For nearly 30 years, Microsoft Windows has been the go-to operating system for business and consumer computing. And now, in the latest chapter of the Microsoft narrative we have welcomed the arrival of Windows 10. At least, some of us have welcomed it. For others, the jury’s still out.
The Windows 10 upgrade question is causing a dilemma for some companies – and you can see why. Its predecessor, Windows 8, was a bit of a disaster and Microsoft has clearly worked hard to right some of those wrongs. This new OS, Microsoft hopes, will restore the credibility it has lost with businesses.
Windows 10 aims to create a unified experience across multiple devices. In it we see a return of the Start menu, and it boasts an impressive array of security and management tools. Sounds pretty good on paper, and Microsoft is aiming for one billion devices running on Windows 10 within two to three years. But is it right for your business?
Let us take you through some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with a Windows 10 upgrade or migration.
What are the advantages of Windows 10?
1. Improved security
The biggest news for IT staff is the greatly enhanced security tools offered by Windows 10. It’s the most secure Windows to date. Biometric authentication, enterprise data protection (EDP) offering complete control over data across any type of device, and better defences against Advanced Persistent Threats are all included as standard. Microsoft has also done away with Internet Explorer (and its persistent security flaws) in favour of its new browser, Edge.
2. Better management tools
New identity management capabilities mean there is less reliance on additional passwords when moving between desktop accounts and cloud services.
Another thumbs up from an IT perspective is Windows 10’s enhanced mobile device management capacity, integrating the management of BYOD with corporate-owned devices. Microsoft have also assured us of support for: “Enterprise Data Protection policies, support for managing multiple users, full control over the Windows Store, VPN configuration, [and] full device wipe capabilities.”
3. Updates and upgrades
If you want a supported Windows, your only option is Windows 10. It’s Microsoft’s main focus and they have made it crystal clear that Windows 10 will be the last numbered base version of Windows. This means that Windows 10 simply won’t take no for an answer when it comes to updates. More akin to Apple’s OS X, updates will roll-out continually over time so that Windows 10 becomes a service platform rather than a stand-alone piece of software. This also means you’ll never pay for a Windows licence again.
4. It’s free (for now)
You had to pay for previous version upgrades of Windows, but Windows 10 is being offered for free. That is, free to users of Windows 7 or Windows 8. This free upgrade is valid for 12 months, after which there will be a charge.
5. A fully integrated Windows ecosystem
Microsoft’s vision is that the Windows 10 user experience will be the same on phones and tablets as it is on PCs. This means that the process of switching from one device to another will be even more streamlined than before.
What are the disadvantages of Windows 10?
1. It’s those updates, again
We’ve already cited Microsoft’s rapid updates as a benefit, but they also bring with them a downside: a user’s PC could work differently from one day to the next. The continuous schedule of updates may cause frustration for some users. However, from a business perspective the Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise editions allow you to schedule updates to suit your needs.
2. Potential bugs
It is often the case that release versions of software are littered with bugs. To avoid the inconvenience of this, it might be worth delaying your upgrade to a later date (at which point hopefully all those unwanted kinks will have been ironed out). But don’t wait too long – if PCs are multiple versions out of date they won’t support new hardware or software features.
3. Unfinished business
It feels like some of the work started with Windows 8 has been put on hold and left for a later date. By way of example, the new settings interface doesn’t completely replace the previous control panel interface, meaning power users need to use both. Plus, the new printer interface in Windows 10’s settings also fails to deliver as users are unable to manage printers through it.
4. Missing features
If you or your colleagues enjoy the odd game of Solitaire or Minesweeper over lunch be warned – classic games are no longer standard on Windows 10. Other functionality that hasn’t made the Windows 10 grade includes Windows Media Center, desktop gadgets, DVD playback, and floppy drive support. All relatively minor, we think you’ll agree.
5. Ease of use
Windows 7 was so ubiquitous that it would have been nigh on impossible for Microsoft to create a more intuitive OS. However, users can take comfort in the fact that Windows 10 is infinitely more intuitive than its predecessor, Windows 8. Even if that’s not saying much…
Are you ready?
Windows 10 is more than just a new version of Microsoft’s OS, it signals a new start for Windows’ functionality. It is intuitive and simple to use, as well as being innovative and addressing new ideas. However, Windows 10 also presents some major changes for the user, so make sure you have taken the time to consider all your options before taking the plunge.
Read our related blog: Should your business go Agile?