With the release of Microsoft Windows 10 rapidly approaching, I wanted to take the time to point out 5 key things everyone should know about Microsoft's new operating system.
1. It's free! (well for most)
In a bold move by Microsoft, Windows 10 is for free for anyone running Windows 7 or 8 Home or Professional Editions (sorry XP hold outs, probably time to upgrade).
The exception to this free entitlement is for anyone running Windows 7 or 8 Enterprise or Education Editions. These versions of Windows are only available through Microsoft's volume licensing program and typically are purchased with software assurance (SA). If you are on an active SA agreement the upgrade is still available for you at no additional cost. If you are running Enterprise or Education edition and do not have active SA, you'll need to purchase Windows 10.
2. There are two ways to upgrade
Windows 10 will be rolled out via Windows update for any computer that is not part of a corporate network. So your home PCs will be notified when Windows 10 is available and will let you choose to update or not.
For domain joined computers Windows 10 will not be available via Windows update. Microsoft had the excellent foresight to assume that most IT departments wouldn’t want end users installing a new operating system by themselves. For this reason they have suppressed the Windows 10 upgrade from deploying via Windows Update for computers joined to a domain. Domain joined computers will need to be upgraded using a DVD image file (ISO) to allow for IT departments to do mass deployments and to ensure that proper testing is done before Windows 10 is rolled out.
3. Start Menu is back!
You either hated or learned to love the change from the traditional Windows start menu to the Windows 8 start screen. Well Microsoft has decided to give us the best of both worlds. The Windows 10 start menu is a combination of the old start menu and the new start screen. Back is the traditional menu style with access to all apps but you also get an area to pin and resize tiles. And with Microsoft's "Continuum" feature the start menu will automatically become a touch friendly start screen when using a tablet or convertible in tablet mode.
4. Edge Browser
Many have been complaining for years about Internet Explorer's performance and bloated feature set. I haven't had an issue with the last few versions of IE. Nevertheless, Microsoft has built a new browser for Windows 10 from the ground up. This new browser, Edge, is a light weight, fast browser without all the frills. If you still need IE for legacy web applications, don't fret. Microsoft is still including IE 11 with Windows 10 and you can set certain sites to open automatically in either browser.
5. Virtual Desktops
Have you ever been working on your desktop with a ton of Windows open and just wished you could have more space? Maybe you don’t have multiple monitors but still need a large workspace or maybe you have multiple monitors but they still aren't enough. With the addition of virtual desktops in Windows 10 you can create separate workspaces that function as a new separate desktop. This allows you to organize and switch between desktops rapidly. You can still see all open application on your task bar and switching between them desktops is automatic when you select the program from the task bar.
As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we've had an early glimpse of Microsoft Windows 10, it's a super fast operating system that is compatible with most modern hardware. The new features are welcome and should aid in productivity. Plus, for most, it's free. And you can't complain about free!
Beringer Associates is always here to provide expert knowledge in topics like these. Please contact us with any questions you may have.