Just a friendly reminder to Baltimore families and businesses:
The free upgrade to Windows 10 (with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 eligible) ends July 29th. You can expect the licensing cost for Windows 10 Home to be $119.99 and the business oriented Pro version to cost $199.99.
Whether or not you should upgrade depends on a variety of things. Only machines running Windows 7 and later are eligible for the upgrade. Unless you’ve disabled Windows Update, you’ve likely received the nag window promoting the free upgrade to Windows 10. If you’ve seen this, you’re machine is eligible to run Windows 10. For the most part, you can expect Windows 10 to run well, possibly better than your current operating system. If you haven’t been notified of eligibility, your machine might still be capable of running Windows 10.
When upgrading for the first time, always perform a clean installation of Windows 10. This involves backing up all of your files, taking an inventory of the programs you use, checking to make sure those programs work with Windows 10 (they probably do), erasing the computer, then installing Windows 10 and your programs from scratch. A clean installation is certainly the best way to install any major operating system and will eliminate the most common problems before they arise. Assuming no hiccups, you can expect this process to take the better part of a day, possibly longer. If you’re upgrading a business computer or network, be extra cautious. A rough upgrade to Windows 10 can result in significant downtime, especially if you are forced to roll the machines back to an older operating system for some reason. Be especially careful with the software inventory – some programs, like older versions of Adobe Creative Suite and Sage (specifically their various extensions) – might take issue with Windows 10. If you encounter an issue, try running the program with Compatibility Mode for its preferred operating system first, before you roll the system back to an older version of Windows.
In short, if you’re a home or small business, upgrading to Windows 10 before the promotion ends can save you quite a bit of money. A clean installation and a minor upgrade (solid state drive and expanded RAM) can breath new life into an aging computer.
If you’re a larger business with more complex needs, balance the cost of upgrading against the cost of waiting. Windows 7 lost mainstream support January of last year and will be fully retired January 14th, 2020. To maintain the security of your business computers, you must upgrade Windows 7 to something newer by 2020. If there is value in waiting, do so. Otherwise, I recommend upgrading. It’s worth noting that some businesses – especially those handling sensitive or confidential information – might take issue with Microsoft’s new “Software as a Service” approach and their new terms of service. I won’t get into the fine points here. Just be aware that with Windows 10, you’re purchasing a service, one subject to change, and one which permits Microsoft meaningful access to your stored data. For most, this is a non-issue and the benefits of a fresh OS with cloud-connectivity outweighs the potential confidentiality conflict. For others (hospitals and clinics), this is an impasse.
Windows 10 has come a long way since its initial release. And although there are still bugs to iron out, it’s a great OS with incredible potential. Poindexter strongly recommends upgrading before the free promotion ends.