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Windows 10? "What's the Deal with That?"

Posted by Corey Stoner on Nov 25, 2015 2:41:19 PM

Seinfeld.jpgWith Windows XP being end of life for just over a year and a half, and Windows 7 end of life scheduled for the beginning of 2020, it might be time to start looking at getting used to the tiled interfaces of Microsoft’s newest Operating systems and familiarizing ourselves with the terms like Cortana, Edge and Windows Hello.

While Windows 8 was quite a change from the XP and Windows 7 interfaces we have been accustomed to, Windows 10 seems to fit right in the middle of the new and the old. It is not uncommon for Microsoft to take 2 steps forward and one step back, remember the transition from Office 2003 to 2007, then the release of Office 2010?

While you might be annoyed by the little icon on your taskbar asking you to upgrade to Windows 10 and think, it isn’t for me, you might want to rethink this, or at least look into it. While everyone is familiar with Smartphones and their interfaces and functionality we can hardly remember a time these did not exist.

Windows 10 looks to bridge the gap between your smart devices and your computers which makes a lot of sense as in the business world, all these products are “Productivity” devices, why shouldn’t they be similar. While there might be still some compatibility issues with some business software, if this isn’t the case for you, why not check it out. Chances are you will need to at some point and those 4 years might be here before you know it. Besides, Microsoft is giving the upgrades away for Free, who doesn’t like that? (For qualifying systems only. See Microsoft for more details.)

So what’s new in Windows 10?

Windows-10-Screen-shot.jpgThe first thing you will notice is the familiar start button is back, but once you click it, is where things will be a bit different, while the left side of the start menu is going to be similar, you will notice the tile interface on the right side. While the left side cannot be customized, the tiled side is fully customizable and with a little bit of time spent on it, can become very useful.

Who or what is Cortana? Microsoft describes Cortana as your “Clever new Personal Assistant.” You can ask Cortana things either by talking to your computer or typing in questions. You can ask it to track flights and packages, add reminders, or tell you a joke. Putting in your interests into Cortana’s notebook will help personalize your experience.

Windows Hello is a new feature and gives you a more personal way to sign into your windows 10 devices with just a look or a touch instead of remembering those long and complicated passwords.

Microsoft Edge is Microsoft’s new browser that makes it easier to find things on the web and integrates with Cortana to help find what you are looking for. The addition for the Hub allows you to keep a collection for things you collect on the web. Edge also gives you the ability to search right from the address bar without going to a specific webpage to search from. Writing allows you to take notes, doodle, or highlight areas of webpages.

Windows-10-Search.jpgThe Windows 10 upgrade will only be available for free until July 29th 2016 so you do have plenty of time to test it out in your organization. Depending on the size of your organization, you can download and update each computer separately or create a bootable disk to install on each machine, or any other deployment methods you may currently use. If you wish to deploy Windows 10 and would like a hand in doing so, let Network Center, Inc. know and we would be glad to help you.

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Topics: Windows 10

Considerations Before Installing Windows 10

Posted by Sean Todd on Aug 7, 2015 9:00:00 AM

windows-10It’s been 24 hours now since I was able to successfully get Windows 10 Enterprise installed and running on my Surface Pro 3. Having gone through most of my career with the mindset that in-place upgrades are a bad thing (thank you Windows 95/98) I have to say things seem to be pretty stable and the experience thus far has been positive coming from Windows 8.1 Pro. My upgrade didn’t come without issue however.

What I didn’t do, but would absolutely recommend you do is run all available windows updates. On my Surface Pro 3 there were some firmware updates that would have made stability post upgrade much better. Remember, windows updates are not only for security, but for features and enhancements as well. These updates may very well be paving the way for your future upgrade.

Another thing I found out the hard way is that having a Cisco VPN client on your machine while doing the Windows 10 in-place upgrade yields a Windows 10 install with no network adapters listed in the control panel. As a technical person, the first thing I did was go into the Device Manager, and sure enough, they existed. Hmmm…maybe if I deleted them and then forced a hardware detection again I’d be able to bring them back and things would be harmonious again. No, that’d be too easy.

Enough wasting time trying to figure it out myself, I’m sure I’m not the only one that has been experiencing this on launch day. I was right! A lot of people were saying that rolling back to Windows 8.1, removing the Cisco VPN software and then re-running the upgrade worked. Thank you Microsoft for including a wonderful feature: Go back to Windows 8.1.

Go_Back_to_Windows_8.1

I selected this option and was pleasantly surprised on how easy it was revert back to windows 8.1 without wasting half a day. It only took about 20 minutes to get back to where I needed to be.

Restoring_your_previous_version_of_windows

Once I was back in Windows 8.1, I removed the Cisco VPN software both the classic VPN and AnyConnect to be sure I didn’t have to go through this again. I then re-initiated the upgrade and within 45 minutes I was up and running on Windows 10. The first thing I did was re-visit windows updates to ensure I got anything that didn’t make the RTM image. There was some firmware for the Surface Pro 3 that I should have installed first, but once I installed it post-upgrade my installation of Windows 10 has been trouble free so far.

So, the big question: should I upgrade or wait a while to make sure all the bugs are worked out? Well, that’s a decision you have to make. I will say that there are considerations you need to take into account before jumping right in:

  1. Does the software I have support Windows 10?
    I’ve not had any issues yet although I’m only 24 hours in. I would say if you have any core business apps, wait until the software manufacturer officially supports them or you’ll be in a predicament should something not work and you need help.

  2. Does all of my hardware support Windows 10?
    Things can’t be supported forever. Even with Windows 8, there were a lot of printers and legacy devices that simply wouldn’t work well. Make sure that old printer, scanner, or multifunction device, etc. are on the hardware compatibility list.

  3. Will I have to learn something completely new?
    Yes and no. If you came from Windows 8/8.1 things are fairly close to what they were before. If you’re coming from 7, then there are some differences (tiles/icons/hot keys) that may take some getting used to, but they made this transition much easier than they did with Windows 8/8.1.

  4. Will I run into issues getting my computer upgraded?
    Maybe, maybe not. With a release this early there are bound to be unforeseen upgrade issues that will be resolved with future updates. If you’re willing to take a risk and won’t be severely impacted if things do go south, then go for it! I did mention the “Go back” feature previously, but you can’t be absolutely certain that it will work.

My decision to upgrade was simple; my customers will be asking, and rather than make their system the guinea pig, I’ll take the leap and start learning things so I can be prepared to assist others with questions and/or issue as they arise. We have a saying around our office that we eat what we sell. If we’re not comfortable with it, we aren’t going to recommend it.

Finally, if you do decide to upgrade, make sure you have a backup. Get your documents, pictures, music, videos, and whatever else you deem as irreplaceable onto backup media that you can use to restore from, should your upgrade go South and you find yourself needing to do a clean install. 

If you have questions about installing Windows 10, feel free to contact us. 

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Topics: Windows 10

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