To Upgrade? Or Not to Upgrade?

To upgrade? Or not to upgrade? That is the question that many companies are facing with Microsoft’s 2015 introduction of Windows 10.

When it comes to Windows 10 upgrades, it’s important to know you do actually have an option! Microsoft is not forcing Windows 10 upgrades on anyone.  True, the move to Windows 10 will be inevitable for most, as Windows 7 will eventually go off the market. However you can certainly wait to get Windows 10 when Microsoft completely rolls over its computer hardware. We expect Windows 7 support to last at least until 2019.

In the meantime, be aware that Microsoft is ensuring that the Windows 10 upgrade is visible to users – you can expect pop-ups and recommendations within Windows to become more urgent and omnipresent as time goes on. So beware of accidentally installing it when doing routine updates.

Windows 10 brings with it many benefits and new features (see this piece for an overview of what’s new), and most companies should be able to upgrade without a hitch. But it’s worth understanding the possible downsides or “side effects” to upgrading. We have many clients coming to us with questions and wondering what to do. It can be a confusing topic. For this reason, we summarize our findings regarding the ups and downs of upgrading, so you can be fully informed if/when you make the leap!

Benefits

There are two primary benefits of Windows 10. First, Windows 10 has improved many of the interface issues that Windows 8 faced. Second, it has also introduced a number of security features, including Device Guard and Windows Hello, which make it more secure than previous versions. Microsoft is providing free Windows 10 upgrades for Windows 7 and 8 users through July 29, 2016 (Windows provides a thorough description of the steps required after that date, but long story short, if you are going to upgrade, do it before this date to save some cash!).

Caveats

At KINETIC, we have seen a number of “side effects” with clients who moved forward with automatic updates on their own. The three most common issues have been:

  • Losing printer or other hardware functionality;
  • Losing VPN (virtual private network) connectivity, which mobile/remote employees depend on in order to access their company’s network; and
  • Losing the ability to use some legacy applications, which are not compatible with Windows 10.

If you upgrade and then decide to roll back to Windows 7, it can take a few hours to roll back, costing your business time and money. For this reason, we recommend you contact your local MSP prior to upgrading. Yes, we realize we are slightly biased, but MSPs will have expert technicians who can guarantee your upgrade goes off without a hitch and your company’s productivity isn’t compromised in the process. That being said, before you commit to upgrading, make sure they will test the upgrade to ensure there are no problems. Testing is critical – we at KINETIC won’t do a rollout for our clients without testing it.

So, to upgrade or not to upgrade? The answer is ultimately up to you, but never underestimate the support of an expert before you take the plunge!