Sunday, 9 August 2015

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

UPDATE: This blog no longer applies. Windows 10 has improved immeasurably since this blog was first written and we do now recommend upgrading to Windows 10. Call us for advice on 01257 429216

Windows 10 has been flagged up for a while as an upgrade for legitimately licensed users of Windows 7 or 8.1. Some time ago Microsoft started adding a small flag to the System Tray of such PCs with the title, "Get Windows 10".

As this is a free upgrade to the operating system, why not? It is free for the first year for Windows 7 users, (from 29th July 2015), and for all time for Windows 8.1 users.

You won't have the option to upgrade if you have Windows XP or Vista. Microsoft isn't keen for people to still be using such old operating systems, and hasn't provided an upgrade path for them. Also, if your PC is old enough to have XP or Vista, it is very unlikely that it would work with Windows 10 anyway.

If you have Windows 7 you almost certainly don't wish to upgrade. It is quite possible that Windows 10 would work on the PC, but why change from the excellent Windows 7 to a much clunkier user experience with 10?

If you have Windows 8 then you will have to upgrade to Windows 8.1 before you can try to install 10. And, if you have Windows 8.1 then you may as well upgrade to 10. The user experience is very similar, but marginally less difficult to navigate than 8.1.

Having said that, you may be unlucky enough to find that some components may not work, such as sound, graphics or network cards. The correct drivers, (which tell the hardware how to integrate with the operating system), should be available from your PC manufacturer but it may be best to check first.

Windows 10, in common with Windows 8.1, is clunky to use. Finding the programmes that you use most can be time consuming and frustrating. There has been lots of talk about the Start Menu coming back, after Microsoft received so many complaints at the loss of this most useful feature of Windows 7.

The Start Menu is back, after a fashion, but it can be confusing to find what you need. If you realise that you can quite easily remove items that have been added to the Start Screen by default (by right-clicking and choosing "Unpin from Start" or "Remove from this list") then you can clean this up. You then need to find the programmes (or Apps as they are now called) that you wish to add to the Start Menu. (Right click and choose "Pin to Start".)

Under the hood Windows 10 is much more secure and even faster than Windows 7, but just as awkard and clunky to use as Windows 8.1, negating the enhanced speed of the operating system, which is lost in the overall speed of use.

The default installation of Windows 10 will send a huge amount of information about you, your contacts, and the way that you use the computer and the internet, to Microsoft and to many of their advertisers. To avoid this you need to be careful when installing to avoid "Express Settings" and to look for the small link to "Customise settings". Choose "No" to all of the default settings to secure your own computer.

Once you have installed Windows 10 you should then look for "Privacy Settings" by typing this into the large Search box on the task bar. You'll need to wade through these to turn off any settings that you are uncomfortable with. Very few of them are for your benefit.

Our strong recommendation, should you choose to upgrade, is to wait at least 6 months, until early 2016, while the bugs are ironed out and the PC manufacturers get up to speed and release updated drivers.

Otherwise, if you have Windows 7 stick with it. If you have Windows 8.1 then upgrade to 10.

Call us now on 01257 42 92 16 
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Keeping IT Simple!

The IT Dept offers computer support services in Lancashire, including Monthly On-Site or Remote Support Contracts; Secure Online Data Backup; Domain Hosting; Server and Desktop Sales; Software Supply & Installation. We cover all of Lancashire, including Chorley, Preston, Blackburn, Darwen, Bolton, Wigan, Blackpool, etc.
© Michael Donkin 2015