Windows10Pro_FOB_Boxshot_RGB[1]Windows 10 was released on July 29, 2015. Right now most business users are still running Windows 7 and Windows 8. Microsoft’s latest generation of Windows software – Windows 10 – is released and available, and free. This availability is provided as an upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines. Windows 10 is also shipping preinstalled with new machine purchases.

Beyond the desire to be bleeding-edge, there are good reasons to consider upgrading to Windows 10.  The user interface has been improved, moving beyond the frustrations many people have expressed with Windows 8. It provides a more seamless experience between workstations, laptops, tablets and phones. There are functionality and stability improvements, ensuring more capability and less frustration for the end user. Highlighted below are 5 features of Windows 10 along with i3's recommendation concerning when to upgrade.


1. ‘Free’ upgrade for a year

There is some fine print involved with this ‘free’ offering. If currently operating with Windows 7 or Windows 8, the Windows symbol (should be) located on the task bar allowing the user to reserve their free version of Windows 10. Be aware, however, there have been emails sent out claiming to have a copy of the version of the operating system. The email, if opened and attachments downloaded, the malware will freeze the data on the computer. In order to unlock the data, payment is demanded. i3’s advice: To be safe, simply avoid and delete those types of emails right away, especially if they contain attachments. When the switch to Windows 10 is made - it is important to remember that Windows 10 is built for the future. They have created it in such a way that it will be functional for a long time across multiple devices. It is the operating system of the future.


2.    Universal between multiple screens and devices

…a necessity as technology marches on. Tablets and mobile devices are becoming more popular and growing a larger user base. With this in mind, Microsoft developed Windows 10 accordingly. Programs can be open in one device and then seamlessly switch to another. For example, when the keyboard is disconnected from a tablet, Continuum prompts the user to clarify if they have switched to tablet. Thus allowing the user to effortlessly switch from keyboard to tablet mode.


3.    Windows 10: Customized to the User

Windows 8 taught Microsoft an important lesson: don’t ask for feedback unless you are willing to listen and change as necessary. Once the test version, the Windows Insider program, was released they invited people to try it and give the Microsoft team their feedback. Throughout the testing lifetime of Windows 10, there have been conversations with users in hopes of creating a more positive and user friendly experience with Windows 10. To enhance that experience, meet Cortana, a personal digital assistant available at the touch of a button. Previously, she was only available on the Windows phone, but now is included in Windows 10. To better assist the user, she has her own notebook where information about habits and usual routine are stored. The user will now be able to set alarms, calendar appointments and reminders all without lifting a finger. Just tell Cortana what it is you need and she will make it happen.


4.    Better and more Apps 

With the improved Windows App Store, users can purchase one app on one device and it will then be available on all devices equipped with Windows 10. Microsoft is revamping the Windows Store in hopes of bringing in more popular and worth-while apps all while creating a user-friendly experience. This includes pricing the apps correctly, having the right apps, and relevant content/apps for the user. A major component of improving the user’s experience is improving the internet browsing. Microsoft Edge, or Project Spartan, offers a new internet browsing experience. This features collapsible tabs, reading mode, Cortana, and an interactive way to edit. Users can make notes on the internet page and send the picture of the page to others. Cortana is incorporated into the browser to answer any questions as the user browses the internet.


5.    Similar to 7 but better than 8

When Windows 8 was released, several users who were accustomed to Windows 7 were confused because Windows 8 operated very differently. Windows 10 is going to look very similar to Windows 7 but with increased functionality. Multitasking will be made easier as the user will be able to have a maximum of 4 windows at the same time. The familiar yet updated start menu is back! Rather than opening a different window, the start menu will be located on the desktop. It features live tiles that communicate details about the weather and stock market. To stay organized, the user can group the start menu into categories such as most used, recently used, work, and entertainment.


Should my business upgrade to Windows 10?

i3 recommends caution with Windows 10, particularly in production environments. While the hardware specs are similar to Windows 8 (most users will not need to purchase new hardware in order to run it), there are other considerations you need to be aware of, starting with the two most important drivers:

Service packs and patches: Windows 10 is released to production, but this new operating system is still first-generation. Meaning it’s buggier and less refined than the older but more mature Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems. A good rule of thumb is to “Wait for Service Pack 1”. The first service pack of a Windows OS is generally Microsoft’s first significant effort to deal with all the issues that arise after the OS is released to the world. Service Pack 1 is often a better guarantee of a better performing and compatible environment. i3 recommends waiting for Windows 10 SP1 before committing to this new OS.


Business application compatibility: While Microsoft has worked to ensure this new operating system works with other non-Microsoft apps, that’s not a guarantee and is rarely the case. Your line of business applications may not work with Windows 10. Same goes for printers, scanners and other critical hardware. The fix for this is generally to wait – as a new OS saturates the market, hardware vendors and application developers need to play catch-up with their own products. Look for “compatible with Windows 10” guarantees. i3 strongly recommends compatibility verification and testing for any business critical aspect of your IT environment, before moving to Windows 10.


Windows 10 will become widely adopted. The upgrade is free, and most businesses will eventually need to move to Windows 10 as they phase out older hardware. i3 technicians are already running Windows 10, in order to learn everything on your behalf – from features to techniques to bugs and quirks, we’ve got that detail. i3 is ready and able to provide migration services when your business needs it.


For more information, contact your i3 VCIO or see Microsoft’s Frequently Asked Questions about Windows 10.


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