Microsoft recently launched Windows 10 and this for Microsoft, may be the most important Windows release of all time. Microsoft is changing their current business model after 30 years, along with this change will come new release strategies, as well as new ways to control updates.
Recently there have been rumors of Apple potentially merging the Mac OS X and iOS into one fluid application. Well, it looks like Microsoft beat them to the punch. With the release of Windows 10, this is exactly what Microsoft has created, one OS to run on all desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. Although, the user interfaces may vary, Windows 10 delivers the same codebase regardless of what device you use.
Who Gets Windows 10 Free?
Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will receive a free upgrade to Windows 10 if the upgrade is performed within one year of release. Microsoft clarified this statement by adding that Windows 10 is not ‘free for one year’ it means those users who upgrade to Windows 10 within one year of the release will have it free for life.
Some exceptions to this include the Enterprise versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, although the Pro editions will be eligible. Upgrading after July 29th 2016 will mean that you will have to pay Microsoft’s standard retail rates of: $119.99 for Windows 10 Home and $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro.
Things to Consider Before Upgrading to Windows 10
There is the obvious financial benefit to upgrading to Windows 10, especially with Microsoft’s free upgrade offers, however there are several things to consider before making the jump to Windows 10 based on your computer and network requirements.
One pro towards upgrading to Windows 10 is that Microsoft has on its lifecycle support page that users’ Mainstream Support (adding new features) will continue until October 13, 2020 and Extended Support (security updates) will go through October 14, 2025.
A convenient feature that comes with having one application run all your devices on Windows 10 is Continuum. This is Microsoft’s equivalent of Apple’s Handoff, these features allow you to pick up from exactly where you left off on one device and continue it on another. Continuum takes this functionality and enables apps designed for Windows 10 to be able to run on any device. There is no longer any delineation from phone apps to computer apps, they have become the same thing.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone voice assistant and Siri competition is now embedded into Windows 10 so that you can ask it whatever you need and have the answers returned by Cortana. This feature also executes commands such as opening a browser, creating a new email, setting reminders or calendar appointments.
Free updates from Windows 10, and Microsoft claims that it will not have updates with new version numbers like the older versions of Windows. Instead, you will receive free and frequent updates that fix bugs, add new features, and provide overall stability.
You Can Go Back!
You can always go back to the previous version of Windows if Windows 10 does not work out for you.
If You Use OneDrive Placeholders
Windows 8.1 uses OneDrive placeholders, which are also known as smart files, this feature allows you to see all of the files in OneDrive, even if the files are located in the cloud and not on your device. Windows 10 will unfortunately ships with an upgraded version of OneDrive and the previous version does not function. Microsoft promises to bring the OneDrive placeholder functionality to Windows 10 by the end of the year. So if OneDrive placeholders are important to your workflow, then you should wait until Windows 10 works out the bugs with the previous version.
Old Peripherals and 3rd Party Software
New operating systems have historically in the past experienced problems handling older peripherals, such as printers and scanners. Additionally, before upgrading your operating system you should make sure that your older 3rd party software is compatible with the new version of the OS. Microsoft doe not always make sure that drivers for vintage devices and 3rd party apps work with the newer operating system because it would take too many development resources. As such, some of these peripherals and apps may not work with newer operating systems.
Windows Media Center
Window Media Center was released in 2002 and is used to play video, music and other media. Microsoft has been trying to kill this feature off for years and unfortunately the truth is, Media Center was always difficult to set up and has been superseded by other streaming media services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Spotify, Apple Music and many others. However, there are still die-hards out there who love Windows Media Center and for those of you who do you may be sad to learn that Windows Media Center is no longer compatible with Windows 10. If you happen to fall into this category of Windows users then you may want to wait to upgrade.
Early Adoption Pains
No matter how widespread and extensive beta testing may be for a new operating system, it is not possible to discover all the possible bugs and gotchas. A new operating system is not tested on every possible piece of hardware, with every piece of software, and with every hardware/software combination. The first upgraders are the guinea pigs that endure any early adoption pains.
If you do not have time to deal with these kinds of problems then you should wait another six months before you upgrade while Microsoft fixes all the bugs.
With these pros and cons hopefully you will be able to come to a decision as to whether or not you should upgrade to Windows 10. If you decide to wait, don’t worry, as you have until July 29 2016 before you are required to pay for the license.