Last night Microsoft formally launched Windows 10, the company’s latest desktop operating system.
A decade ago a new Microsoft operating system would have had people queuing at computer shops all night but today, in a world of cloud computing, what software runs on a computer has become less important to users.
To entice users onto the new operating system, Microsoft are making the upgrade to Windows 10 free for the next year to those using the earlier versions 8 and 7 and many will have noticed the messages appearing on their computers over the past few weeks.
Windows 10 is a good system, Microsoft has learned from the user unfriendly missteps of Windows 8 and added features that make the system smoother and takes advantage of the desktop computers’ power.
Microsoft have also continued with their philosophy of providing a system that works on all sizes of devices from smartphones to large monitor PCs and Windows 10 adapts to the needs and use patterns of the different screens.
That Windows 10 works on smartphones is less of a pressing matter given Microsoft’s attempts to crack the mobile market have been unsuccessfully and Windows phones languish with a tiny market share.
For business users, the question is whether to take advantage of the upgrade. The short answer is maybe if use cloud based services in your company and wait if you have desktop applications that rely on Windows.
Should you have applications that run on desktops and servers in your office then it’s essential to wait and see if your software runs properly on Windows 10. You’ll need to talk to the program’s supplier and your IT support person. Generally the advice is to wait a few months to iron out any bugs.
If you’re using cloud services then the operating system running on your computer is largely irrelevant as long as you have a modern web browser. Microsoft’s new Edge web browser that’s built into Windows 10 so far appears to be a fast and capable piece of software that’s an improvement on the much maligned Internet Explorer that still lurks on the system for backwards compatibly reasons.
Upgrading though isn’t without its risks, sometimes things go wrong and even the best planned transition doesn’t always work out and generally most cautious IT advisors will take the attitude “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
One other potential trap is in hardware. It may be that some printers, cameras and other hardware doesn’t have the right drivers for the new system so while the software upgrade is free, you may end up having to stump up a few hundred dollars for new peripherals.
For businesses users, if things ain’t broke and the existing computers are working well then the upgrade to Windows 10 is adding unnecessary complexity to the office and it’s probably best to hold off the transition until new computers are needed.