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Windows 10 Has Arrived

Windows 10 Actually Does What Windows 8 Was Supposed To, But Should You Upgrade?

At midnight, the Windows 10 upgrade was released in 190 countries, and as of this morning, millions of people are already using it.   If you weren’t one of the pre-registered users who made the switch last night, you might be wondering if you should upgrade.

At HTE, we love technology and are always excited when new features are introduced, but we also remain cautiously optimistic.  New software, whether it is an operating system, or a home automation upgrade, is never perfect.  We like to err on the side of caution, allow others to be the guinea pigs until all the kinks are worked out, and then, if we feel the update adds value, we recommend it to our clients.

With that said, we want to demystify the hype and inform you about the awaited operating system that took three years to come to fruition.

The most important thing to know about Windows 10 is that it works, but…

While this may seem like a ridiculous point to make, those of us who have suffered through Windows 8 or even worse Vista, know that this isn’t a given.  Releasing glitch updates isn’t confined to Microsoft, we’ve all been un-pleasantly surprised by iOS or Android “updates” that crashed more often than a test dummy.

So yes, Windows 10 runs the way you would expect it to.  (Note: Early beta versions were unstable, so when reading other reviews check the published date.) It’s actually faster than any of their past operating systems.  It also the most secure of all the Windows.

With this said, three days ago Microsoft released KB3074681, which was classified as a security update, (remember unlike previous versions all updates are pushed) and crashing the systems of millions of Beta users. What could they do about it?  Nothing!  Only Microsoft Gods can undo their sins by pushing a new download. Users cannot uninstall a previous updates. 

Proving that our fears are legitimate: at any time an update could cause an internal OS issue or decide not to play well with other software and/or hardware and there is nothing you can do about it.

Cost

When Microsoft announced that Windows 7 users and Windows 8 users could update to Windows 10 for the first year for free (enterprise versions excluded) and that would be supported for its lifetime (at least 10 years), many believed the new operating system was evolving into a software as a service (SaaS) model such as Office 365.  Microsoft then released upgrade prices, explaining that if qualified users did not upgrade within the first year, the upgrade would cost $199 for Window 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.  It will cost Windows 7 users $119 to upgrade to Windows 10 Home, but once that is run an additional $99 upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is required, costing a total of $218. 

"The Last Windows"

Much like after the iPad 2 Apple stopped numbering the tablets, the same is being done with the Windows name.  Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be referred to simply as “Windows”. Although not being billed as a SaaS, Windows will operate like one.  There will be continuous forced updates containing both fixes and new features.

Quick Review

Pros

  • It runs faster and is more secure than previous Windows versions.
  • It works well with both traditional computers and touch screen computers and devices.
  • Combines simplicity of Windows 7 with functionality of Windows 8 (minus the design flaws).
  • There are many useful new features such as a window snap, action planner, and Cortana
  • If you upgrade within the year, it is free.

Cons

  • At any time a forced update could create complete chaos and there is nothing you can do to correct it.
  • While it is a significantly easier transition than going to Windows 8, for users familiar with Windows 7, some learning is required.

The Basics

Windows 10 meets its overall objectives, it works well on both traditional computers as well as touch screen computers and devices allowing Microsoft to redeem itself from the failure know as Windows 8.

The OS is clean, intuitive, and while there are some new features to explore, it is much easier to learn that Windows 8.  Don’t worry the start button that we all know, love, and have come to depend on since Windows 95 is back!  The tiled menu from Windows 8 hasn’t disappeared, it is just takes up less real-estate, residing next to the traditional info that appears when clicking the start button.

Additionally, Continuum, allows the operating system to adjust to your device to make it as user friendly as possible.  So for example if you remove the keyboard from the Surface Pro, it will switch to a more touch screen oriented display. While Microsoft software works well with its hardware (Surface Pro), it’s not perfect with other brands of convertible laptops.

The Big New Highlights

Task View & Virtual Desktops

Task View is reminiscent of a feature Apple has had for years.  Simply click an icon to see all the windows you have open. Virtual Desktops allow you to have a completely separate desktop, a good way to segregate information.

Window Snap

4 Pane Window Snap allows you easily keep up to 4 different windows open on a single monitor.  This is especially useful for tablets where a second monitor is impractical.

windows 10 snap.png

Action Center

Action Center fills a need we’ve become dependent on with our mobile devices, and is nice to have on a desktop, or laptop as well. The icon located in the lower right corner allows for quick access to settings, notifications power saver mode, blue tooth, airplane mode, notes, and more.

Hello's Bio Recognition

Facial recognition is a small, but exciting feature for all of you who hate passwords. Windows 10 also embrace iris and finger print scans.

Cortana

Cortana, Microsoft’s version of Siri/Google now has been added, which will be a new feature for desktop users.  While the voice recognition requires training, there is an option to type questions and requests.

Edge

We’re all about integration at HTE so we’re happy to see how well Cortana integrates with Edge, Microsoft’s new browser.  (R.I.P. Internet Explorer)  Edge is much faster that IE and holds its own compared to Mozilla and Chrome.

Screen Shot

Another goodie, which may or may not come in useful is the ability to annotate screen shots.  While this has endless applications for work, I probably use it the most when sharing memes that are only funny because they’re true.  

Other Apps

There are additional apps that come in handy and perform better than expected, such as the apps for mail, photos, and maps.  In some cases Microsoft “out Appled Apple” when creating the new OS and pre-installed apps. Everything is clean and intuitive as possible.

Conclusion

If you are running Windows 10 upgrade now! 

If you are still on 7, it makes sense to make the jump sometime this year so you won’t have to pay for a new OS that you will be forced to use in 2-3 years anyway. (Unless you plan on switching to Mac or have the know-how to properly navigate Linux.)  Yes, at any time Microsoft could push an update that simultaneously crashes the systems of billions of clients creating a real life action flick plot, but at least you won’t be alone.

At HTE, we’re going to wait until all the bugs are fixes and we know things are running smoothly before we switch all of our computers over.