What’s All The Fuss About Windows 10?
Windows 10 has been under the spotlight for months now, with IT professionals patiently waiting to find out more about what this version of the operating system will finally offer. It’s in beta just now and our IT Division, pcr, has been tracking it’s progress and keeping us informed about what it is, how it’s looking and why it matters. In this blog, technician Jordan McLay gives us the lowdown.
Abica: Why is Microsoft launching a new Windows version?
pcr: This is an important release for Microsoft. They want to recapture the lack of sales and ambivalence about Windows 8. This involves reintroducing features they’ve previously removed such as the start button in Windows 8 which was finally added (sort of!) again in Windows 8.1. It’s also bringing Windows up to date with the way we all work and live now. I can see this operating system being a real hit in businesses that use Microsoft’s hosted platform (exchange online, office 365 etc.) as all of the apps are so tightly integrated into the core operating system, it makes everything so effortless to use!
Abica: Have you had a glimpse of it as a Microsoft Insider?
pcr: I’ve used it for the last 4-5 months whilst it’s in the public beta release on my personal computer at home. I enjoy it!
Abica: What does it look like Windows 10’s big headline will be?
pcr: It’s focusing completely on integration and seamless switching between devices. This can only be a good thing! Cleaner workspaces, easier multi tasking, seamless app function across devices are just some of the sub headlines.
Abica: What other improvements will we be looking for in Windows 10 compared to Windows 8 or 8.1? Features to get us excited.
pcr: The ability to have separate desktops is a great feature because I often have multiple tabs, apps and other things open. Being able to switch between separate windows and have a set of apps on each makes my life much easier separating work items and non work items in different desktops! The web browser is really interesting too. Named Microsoft Edge, it looks to be a powerful but lightweight browser that will let Windows 10 users interact with the web in new ways and needless to say, it’s designed to adapt to whatever device it’s running on.
Abica: Why was there no Windows 9?
pcr: Microsoft wanted to break away from the stigma of Windows 8 and to signify how huge a jump Windows 8 > 10 is. Everything is embedded into one ecosystem from the Xbox to Windows Phone and Tablets. It’s a more transformative release.
Abica: Has it taken longer than previous versions and what might that mean?
pcr: I’d say its been far quicker, certainly comparing to Windows XP > Vista. The time between 8, 8.1 & 10 has been relatively short. Windows 10 should be what Windows 8 should have been to Windows 7 (as usually is the case, it’s always every 2nd major release that is the most worthy product)
Abica: Security has come up in some articles. What’s that about?
pcr: Microsoft is implementing a new way users can log in using two factor authentication using biometrics (Facial recognition, iris scanning or fingerprint scanning). It’s arguably more secure than the typical users password which is almost always left insecure. The golden rule is keeping your PC up to date, and your password secure….No 12345678 or letmein as a password and you’ll do just fine!
Abica: How do the changes help business to work smarter?
pcr: Deeper integration of the collaboration apps such as SharePoint, Ondrive, Skype for Business and such makes it as easy as 1 click to share your files with the whole team. It’s a no brainer companion to the wonderful Office 365 line of products.
Abica: What does it mean for organisations running older Windows versions?
pcr: As the newer versions mature more and gain more features it should be an incentive to keep your products up to date, if not for features then for security. Still running Windows Xp? Support for that ran out in 2014 so you’re left wide open to infections or bugs as it is no longer supported by Microsoft. I can guarantee your day will be made easier upgrading!
Abica: What are the big benefits in staying up to date with Windows generally?
pcr: It really depends, if you’re running an outdated version of windows they generally stop adding new features to the operating system after so many years and stop supporting it (no security updates, critical updates, bug fixes). If you’re on the previous release then the security side of things should be fine and you’ll continue to receive updates each “Patch Tuesday”, but the main thing is you might not have some of the cool new features the latest release has.
Abica: What are the versions and what will it cost to upgrade?
pcr: For home users this upgrade will be free to Windows 7 & 8, anyone below this will be charged. Final pricing is to be confirmed nearer the time. Known as Editions, here are the seven versions that they will be releasing:
Windows 10 Home – The main consumer desktop version of the OS that is designed for PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s.
Windows 10 Pro – Geared towards small businesses, it offers a higher level of control over PC’s, tablets and 2 in 1s.
Windows 10 Mobile – For smartphones and smaller screen devices that will function in much the same way as the desktop edition.
Windows 10 Enterprise – With advanced controls and features for bigger organisations.
Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise – This is like Windows 10 Mobile with extra security and mobile device management promising more flexibility when it comes to updating employee mobile devices.
Windows 10 Education – This is similar to Windows 10 Enterprise but is geared toward schools.
Abica: Is it better to be an early adopter of a new release or to sit back and see what comes of it first?
pcr: Home users I’d say can make the leap as they tend to use software and apps that are mainstream and pretty much available from the get go. Businesses need to be fairly careful that the software (thinking legacy apps here) will run on any new upgrade. It’s usually safe to say a business can upgrade after maybe the first service pack.
Abica: Do we all have to upgrade? Why should we?
pcr: This is entirely up to the user. Do you need new features? Is something broken in your current OS? Are you a Tech Geek? If any of the above applies then yes, you should upgrade. Nobody is forced to upgrade but do remember the point I made about running older versions that may not have ongoing support and that could leave your business vulnerable.
Abica: What other exciting things have Microsoft been working on and what will the business opportunities be?
pcr: I think the transition from Lync to Skype for Business is absolutely brilliant, it honestly can make any business more productive (or allow you to share cat pictures, if you’re in to skiving a little with your co-workers…) The ability to chat, share and conference with people anywhere you have a internet connection is just super. I would also like to mention office 365 as a noble product, this is fantastic for all businesses as you have everything you need in one subscription; highly reliable email accounts, the latest office subscriptions and more cloud storage than you could throw a stick at. I use Office 365 for both my personal subscription and for work, it’s that good.
Abica: What new products are we likely to see on the back of Windows 10 e.g. Surface Pro 4
pcr: I think they will release more tablets like the Surface as Windows 10 matures, and I have a sneaky feeling Microsoft could bundle in Windows licenses with an Office 365 in the future which would be a game changer (don’t quote me on this but I just have a feeling).
If you have a Microsoft account you can try Windows 10 out for yourself on the public beta site.
Or, just look out for our review of Windows 10 when it launches (hopefully) this Summer.
Thanks to Jordan McLay of our IT Division, pcr for his insight!