With so much negative press about Windows 8, people are naturally skeptical of upgrading their systems to Windows 10 for fear of being stuck with a less-usable operating system. Often the theory goes like this:
“But <insert version of Windows> works really well, why should I change it?”
This is founded in the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We’d like to suggest that waiting till your PC breaks to fix it is a bad idea, and suggest some reasons why changing something that isn’t broken might be a better plan.
It’s hard to disagree with saving a few coins, so one of the key reasons many people are upgrading to Windows 10 so early in its release is because it’s free! Until 29/07/2016, Microsoft are allowing all users with a legitimate copy of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 a free upgrade to Windows 10, on the same licensing level – so if you are using Home, you get Windows 10 Home, if you are using Pro you get Pro (and if you don’t know what you have, then it probably doesn’t worry you). Considering a new license of Windows 10 after this period may run you around $200-300, it’s an easy money-saver.
Since the release of Windows 7 in the late-2000’s, the rise of the small-form-factor device (think smartphone and tablet) have made manufacturers think more about speed than power, to utilize the limited space they have inside the device. This means gone are the flashy reflective graphics and subtle shadows of the Windows Vista and 7 days, in favour of flat colours and minimalist designs. The reason is simple: when you have limited processing power available, why waste it all on making things look good, when you can make the device do more stuff instead. The result is that Windows 8 ran faster than Windows 7, and Windows 10 runs faster again – and all on less hardware.
People fear “new software” because it (a) introduces new bugs (problems and errors) in the software that take time to fix, and (b) changes the way things work. This fear of the unknown compels people to stay with what’s familiar. So here’s what happens: it’s 2009 and you’re happy with XP, Windows 7 is released and you don’t upgrade (“but I like XP, why should I change?”). A few years on in 2012, Windows 8 is released and it gets some bad press: people don’t like it, the interface is clanky and difficult, so you stay with XP. People are experimenting with touchscreens and tablets, but you stay on your old XP desktop.
After a few more years, a big patch is released for Windows 8 – Windows 8.1 – to address usability issues with the “missing start button”. You never went to Windows 8, so why do you need Windows 8.1? XP is long out of support, but it still runs like a workhorse so you don’t need to fix it. Maybe you start getting more viruses because there are no security upgrades. The PC is starting to feel slow now, but you can’t get replacement parts; your printer dies and you buy a new one, but there is no software for Windows XP anymore. You want to sync your new iPhone, but there is no iTunes for a 10-year-old computer. So you decide to bite the bullet and buy a new computer with Windows 10 – but you now find that everything is different: you can’t use your old Office 2003 anymore, so you have to pay for an upgrade. You can’t find your familiar old files, the menus look different, everything is now in “apps” and “panels” – what happened to the old Windows?
Is any of this sounding familiar? The common mentality here is that “Windows 10 broke everything – it worked before, and now it doesn’t” – but the reality is that it’s been changing for almost a decade and you’re only just catching up: by delaying for so long, you’ve now jumped 4 versions of software all at once.
Microsoft don’t support all of their software for ever: usually it’s around 10 years. This means that Windows 7, released in 2009, is already 7 years through its life – and when it hits the end of the road, no more support. If you wait until that time you are suddenly rushed into an urgent upgrade even though you aren’t prepared. Support means Microsoft will continue to release security patches and updates to issues, keeping everything ticking over well.
The future has become the present, and the presence of touch screens and multiple screens is everywhere. Windows 10 and the latest generation of software work seamlessly with touch and mouse, according to your device and needs, and have fantastic native support for multiple monitors. Here we all use two screens, and our developers use three – and there are always talks of more.
Ready to upgrade?
If you’ve decided you want to take the plunge and DO IT, it might be worth chatting to us first. Though Microsoft give you the tools to do an in-place upgrade, there are a few things to be aware of:
- the update streams down via your internet connection, which can take a looong time (depending on your speed) and consume quite a bit of your monthly data allocation
- if you lose power, lose internet or shut down your computer during the process you can corrupt the installation and brick your PC – then we have to do a data recovery to find your files and bring them back, if we can
- some third-party doesn’t play nice with Window 10, depending on the version, and this can cause the upgrade process to fail
We can do the upgrade for you to make sure none of the above will give you problems – for your peace of mind, and especially if they are business systems, we recommend getting us involved. However, if you’re a private citizen or like a gamble, make sure you:
- back up all your critical data before you start
- make sure laptops are plugged in to power
- you have at least 10GB spare internet allowance for the month
- can do without your computer for a day or so while it updates
- you don’t have small children or pets who can “tinker with the process”
Upgrading the operating system you know and love can be a big call, and will feel like a new pair of shoes for a while; but once you break it in, we’re sure you’ll love Windows 10 too. And of course, if you need any assistance or advice we are always here to help :).