Windows 10 – Should you Upgrade?

As you may be aware, Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, has been a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users since its launch last year. Microsoft is aiming for one billion devices to run Windows 10 in the next two years, and they will start charging for this operating system at the end of July.

Windows 7 has certainly been very popular for many years and has proven to be one of Microsoft’s best ever operating systems. It will also be given extended support by Microsoft until 2020, meaning that security updates will still be provided until then.

It is worth mentioning that if you are a user in a business, school or charity, you will most probably be part of an IT network domain and your IT administrator will have prevented Windows 10 from installing on your machine. If you are in charge of your organisation’s IT policy though, or if you have your own PC at home, the following information may help you make a decision.

Before upgrading there are certain things to consider:

  • Will you actually need any of the new features?  Most users may find that Windows 7 does everything they need it to! We have given details of some new features later in this blog, but will you need them?
  • Hardware – is your laptop or PC compatible with Windows 10?  You might upgrade only to find out that there is no driver support for your hardware, which could mean your display, sound, trackpad, webcam or other device may not work. You also need to check compatibility for any devices plugged into the PC too, such as printers or scanners, as these may not work either.
  • Will 3rd party software work?  Are you a business or home user that has one or more 3rd party pieces of software? If so, check compatibility before upgrading to Windows 10 as you may find it crashes or may not even work at all.

If you have checked all of the above and have decided to opt for Windows 10 after all, we have highlighted a few new features that may be useful.

  • Performance benefits  Windows 10 has been designed to boot up as quickly as possible, and to run as quickly as possible on all devices. This means that even some machines that are several years old can be given a new lease of life.
  • Enhanced security  Microsoft is upping its security game in Windows 10 with a few new features designed to protect users by keeping their devices and data safe. Among these is Windows Hello, an authentication feature that will eliminate the need for traditional passwords. The system uses a biometric scanner to read its user’s fingerprint, face or iris, and log in to applications and content without storing a password on the device or network server.

    The new Passport feature allows users to enter websites, networks and apps without passwords. They simply confirm with Windows 10 that they are in possession of their device via biometric scan in order to automatically access a variety of services and websites like email, social networks and e-commerce pages. The Passport system works alongside Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory Services and stores each user’s biometric information locally on the device.

    A new Device Guard feature aims to abolish zero-day attacks by scanning apps and blocking those that have not been signed by the Windows app store, specific software vendors and the enterprise. If an app is deemed a threat, Microsoft sends a notification to the user. Companies including Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo and Fujitsu have partnered with Microsoft to implement Device Guard on their Windows products.

  • Collaboration  Windows 10 has been designed to take advantage of the new features in Office 2016 by allowing cross device continuity (allowing the editing of files quickly and easily with your smartphone or tablet).

    SSO (single sign on) allows you to safely and securely sign in to every Microsoft application within seconds with just one username and password. Two people can even work on the same Office document simultaneously, with live annotated changes.

    Do you have a WiDi/Miracast compatible laptop and Smart TV? If so, you may not realise that you can beam your laptop’s display directly to the TV without any wires! This works as if you have plugged an HDMI cable directly into the TV, so both video and audio is transmitted. Imagine being able to display a presentation in a meeting on a large screen without even needing to plug in a cable. Windows 10 makes this very quick and easy to do.

  • Usability  Windows 10 has been designed to be very user friendly and even has the familiar ‘Start Menu’ which was one of the popular features of previous generations of Windows. This was one of the main reasons Windows 8 was so unpopular, but you will be pleased to hear that the Start Menu is back in Windows 10, and even incorporates a small ‘Metro’ style panel with popular apps and news updates.

    If you are familiar with Apple’s Siri or Google Now search assistants, you may also enjoy Cortana, which is Microsoft’s equivalent. Cortana is intelligent and will adapt as she gets used to your information requirements. She will also pick out meetings from your email trails and even remind you when to attend, acting as your very own personal assistant.

Some of the new features of Windows 10 have raised concerns about the amount of personal data that is being gathered and sent to Microsoft but there are privacy settings that can be changed to limit this happening. Your IT security is a major focus for Vantage IT, so we would change these settings to ensure your data is kept as safe as possible.

If you would like Vantage IT to assess your existing systems for Windows 10 compatibility and to carry out any upgrades, please call us today on 01296 668966 or email sales@vantageit.co.uk