CMI Blog

Windows 10 Is Here - This is What Your Business Needs to Know

Windows 10 FotorMicrosoft’s latest PC operating system arrived with fanfare last week, and so far has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.  As Sophie Curis at the Telegraph wrote in her latest review:

What I can confidently say about Windows 10 is that it makes sense. These days, technology should be intuitive enough that you can just pick it up and use it without any instructions or guidance, and Windows 10 just about achieves that, which – given the carcrash that was Windows 8 – is high praise indeed.

But is it ready for your business? Let’s take a look at a few key questions and find out...

Is Windows 10 Free?

It is important to understand how Microsoft is handling the licensing / upgrade model. This has caused a lot of confusion over the past few months.

If you are running a legitimate copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8, it is likely that you are eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. There are a few requirements however:

  • If you have Windows 7, you need to be updated to Service Pack 1
  • If you have Windows 8, you need to be updated to Windows 8.1
  • Your version of Windows needs to be a registered copy
  • Windows 7 and 8 Enterprise are NOT eligible for the free upgrade
  • Windows RT is not eligible for the free upgrade
  • You have one year from July 29th, 2015 to get your free update to Windows 10

In short, most Windows 7 and 8.1 users will be able to upgrade their operating system to Windows 10 for free, so long as they do it within the next year.  

So what is new in Windows 10?

The Slickest Windows Experience Yet

Since a lot of people didn’t like some of the changes made in Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft toned down a few things in the latest version. The Metro Live tile interface that received a lot of flack has returned, but it is less intrusive. Unless you are using a tablet-like device, or you want it front and center, the brightly-colored tiles stay tucked away.

Cortana

Microsoft’s answer to Siri, Cortana, is integrated within Windows 10. Cortana brings voice search capabilities to Windows in much the same way Siri does for the iPhone. She can help search for files, open applications, and search Bing. We view this as a positive step because we think voice technology will only become increasingly more popular and more accurate.

That said, we don’t foresee many people talking into their PC’s microphone the way they might on their mobile device. Also, Android users will immediately feel out of place without any integration with Google. As you might expect, Microsoft’s Cortana is solely partnered with Microsoft Bing for web searches. It isn't a terrible interface, but most users are going to feel a little odd not having the choice.

Asking Cortana to “sing a song” almost makes up for this shortcoming though (give it a try!). 

Lots of Little Tweaks

There are new keyboard shortcuts, better window controls, improved notifications and many other little improvements. Most users probably won’t notice the majority of these changes, but if you are keen to get the most out of the system, they are worth exploring. One of the most interesting is virtual desktops, which allow you to spread your work across multiple desktops - which you can cycle through quickly.

The New Browser

Microsoft Edge, the long awaited replacement for Internet Explorer, is a huge improvement. The browser is faster, more secure, and has a lot of modern features reminiscent of smartphone browsers. It is easy to share information, take notes, and access to relevant information on your search topic. We don't think Edge will convert very loyal Chrome users, but it should improve the experience of users who use whatever browser the operating system gives them. One cool thing to note is that you can take notes and draw on web pages for future reference.

Tighter Integrations with Office 365

This is where things start to get really interesting. It is easier than ever to work on, collaborate, and share Office 365 documents in Windows 10. Your Office 365 files sync seamlessly, making Windows 10 ideal for Office 365 users. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more information as we dive into this deeper over the next several weeks.

Windows 10 is Fast

Typically with every new Microsoft operating system, the hardware requirements go up. More capable operating systems require better hardware to run on, so some older systems don’t handle the upgrades well. But with Windows 10, the system requirements are extremely low. You probably can’t get away with running Windows 10 on a decade-old PC, but a laptop that wasn’t handling Windows 8 all that well might get a second life with Windows 10.

Sounds Great! Should I Upgrade Today?

For many users, upgrading to Windows 10 is going to be relatively painless. However most businesses will want to consult an IT expert before upgrading. It is not that the upgrade process is difficult (Microsoft has made it fairly simple), but it is entirely possible that a problem will arise within the rest of your IT environment.

 For example, what applications are you using? Are they compatible with Windows 10? What about all of your hardware? There are a lot of complicated (and not-so-complicated) questions to ask yourself before you upgrade. BTA's engineers will be able to provide answers to these questions, ensuring that upgrading away from your current OS is indeed the best strategy for your company.

Contact us today and let one of our skilled IT experts determine how smooth a Windows 10 transition will be. Give us a call at 0208 875 7676.

 

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Scott Bartlett

Scott is BTA's founding partner and resident IT Networking Wizard.