By Terry Rogers
Whenever a software company issues an upgrade, many users wonder if they should immediately download the upgrade or wait until some of the bugs that occur in every new program are worked out. This is the case with Windows 10, which Microsoft is offering as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users until July 29, 2016.
According to Bryan Eshelman, IT Technician of Response Computer Group, Windows 10 is the latest in a long line of Windows releases that began for home use with Windows 95. Although Microsoft made incremental improvements with Windows 98 and Windows ME, it kept those products separate from the business version of Windows. It was not until 2001 that the company combined the consumer and business versions of Windows with Windows XP. That program was replaced with Windows Vista and new versions followed every three years with Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, until the release of Windows 10.
“Each new release of Windows has included support for new hardware, new security features, new user tools and other improvements,” Mr. Eshelman said. “Unfortunately, each new release has also included numerous bugs and problems running older software and on older hardware. Windows 10 is no different from its predecessors in this regard.”
Mr. Eshelman said that there are some positive aspects about Windows 10. Those who upgrade will see that the familiar start button has returned to consolidate frequently used programs and functions in a simple menu layout. Windows 10 also supports USB C and 3.1, facial recognition, auto-switching between laptop and tablet mode, as well as OLED support, Intel Skylake support and more. In an effort to compete with Apple’s Siri, Microsoft 10 offers Cortana, which is included in the upgrade.
“Microsoft 10 is designed for better performance on lower-end hardware and better power management for longer battery life on mobile devices,” Mr. Eshelman said. “Both desktop and tablet apps need to be signed as trustworthy in order to install on Windows 10. However, there are things in Windows 10 that raise questions and concerns.”
Microsoft has been very aggressive pushing Windows 10 onto laptops and PCs using either Windows 7 or 8.1. For those who do not plan to switch to Windows 10 immediately, it is best to turn off automatic updates or use a third-party tool to stop the constant messages from Microsoft asking them to upgrade. If automatic updates are left on, the new version will be downloaded and installed.
“Dealing with upgrade problems is beyond the skill level of many basic PC users,” Mr. Eshelman said. “Mandatory Windows 10 updates have caused issues with some older PCs and hardware, at times causing problems as serious as boot failure.” One other potential concern many IT professionals have raised questions about is Microsoft’s excessive data harvesting from Windows 10. Microsoft explicitly states that user data will be shared with other companies and used for advertising purposes. If you are not comfortable with this, you need to use the custom settings during the install and review the privacy settings after the install to minimize the amount of data sent to Microsoft.”
It is important to know that operating systems other than Windows 10 are available from Apple, Google and various open-source Linux distributions. Windows 7 and 8.1 systems will continue to function without upgrading and Windows will continue releasing security updates for Windows 7 until January 14, 2020 and for Windows 8.1 until January 10, 2023. For more information about upgrading to Windows 10 and whether it is right for you, contact Response Computer Group at 302-725-3314.