win10button

Mysterious New Button

That little discreet button. You may have noticed it, you might not have done. Take a closer look at it, the one on the left, the little  Windows symbol. What is this new button?

Lets go back to yesterday. Microsoft announced that their new operating system,the  Windows 10 release date is to be on July 29th this year.  We have another in depth article about that here*coming soon*.  Back to this pesky little button, hover your mouse cursor over it and it says quite bluntly “Get Windows 10”. Click it and you get a new window popping up :-

Windows 10

 

Most of you if you do not already know what its about will be thinking, “So what does this mean, is this new Windows 10 Free?”, well the short answer is YES. The long answer is YES, with a couple of small caveats, firstly, the offer for the free upgrade is only open for a year, secondly, you have to own a Genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8.1. That is all there is to it, if you upgrade, its yours to use on that hardware for as long as you want it.

So the window, its quite self explanatory, click the “Reserve your free upgrade” button, this will get you through a few forms, but at the end of it your will have just registered for your Windows 7 or 8.1 machine to upgrade on or after July 29th. It will download automatically in the background on the day ready for install, and the usual T&C`s are there about data usage, make note if your on a metered or mobile internet service.  On the day once its all down, you will get an option, similar to the nagging Windows Updates requesters you get, but this time the update is the entire operating system. The only part of the window that feels a bit arrogant or pretentious is the “3 – Enjoy”. You may hate it, you may love it, but you also do not know beforehand if all your programs are going to work. There is going to be a small part before the install that runs a brief check for known issues, and it will tell you at the time, but as always, it wont cover everything, especially not the smaller and older programs.

So, the question is, how does it affect you?

As a home user, you may look at it and think, “Microsoft are giving me something for free, where do I sign up?!”.  As long as it looks the same, you can browse your favourite websites, do your home banking or play the odd game of checkers and occasionally let the kids squabble over who`s turn it is to play the latest shoot-em-up, you probably do not really care. Its free, as long as your running genuine software, and the offer only lasts a year to upgrade, so you will likely do the upgrade, when is probably more down to when is convenient than anything else.

Business users will see a different side to it. Right now IT admins, will be filled with dread. The inevitable questions from users, “When are we getting the new Windows 10, I have got it at home I want it here” or the MD`s view “Will this cost us any money?”. Software upgrades always cause problems, especially when they have not had the time to fully  be tested with all the current infrastructure and configurations. The difference between the home users and business users here is finances.  You lose your computer or your favourite program at home for a few days after the upgrade, its frustrating and might cost a couple of hundred pound to fix. You do it at work, BOOM, no work can be done, resulting in tens of thousands if not more in costs. This is why a lot of businesses wont be taking advantage of the free upgrades, or if they do it will be a good few months down the line.

Let me explain why. In businesses, generally every computer or software set-up is the same. The same Windows, the same Office, the same accounting programs or the same CMS. An upgrade on one, means an upgrade on them all, a change on one, is a change on them all, a fault on one after the upgrade will likely mean a fault on them all. Your then left with the mammoth job of restoring all the PC`s to the original workable state. This goes back to testing, testing is not a one day or one hour job, it is weeks and months, depending on the complexity of the network. Your accounts department might only run Sage and Office, it might take a week to fully qualify as working, great! But you cant upgrade the accounts office without the HR department, but their software is known to not work on Windows 10 and a fix wont happen unless you upgrade to the newest version of the software. So there is another grovelling cap in hand meeting with the MD and FD. Now 6 months in thats sorted, on to the sales team! Hang on a minute, their software is end of life with no upgrades available and the company gone bust. No upgrades, no fixes to come, if we did upgrade we cant fix problems if they arise. There is  another brick-wall, another cap in hand meeting…. etc .etc…. I am sure you get the picture. Quite simply, if you see it on your works computer, DO NOT CLICK IT, The last thing your IT needs is a rogue computer upgrade on launch day!

Hang on, I am a business what should I do now?

If you have in-house IT, your IT guys should already be preparing to be going through the qualifying procedures and let you know if its upgradable or not. If your on a managed IT service (contract), your IT guys may have advised you its on the way and let you know the possible issues that may arise, and if your an ad-hoc support user, it will generally be down to your own preference.  Our advice would simply be if your unsure what is best, contact us and we can provide on on site Network Evaluation to check for anything that could cause problems.