allowing users to install updates when they wish to, but Windows 10 removes that option. This has caused some users with multiple monitors and SLI (multiple card) setups to see their PCs crash and are faced with flickering screens and unresponsive monitors at best, and at worse being unable to boot into Win10 and forced into recovery mode.

At the time of writing these automatic updates are still mandatory, so if you are an nVidia user consider this a warning of potential aggravation during the launch period. There are reports of other programs and drivers also clashing with the updates, so be sure to read the Forbes report in full before making the switch.

[UPDATE] There have been reports of Windows 10 disabling and even removing what it considers piracy-related software. This could be something as simple as a torrent program which could be used to grab illegal downloads, to actual pirated games. There are even reports of unauthorised hardware and certain peripherals becoming incompatible with Windows 10 as well. You can learn more about the issue here.

The Compatibility List – What will work? What won’t work?

So, let’s get to what you all really want to know – will you be able to play Half Life and Deus Ex for the bajillionth time? Thanks a helpful post over on the Microsoft Insider forums there is a full list of known compatible games, but we’ve got games and programs that work, along with the ones that won’t, for your consideration below!

Windows 10 Games Compatibility List

  • 8BitBoy
  • A Valley Without Wind 2
  • Age of Mythology
  • Age of Wonders
  • Alan Wake
  • Alien Isolation
  • Alice : Madness Returns
  • Amnesia
  • ArcheAge
  • Arma 3
  • Assassin's Creed
  • Assassin's Creed II
  • Assassin's Creed III
  • Assassin's Creed IV
  • Assassin's Creed : Brotherhood
  • Assassin's Creed : Liberation
  • Assassin's Creed : Freedom Cry
  • Assassin's Creed : Unity
  • AudioSurf
  • Awesomenauts
  • Batman : Arkham Asylum
  • Batman : Arkham City GOTY (Playable in Windows 8 Compatibility Mode.)
  • Batman : Arkham Origins
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Battlefield 2
  • Battlefield 3
  • Battlefield 4
  • Battlepaths
  • Bejeweled III
  • Ben There, Dan That!
  • Binary Domain (Playable in Windows 7 Compatibility Mode.)
  • Bioshock
  • Bioshock 2
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Blade Kitten
  • Blades of Time
  • Blake Stone : Aliens Of Gold (Original) (Apogee Throwback Pack via Steam through DosBox.)
  • Blake Stone : Planet Strike! (Original) (Apogee Throwback Pack via Steam through DosBox.)
  • Bleed
  • Bloodsports.TV
  • Bionic Commando
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed
  • Borderlands
  • Borderlands 2
  • Borderlands : The Pre-Sequel
  • Battlfield 1942
  • Breach
  • Broforce
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
  • Call of Duty : Advanced Warfare
  • Call of Duty : Black Ops II
  • Call of Duty : Black Ops II Multiplayer
  • Call of Duty : Modern Warfare II (Playable in Windows 7 Compatibility Mode.)
  • Call of Duty IV : Modern Warfare
  • Call of Duty : Modern Warfare III
  • Call of Duty : World at War
  • Call of Juarez : Bound in Blood
  • Captain America : The Winter Soldier
  • Castle Crashers
  • The Cave
  • Cities : Skylines
  • Civil War II
  • Civilization V
  • Clickr
  • Clicker Heroes
  • Command and Conquer : Red Alert 3
  • Command and Conquer 4 : Tiberian Twilight
  • Commandos 3 : Destination Berlin
  • Company Of Heroes 2
  • Counter Strike (as well as Condition Zero and Source)
  • Counter Strike : Global Offensive
  • Crusader : No Remorse
  • Crusader Kings 2
  • Crysis Crysis 2 : Maximum Edition
  • Crysis 3 Crysis Warhead
  • Cubeworld
  • The Cursed Crusade
  • D.C. Universe Online
  • Daikatana
  • Dark Messiah of Might & Magic
  • Dark Soul
  • The Darkness II
  • Darkest Dungeon
  • Darkreign 2
  • Darksiders
  • Darksiders 2
  • Darkwood
  • Dawn Of War
  • Dawn Of War II
  • Dawn Of War II : Chaos Rising
  • Dead Effect
  • Dead Island (When using multiple monitors, disable a monitor so the game will always stay focused)
  • Dead Island : Riptide (When using multiple monitors, disable a monitor so the game will always stay focused)
  • Deadpool
  • Dead Rising 3 (Playable but with issues)
  • Dead Space
  • Dead Space 2
  • Deathtrap
  • Defense Grid : The Awakening
  • Defense Grid 2
  • Defiance Deus EX : Game Of The Year Edition
  • Deus EX : Human Revolution
  • Deus EX : The Fall
  • Devil May Cry 4 (Playable in Direct X10)
  • Diablo III
  • Dishonored (Playable inWindows 8 Compatibility Mode.)
  • Divinity : Original Sin
  • Don't Starve - Playable
  • Don't Starve Together
  • Doom 3 - Playable
  • Driver - Playable
  • Dragon Age : Origins
  • Dragon Age II
  • Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition
  • Dungeon Defenders
  • Dungeons 2
  • Dungeonland
  • Dying Light
  • Earth 2150 Trilogy
  • Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind
  • Elder Scrolls IV : Oblivion
  • Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim
  • Eldorado : Halo Online
  • Elite Dangerous
  • The Escapists
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Eve Online
  • Everquest
  • Everquest 2
  • Extreme Rise Of The Triad (Apogee Throwback Pack via Steam through DosBox.)
  • E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy
  • Fallout 3 : Game Of The Year Edition
  • Fallout : New Vegas
  • Far Cry 2
  • Far Cry 3
  • Fary Cry 3 : Blood Dragon
  • Far Cry 4
  • Farming Simulator series
  • FTL: Faster Than Light
  • F.E.A.R.
  • F.E.A.R. 2
  • F.E.A.R. 3 - Playable.
  • Final Fantasy IV
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • Firefall
  • Five Nights At Freddy's (I, II, & III)
  • The Forest
  • Frogger (1997)
  • Frogger 2 : Swampy Revenge
  • Gabriel Knight
  • Game Dev Tycoon
  • Garry's Mod
  • Gas Guzzlers Extreme
  • Ghostbusters : Sanctum of Slime
  • Giana Sisters : Twisted Dreams
  • Goat Simulator
  • Godus
  • GRID
  • GRID 2
  • Grim Dawn
  • Grand Theft Auto 2
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Grand Theft Auto V (Some screen tearing, vsync, and start up issues.)
  • Grand Theft Auto : Vice City
  • Guns of Icarus Online
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Guilty Gear Isuka
  • Halo 2
  • Half-Life
  • Half-Life : Source
  • Half-Life 2
  • Half-Life 2 : Deathmatch
  • Hard Reset
  • Heart's Of Iron 3
  • Hellgate London
  • Heroes Of Might and Magic III (GOG Ver)
  • Heroes Of Might and Magic III : HD Edition (Steam Ver)
  • Heroes Of Might and Magic IV (uPlay Ver)
  • Heroes Of Might and Magic V (uPlay Ver)
  • Heroes Of Might and Magic VI
  • Heroes Of Might and Magic X Legacy
  • Heroes Of The Storm
  • Hitman : Codename 47
  • Hitman 2 : Silent Assassin
  • Hitman : Contracts
  • Hitman : Blood Money
  • Hitman : Absolution
  • Hitman : Sniper Challenge
  • How To Survive (Playable in Windows 8 Compatibility Mode.)
  • Injustice : God's Among Us Ultimate Edition
  • Imperialism 2
  • Interstellar Marines
  • The Joylancer : Legendary Motor Knight
  • Judge Dredd : Dredd vs Death
  • Just Cause (Playable in Windows XP Compatibility Mode.)
  • Just Cause 2
  • Just Cause 2 : Multiplayer Mod
  • Kane & Lynch : Dead Men (Need to install xlive.dll.)
  • Kane & Lynch 2 : Dog Days
  • Killing Floor
  • Killing Floor 2 (Need to set KFGame.exe to run as admin.)
  • L.A. Noire
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • League of Legends
  • Legacy of Kain : Defiance (Minor display issues due to lower resolution upon start. Fixed easily in game.)
  • Legacy of Kain : Soul Reaver (Minor display issues due to lower resolution upon start. Fixed easily in game.)
  • Legacy of Kain : Soul Reaver 2 (Minor display issues due to lower resolution upon start. Fixed easily in game.)
  • Legendary
  • Legends of Norrath
  • LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes
  • Lords Of The Fallen
  • Magicite
  • Magicka
  • Maplestory
  • Mark Of The Ninja
  • Marvel Online
  • Mass Effect (launcher throws a UAC warning, if you still have UAC turned on)
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Max Payne 3
  • Meltdown
  • Meridian New World
  • Metal Gear Solid : Ground Zero
  • Metal of Honor : Airborne
  • Metro 2033
  • Metro 2033 : Redux
  • Metro Last Light
  • Metro Last Light : Redux
  • Middle Earth : Shadow of Mordor
  • Might & Magic : Clash of Heroes
  • Minecraft
  • Mirror's Edge
  • Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • Moto Racer Collection
  • Narco Terror
  • NBA 2K 2015
  • Need For Speed : Carbon
  • Need For Speed : Hot Pursuit
  • Need For Speed : Most Wanted (Original DVD Ver.) (2005)
  • NiGHTS into Dreams
  • Nosgoth
  • Obi & The Blind Forest
  • Operation Flashpoint : Red River
  • Orbital Gear
  • Orborun
  • Orcs Must Die
  • Orcs Must Die 2
  • Oregon Trail : Directors Cut
  • ORION: Prelude
  • Overlord
  • Overlord II
  • Painkiller Hell & Damnation
  • Path of Exile
  • PAYDAY 2
  • Peggle
  • Pillars Of Eternity
  • Planetside 2
  • Plants Vs Zombies : Garden Warfare
  • Platypus II
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Pressure
  • Primal Carnage
  • Project Cars
  • Quake
  • Quake (GL Quake)
  • Quake World
  • Quake World (QL Quake World)
  • Quake 2 - Playable. (still some full screen issues with certain resolutions, but playable. Original CD ver has install issues.)
  • Quake 3 Arena
  • Quake 3 : Team Arena (Menu has some display issues, but played a multiplayer game with no issues.)
  • Quake 4 : Special Edition
  • Rage
  • Rayman : Legends
  • Remember Me
  • Resident Evil 4 / Biohazard 4
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Resident Evil 6 / Biohazard 6
  • Resident Evil Revelations / Biohazard Revelations UE
  • Rift
  • Rise Of The Triad (Original) (Apogee Throwback Pack via Steam through DosBox.)
  • Rise Of The Triad (Redux. Steam Ver.)
  • Risen
  • Road Redemption
  • Rocksmith 2014
  • Ryse : Son of Rome
  • Saints Row IV
  • Sanctum
  • Sanctum 2
  • The Secret World
  • Section 8
  • Serious Sam 3 : BFE
  • Shadow Warrior : Classic Redux
  • Shadow Warrior (2014)
  • The Showdown Effect
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
  • Sid Meier's Civilization V
  • Sim City 2000
  • Skiddy the Slippery Puzzle
  • Sleeping Dogs (Original)
  • Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
  • Slender The Arrival
  • Space Engineers
  • Space Hulk
  • Spec Ops: The Line
  • Star Trek Online
  • Star Wars : The Old Republic
  • State of Decay
  • Station Launcher
  • Strider
  • Stronghold HD
  • Stronghold 2
  • Stronghold 3
  • Sugar Cube : Bittersweet Factory
  • System Shock 2
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Out of the Shadows
  • Tera
  • Terraria
  • The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2
  • The LEGO Movie
  • They Bleed Pixels
  • Thief (2014)
  • This War of Mine
  • Time Gentlemen, Please!
  • Titan Quest
  • Titan Quest : Immortal Throne
  • Titanfall
  • To End All Wars
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six : Vegas
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six : Vegas 2
  • Tomb Raider (2013)
  • Tomb Raider I
  • Tomb Raider II
  • Tomb Raider II : Adventures of Lara Croft
  • Tomb Raider : The Last Revelation
  • Tomb Raider : Chronicles
  • Tomb Raider : Anniversary
  • Tomb Raider : Legend
  • Tomb Raider : Underworld
  • Torchlight II
  • Toxikk
  • Train Simulator 2015
  • Trine : Enhanced Edition
  • Trine 2
  • Tropico 4
  • Ultima VII
  • Ultima VIII
  • The Ultimate Doom (steam ver)
  • Unreal
  • Unreal Tournament III : Black Edition
  • Unturned
  • Valiant Hearts : The Great War
  • Viscera Cleanup Detail : Shadow Warrior
  • Warface
  • Warframe
  • Warhammer 40,000 : Kill Team
  • Warhammer 40,000 : Space Marine
  • Warthunder
  • Wasteland 2
  • Watch Dogs
  • Watchmen : The End is Nigh
  • Wheelman
  • Wildstar
  • Wing Commander III
  • Wing Commander IV
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
  • The Witcher 2 : Assassin's Of Kings Enhanced Edition
  • The Witcher III
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order
  • Wolfenstein : The Old Blood
  • Woolfe : The Red Hood Diaries
  • World In Flames
  • World Of Warcraft
  • X-COM : Enemy Unknown
  • Ys VI : The Ark Of Napishtim
  • Zombie Driver HD

Other Apps or Misc.

Windows 10 Games Incompatibility List

  • Avengers Alliance
  • BigFishGames.com (Games are not playable due to activation errors)
  • Defense Grid : The Awakening
  • Grand Theft Auto (Original GTA. Steam version that came with bundle)
  • Metal of Honor : Airborne
  • Quake 3 Arena
  • Rift
  • Skiddy the Slippery Puzzle
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Stronghold HD
  • The Ultimate Doom (steam ver that plays in DosBox)
  • Unity Of Command

Don't want to wait? Here's how to get Windows 10 right now...

Not everyone has the patience to wait for the upgrade to come to them, and thankfully there's a way to force the update to work its magic right away. The folks over at Redmond Pie have written a guide on how to do so, so if you're feeling brave and want to dive straight into uncharted waters, we salute your bravery and wish you the best.

We hope you find the following guide useful, and we wish everyone who is upgrading to Windows 10 a smooth and pain-free transition! If you do made the switch, do let us know what you think of it, and if we’ve missed something you feel needs mentioning be sure to let us know in the comments!

Add a comment10 comments
ODB_69  Jul. 29, 2015 at 15:23

I'll hold fire for the time being but hopefully it will be better than Win 8.1 launch which messed up most of my library (though most steam games were ok, uplay was an utter PITA)

You would think they would work with steam and have a Win10 Compliant badge against stuff in your library for the push really

CarlPhillips  Jul. 29, 2015 at 15:31

You would think they would work with steam and have a Win10 Compliant badge against stuff in your library for the push really

I agree that it would be helpful, but at the same time Valve are not really going to want to advertise Win10 compatibility when they're going to want users to buy a Steam Box running on Linux. If early adoption numbers prove high (and the build is stable) then I can see that changing though, because money.

MacroPlanet  Jul. 29, 2015 at 18:05

This has to be one of the best detailed list prior to the Windows 10 launch ever. Thanks for the great information and the list of games.

ODB_69  Jul. 29, 2015 at 18:47

You would think they would work with steam and have a Win10 Compliant badge against stuff in your library for the push really

I agree that it would be helpful, but at the same time Valve are not really going to want to advertise Win10 compatibility when they're going to want users to buy a Steam Box running on Linux. If early adoption numbers prove high (and the build is stable) then I can see that changing though, because money.

I disagree tbh, SteamOS isn't a push on an OS, its a push to get more people into PC gaming (ergo buying games from Steam) therefore Win10 isn't an issue for them on the OS front (the store itself may be though) and as the win10 thing only affects 'proper' PC users its no conflict

phil16  Jul. 29, 2015 at 23:25

Just installing now on my laptop. PC tomorrow if all goes well. Never waited to upgrade since vista.

Late  Jul. 30, 2015 at 00:00

I'll upgrade once the pc prompts me to do so (it hasn't so far, I'm still in the queue). I'm in no real rush, so won't force the upgrade early.

donttouchthehair  Jul. 30, 2015 at 15:14

Any word on if Telltales' games run okay? Specifically, 'Game of Thrones' as the new episode is now out and wondered whether to play it before or after update. Cheers

CarlPhillips  Jul. 30, 2015 at 15:34

@Macroplanet: Thank you for the kind words, but I honestly cannot take all the credit! As I point out just above the list, most of the hard work was done over on the Microsoft Insider forums - I just organised the list in an easy-to-read manner (which took a lot longer than you might think!)

@donttouchthehair: I've had a quick look around and annoyingly it appears that Telltale's titles aren't working properly yet. I expect it will be addressed by both Telltale and MS ASAP purely because of the whole Continuum thing, but for now I'd suggest holding off the upgrade if you want to play GoT (the review for Ep4 will be out very soon, FYI!)

Late  Aug. 1, 2015 at 11:15

Why is nothing simple on computers...
Have googled my error code, and I see there's solutions. Will try them out when I get the chance.


Last edited by Late, Aug. 1, 2015 at 11:19
Late  Aug. 1, 2015 at 16:17

Am up and running. Had to delete the previously downloaded upgrade files. Once done it re-downloaded and installed fine.

So I've just tried streaming xbox games to pc...
Is the xbox not capable of displaying one thing whilst streaming something else?
I wanted to play an xbox one game on my pc while the wife's watching telly in the front room, but whenever I clicked on a game I brought it up on the tv as well as on my pc monitor.

Of course, I could plug my sky straight into the tv so the wife could watch it on a different input channel to the xbox but that defeats the point. I've always used the passthrough for my tv (sky) signal since I got the console.
Either Microsoft are now telling us we shouldn't use the hdmi passthrough, or I'm missing something obvious.
Hopefully (and most likely) it's the latter. Because the former is a quite a few steps past ridiculous.

Last edited by Late, Aug. 1, 2015 at 16:24

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