Windows 10: To upgrade or not, that is the question

Eric Olmstead

On Wednesday July 29, Windows 10 will be released. If you are running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free with a simple click on an icon on your desktop. The question is, should you upgrade or wait?

At On Line Support, we have been running Windows 10 from the first day of the insider release. We have had a chance to experience the good, the bad and the incompatible. In our opinion, Windows 10 is more intuitive to use than Windows 8 or 8.1, which will ease the transition for your employees into the new operating system.

Windows 10 has some great new features that will be helpful in your business and at home. The first is the start menu is back and looks better than ever. The new start menu is an integration of the start menu from Window 7 and the tiles from Windows 8. Not to be out done by Apple’s Siri, Microsoft has added a personal digital assistant named Cortana. Cortana is amazingly easy to use and a fun new way to communicate with your desktop, tablet or Windows phone. Security has been greatly enhanced. The old user name and password is being augmented by two-factor authentication and facial recognition. If you are running one of the new convertible tablet/laptop devices, Continuum mode allows you to switch easily between working as a laptop verses working as a tablet.

There are some reasons to wait a few months before upgrading to Windows 10. Not all software will be compatible with Windows 10 when it is released. Check with your line of business application, your antivirus vendor or any critical software vendor to make sure that the version you are using is compatible with Windows 10. The upgrade may not be reversible. If you find that a critical application is not yet compatible with Windows 10, you may need to reload your computer from scratch. This is not easy if you did not receive media with your computer or have misplaced it. We have seen several cases where antivirus software needed to be removed before an upgrade was successful.

Microsoft has done a great job of making Windows 10 backward compatible with older hardware. That being said, if your computer was manufactured before 2010 it should be replaced not upgraded. If your current computer has pre-existing conditions, you may want to install a fresh load of Windows 10 on a new hard drive instead of an in-place upgrade. This new hard drive could either be a traditional spinning hard drive or a super-fast solid state drive.

Once you have upgraded, your computer will automatically update, and unless you have a computer joined to a server domain, you will not be able to stop the updates. This is a double-edge sword as it is always good for security to have the most patched system, but bad for compatibility as no software vendor has been flawless with their patches.

Don’t forget the user; change is difficult for all of us. Intuitive as Windows 10 is, some simple short videos on the Internet will help your company transition to Windows 10.

Technology is my passion. Next time you see me at an event around town, ask me about Windows 10. Let’s talk about when the best time for you to upgrade your technology is.

This week’s Tip of the Week was written by Eric Olmsted, president at On Line Support, a Vancouver area firm providing computer network, Internet and technology consulting to a wide variety of clients in the Northwest. He can be reached at Eric@on-line-support.com.

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