Memo to Businesses about Windows 10:
On June 1st, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be released July 29th. Whether you like it not, this affects you. Here are a few points to consider regarding deployment of this operating system.
1) After July 29th, Windows 10 will be the only version of Windows available.
2) Machines with Windows 7 or 8 can upgrade for free to Windows 10 for the next year.
3) I recommend that you work with you IT Consultant to schedule an upgrade to Windows 10 on any W8 machines. It’s a much more usable interface and will give you an idea of what the upgrade process will be like for other machines. Labor for this is probably billable.
4) I recommend that you keep Windows 7 machines as is until you decide on a good time to switch over. You do not ever “have to” make the switch. But there's no cost for the software for the next year.
Unlike most Windows updates from the past, this one is quite significant. It means that very shortly Windows 10 will be the only version of Windows available.
Here’s why: Microsoft has always allowed people to legally use the current version of Windows purchased, or the previous version. That’s why Windows XP was allowed to stay around so long. Some folks didn’t like Windows Vista, so they bought machines with XP.
Well, the current version is Windows 8.x, even though no one likes it.
When Windows 10 is released, the “previous” version will be Windows 8. Manufacturers will be allowed to ship machines with Windows 10 or Windows 8. Since they are all currently shipping Windows 8 “downgraded” to Windows 7, you know they’re not going to ship Windows 8.
Therefore, the only real option after July 29th will be Windows 10.
ALL versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 will be eligible for FREE updates to Windows 10.
Note: If you have Home versions of Windows 7 or 8, they will be upgraded as part of the regular Windows Updates. When this happens, you will lose Windows Media Center, all desktop gadgets, and certain Microsoft games.
Work with your IT Consultant or Managed Service Provider
It's always best to work with your Managed Service Provider (MSP) to coordinate these upgrades. In this case, it's particularly important.
With an "unmanaged" computer, the Windows Updates are probably set to automatic. If that's true, then all Windows 7.1 and Windows 8.x machines will soon see a new icon in the lower right-hand corner.
If you click it, you'll install Windows 10. You can't undo this.
Managed computers go through an upgrade vetting process. That means that only approved patches and fixes are installed. So, your Managed Service Provider can stop the installation of the Windows 10 Upgrade App.
That gives you time to decide when and whether you want the upgrade.
If you have a few machines with Windows 8, that's probably good for you. You'll definitely want to upgrade those to Windows 10. Once that happens, you'll see how much better it is than W8. And you can decide whether you want to run a "mixed" environment of W7 and W10 of just upgrade all the W7 machines.
Our general advice is that you should plan to keep business class computers for three years and then get newer machines AND you should always get machines with the latest operating system. So, for most people, we advice that you leave the Windows 7 machines alone unless you have a need for some feature of Windows 10 that you don't get with Windows 7.
Once again, the good news is that your Managed Service Provider will help you figure out a reasonable schedule for upgrade to make sure that all of your hardware and software works properly with Windows 10.
It's fine for Microsoft to release a new operating system and assume everyone should just get it. But you need to make good decisions about your business.
This is a great time to rely a professional IT consultant to make sure you have a smooth transition.
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Microsoft has a nice FAQ on this upgrade process from their perspective: