UK: Windows 10 Upgrade – Am I Bovvered?

Last Updated: 28 July 2015
Article by Gavin Davis

If you are a Windows 7 or 8.1 user you may have noticed a new icon appearing in the Windows System tray on your desktop in the past few weeks (normally in the bottom right corner of your screen **). If you click on the icon then you are taken to a page that allows you to pre-register for Windows 10. Yes, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 to the world on July 29th and for the first time in its history it will be a free upgrade for most users. But should you be tempted to upgrade your personal or corporate PCs?

When Windows 8 was first released we advised people to delay the upgrade since Windows 8 was seen as a significant change in the way users were expected to navigate around the operating system. This would take some time to get use to so, in a business environment, training would be required. In an attempt to please users who were being tempted away by touch screens such as Apple iPad's, Microsoft replaced the START button with a tiled interface which would be more user friendly for those using touch screens. Unfortunately for Microsoft, this change was not particularly well received and a few months later Windows 8.1 was released and the START button was back. This went someway to pleasing the "die hard" users but Windows 8.1 was still significantly different to Windows 7 and a few generation before it.

Although Windows 8.1 has proved to be a reliable operating system, the slow take-up of touch screen technology on PC's, and the necessity to learn a new way of navigating the operating system, has taken its toll on Microsoft so they have had to seriously rethink their desktop strategy. The result of which is Windows 10 and, to ensure they keep user interested, it will be free to upgrade.

Microsoft have a history of releasing less than perfect operating systems once in a while. Remember Windows ME and Vista? If trend is anything to go by then Windows 10 should be the one to watch.

Windows 10 has been designed to work with both standard and touch screen monitors. If you prefer the traditional START menu then that has made a welcome return. The tiled desktop interface is also still there but is largely hidden away, unless you have a touch screen.

So, should you install the free upgrade? Well, if it is on your home PC then it will provide a nice new interface and a few extra functions. In a business environment you should be more cautious. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the things you should consider before making the switch:

  • Is your hardware compatible? Most PC's designed for Windows 7 and 8.1 should be OK but there are always exceptions. Already we have seen vendor specific drivers that are not compatible with Windows 10.
  • Will all of your applications still work? If you are using Microsoft Office then you should be fine but check with the vendors of other applications, and ask them about their plans to support it. The internet browser in Windows 10 has been completely re-written so if you currently use Windows Explorer for any applications then do check they will work with the new version.
  • Consider the lost time while the upgrade is installed and for the users to get familiar with it.
  • It is has always been advisable to wait until the first service pack has been released. This will ensure that any major bugs have been rectified before you stumble across them.
  • Do you really need to upgrade. If you are on Window 7 then Microsoft will continue to provide security updates until 2020 so you shouldn't be at risk if you continue to use it.

Whatever you decide to do, it would be prudent to discuss your plans with your IT support organisations or BDO who would be happy to provide impartial advice.

Finally, what happened to Windows 9? Microsoft hasn't officially stated why they jumped to Window 10. Some say it is because 9 is considered unlucky in Japan. Others suggest that it could become confusing having already had Windows 95 and 98 previously.

** If you don't have the icon then your version/licence may not entitle you to the free upgrade. Some user may not see the icon until the 29July.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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