It’s now been a few weeks since Microsoft released Windows 10 to the masses. As with any new operating system, there will always be some pitfalls, but do the benefits exceed the hassle of upgrading. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.
First, let me say, if you are using your computer in a typical home environment and you don’t use any old, outdated software, and you like being on the leading edge, then there’s a good chance you’ll like Windows 10. Lots of people who have upgraded give it high marks. But what if your situation is different? What if you use your computer in a business setting? What if you run some older software? What if you run software unique to your industry? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may want to do some research before upgrading. To get you thinking, let's start with the good, the bad and the ugly.
Multiple desktops – now you can have a different desktop to fit your needs. For instance, if you use your computer for both work and personal use, you can now have a desktop that includes only those icons and files you use at work, then, with just a click of the mouse, you can bring up your personal desktop whenever you want.
Action Center – available on the toolbar is an icon to open the Action Center, where you can easily turn on and off VPN, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. It’s a much quicker alternative to the Start menu.
Start Menu – It’s back. We loved it on Windows 7, but it was taken away on Windows 8, now its back by popular demand. It’s a cross between 7 and 8, giving us the best of both worlds. The Start menu provides access to both programs and apps in an easy to use interface. Nice.
Apps – Microsoft has included some function specific apps. Some are quite good. The Photo app is nice, and the Mail app is almost as good as Outlook. There are also apps for Sports, News and Music.
Settings – Are you one of those people who found yourself getting frustrated trying to find something in the Control Panel? Now we have Settings, a much easier way to make changes to your computing environment. Control Panel is still there, but you’ll find yourself much happier with Settings.
Edge – Internet Explorer is no more, now the default browser is Edge. Let’s face it; Internet Explorer was fraught with vulnerabilities and bugs that gave hackers a field day. Microsoft certainly made improvements along the way, but Explorer became bloated and slow. Edge is fast. What’s not to like?
Search and Cortana - In addition to the normal search function, now we have Cortana, our digital assistant. You can verbally ask Cortana anything, much like Siri, and for the most part, she responds accurately. Okay, I’m embellishing, it can take some time for Cortana to learn your voice pattern, but once she settles in, she can become a useful tool.
The bad and the ugly…
Shared Wi-Fi – this is something to be aware of, a feature called Wi-Fi Sense, by default, will allow your contacts to access your Wi-Fi without a password. What this means is that your contacts in Outlook, Hotmail, Skype or Facebook will get unimpeded access unless you disable this function. When you load Windows 10, it will ask if you’d like to share your Wi-Fi. Answer NO to keep things secure.
Compatibility – Will my current programs work within Windows 10? This is probably the most serious question with any operating system upgrade. The accurate answer is…maybe. We have found quite a few industry specific programs not compatible with Windows 10, too many to list here. For most home users, this will not be an issue, but business users may be affected. There are a few things you can do before upgrading to evaluate compatibility, try these first:
Find the Get Windows 10 app icon in the tray at the bottom-right corner of your screen. Right-click on it and select "Check your upgrade status." On the next screen, click the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner. From the menu that drops down, click "Check your PC." The app will let you know if your system will have any issues. Typical issues for home users will be focused on drivers; for printers, external drives, etc.
Upgrade Undo – So you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 but now find that you’d like to go back to your original operating system. Microsoft gives you 30 days to make this decision, and if you elect to go back, they provide a simple Recovery feature, however, it doesn’t always work, and if it does, your system may not be returned in its original form. We have found that some computers simply cannot use this feature successfully, so, before you find yourself in this situation do your due diligence in evaluating whether Windows 10 is right for you.
For most of us, Windows 10 will be a welcome improvement and a new exciting adventure. But for those with unique needs it may take awhile to sort out some of the bugs. In which case, it may make sense to wait a bit before clicking on that Upgrade Icon.