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September 25, 2015
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The Good, The Bad and The Buggy – 5 Pros and 5 Cons for Windows 10

There are a lot of questions floating around about Microsoft’s latest (and last) Operating System (OS).

There’s just as much ‘for’ debate going on as there is ‘against’, however, this is the last version of Windows and will only be furthered with regular updates.

In this post I will tell you what you need to consider around Windows 10 so you can make an informed decision.

The Windows 10 will be similar except instead of receiving a fine you’ll just be left feeling incompatible with the rest of the Windows-using society if you don’t upgrade. Unlike laws though, you actually have a choice, at least for now, about whether you want to stick with what you know or take the plunge.

As with any significant IT change, before you take the plunge, Human IT recommends that a Project Methodology be followed to; evaluate Windows 10; determine the advantages of upgrading for your organisation; test all your applications to ensure compatibility; develop a “standard” configuration to rollout; and produce a project plan to ensure the rollout is smooth. Taking the plunge without going through a formal upgrade process is fraught with danger, and is likely to result in a significant disruption to your business. We will working with many of our clients through such a process shortly, so if you’d like to be involved please let us know.

For now however, I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight some of the Pros and Cons of Windows 10.

Let’s start with the Pros.

  1. It’s free.

Well, for people who purchased retail or OEM licenses, and only for a while. There has yet to be any official announcement around when it will become a paid-for product. If you’re currently operating a retail license of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 it’s available right now.

Bear in mind that if you are a small business running multiple retail versions of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 whilst the software to upgrade to Windows 10 may be free, the process to evaluate, test, and rollout the upgrade will require investment.

For business licensed through a Microsoft licensing agreement you need to purchase the upgrade.

  1. It’s easier to navigate.

Easier than Windows 8 anyway – which left many users frustrated by the counter-intuitive interface and pining for the return of the start menu. Windows 10 restores the start button and has already been highly complimented on streamline design. Also there is Cortana (Not available in Australia yet), she is Microsoft’s version of Siri a digital assistant that sets calendar reminders, searches the net and generally chats to you. Cortana is geeking-ly named after the Artificial Intelligence character in Microsoft’s successful video game franchise – HALO.

  1. Unified Application Development

Because Windows 10 will be the last OS Microsoft pushes out it is going to be a lot easier to work with. Once everyone is on Windows 10 it will be seamlessly compatible and no longer need to worry about entirely different versions interfering. It will just be straightforward updates from now on, which is a good reason to get on board.

  1. Security

This one may not apply until a few years down the track – but right now, very few viruses and malware that can infect Windows 10 exist. The big change that will boost PC security worldwide though? Internet Explorer is no longer the default browser. This alone will improve general security of Windows more than other software program.

  1. Built for the future

It doesn’t matter if you’re an early adopter or a Johnny Come Lately. This is it. Windows 10 is ‘the last version of Windows’. You’ll see Microsoft updating the product routinely – turning it more into Windows as a Service. It will continue to evolve and grow as the years go on.

All well and good – but let’s not forget about the Cons.

  1. Troubleshooting

As it’s such a new service, there are plenty of unanswered questions floating around. Bearing in mind this does always seem to happen when a new version is released, slight hiccups that can and will be smoothed out in a few years. But as an early adopter you will be in the dark for little while when trying to get questions answered or problems fixed until everyone catches up.

  1. Backward Compatibility

Put simply: The applications your business uses everyday may not work with Windows 10. Director for Technical Services at Citrix (link) suggested that businesses should ensure their core applications and data are supported and available on Windows 10 before upgrading. Microsoft have stated that if it works on Windows 7 – it’ll work on Windows 10. If you’re running an older application that was written for Windows XP – that won’t run. But you should definitely think about upgrading your software if it’s a decade old.

  1. Forced updates

While this may be a pro for some (who forever hit ‘Remind me later’ on updates), this is a con due to the element of control it takes away from the end user. You can no longer decide that an update isn’t right for you and forego installation. No – that update is happening whether you like it or not. However – this only applies to Home users. You can take back some of that control with the Pro or Enterprise packages.

  1. Hardware Incompatibility

We’ve seen complaints flying through the web around printers not recognising machines running Windows 10, AMD graphics cards and some CPU models not responding. You need to do your homework before upgrading to make sure you won’t be left with an expensive paperweight. This also comes back to being left in the dark when in comes to troubleshooting.

  1. Privacy Concerns

Windows 8 unashamedly monitors where you go online with an “AdvertisingID” and this ‘feature’ isn’t going anywhere. The default setting allows Windows 10 to keep your email on file and they will tailor advertisements to your through your internet browser. This isn’t a new thing consumers are dealing with – tracking cookies enabling targeted advertising has been around for some time now. The biggest worry, however, is Microsoft’s policy on disclosing or sharing your personal information. The following is an excerpt from the privacy policy:

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.”

Basically, it’s a little vague on what they can and can’t do with your personal information; however there are ways to protect yourself, this article gives some practical solutions.

As is the case for many of our clients the decision to upgrade to Windows 10 (or not) will likely be determined as part of the annual IT Roadmap & Planning service we provide for you. However, if you’re thinking about evaluating Windows 10 prior to then give us a call and we can guide you through the process.

IT Support IT Solutions Melbourne