Windows 10: Jump or Wait?Windows 10: Jump or Wait?
Enterprise customers will likely wait until fall, but you’re sure to be asked that question.
July 29, 2015
Wily IT pros know: You never move to a new OS until after the first service pack. It’s just not worth the agita. Microsoft is hoping we throw that golden rule out the window for Windows 10, saying it’s stable and ready for prime time. Expect an all-out blitz from Redmond starting today, pushing customer end users – and the loved ones you support on a personal level – to upgrade to the free Home or Pro version (Windows Enterprise may be free depending on SA level).
The campaign will be wide, forceful and come in three waves. First, launch events this week and promotions in mainstream media are aimed at moving qualifying Windows 7 and 8 (and older) consumer PCs to Windows 10. Expect a push for enterprise upgrades this fall, when new security and management features arrive, followed by deals with retailers, OEMs and a big ad blitz toward year’s end to capture holiday spending and use-it-or-lose-it IT budget dollars.
So what’s your advice going to be right now? Let’s consider three angles that matter to individual users.
Integration of desktops with mobile devices and Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud: The death of the PC has been exaggerated. Yes, quarterly shipments of mobile devices are dwarfing new PC sales, but that’s largely because companies and consumers keep laptops longer than phones. And, Windows is out of the mobile game after selling Nokia anyway, right? The hardware isn’t the point. Neither is the mobile platform, really. It’s the data and apps.
Those whose digital files, email, music and photos are in Google’s or Apple’s ecosystems have less incentive to upgrade. For Office 365, OneDrive and Outlook users, it may be worthwhile. Win10 is intended to let people start tasks on the desktop then jump to a mobile device or a different PC — or from keyboard to tablet mode on a single device using the Continuum feature. This flexibility will be useful for individuals and businesses. Say a customer is working on a sales proposal; maybe an admin at the main office opens a PowerPoint template, links it to a pricing or inventory Excel spreadsheet, then stores it in the Windows cloud for offsite sales teams to download and customize. At Build, Microsoft announced a set of software development kits (SDKs) to help developers bring code written for the Web, .Net, Win32, Android and even iOS to Windows 10 and the Windows Store with few modifications.
Decision: Windows and Office suite users who want to work across multiple devices will like Win10.
Security: With Windows 10, Microsoft makes some real advances in security, including native fingerprint, face and iris recognition for two-factor authentication via Microsoft Hello (with appropriate biometric hardware support) as well as a reportedly more secure Edge browser. The new Device Guard feature blocks anything other than trusted apps — those that are signed by specific software vendors, the Windows Store, or an enterprise app store. (Device Guard’s trustworthy settings are customizable.) Automatic updates are a great idea; patching is a top security best practice that’s woefully neglected by most end users. However, as with any major new OS, Win10 is also very likely to introduce unforeseen problems, such as automatic Wi-Fi password sharing (yes, really).
Decision: The jury is still out, but overall I see a net security gain, even if only via auto-updates. Additional security features are in the offing.
Quality of the software: Mashable has compiled a handy chart of dozens of comprehensive Win 10 reviews, from Ars Technica to ZDNet. The consensus is positive.
Decision: It can’t possibly be worse than Windows 8. Windows 7 is heading for end of support. So for committed Windows users, the answer is somewhat moot.
Microsoft’s decision to give away consumer versions of Windows 10 was somewhat controversial, but it’s the only way CEO Satya Nadella can hope to achieve his goal of 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in three years. Don’t expect any letup in the upgrade push.
Follow editor in chief @LornaGarey on Twitter.
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