Monday, 1 February 2016

'Should I upgrade to Windows 10? What are the pros and cons?' A guest post from Charlie Wiggil MIEExpert from South Africa

Submitted by Charli Wiggil
This is a guest post from Charli Wiggil (@wiggs2010) Deputy Principal at Eden College in Durban. Charli is one of South Africa’s Microsoft MIEExperts for 2016. You can read more about Charli at 

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?
Over the past few months, we’ve all been inundated with offers popping-up on our screens recommending we take advantage of a free Windows 10 upgrade. The pop-ups include the upgrade button, the tantalising offer of the ‘FREE’ upgrade and they mention that if we are unhappy with the changes Windows 10 brings, we can easily revert to our previous OS. Social media has been abuzz with a plethora of comments from the early adopters - some who are already loyal converts and others who are seriously unimpressed for various reasons.

So - should you take advantage of the seemingly excellent offer?

What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 is a refreshing mix of the best things from Windows 8 while returning to the spirit of Windows 7, and will apparently be Microsoft’s last operating system release. Ultimately, everybody will be on it eventually and the free download will last for a year.

Trawling through the comments from global users of Windows 10 on a number of websites, here follow some of the advantages and disadvantages of the new OS:

  • Microsoft listened to consumers and has created a hybrid incorporating what users enjoyed in Windows 7 and 8 into the new product. Coupled with a number of new offerings, an exciting OS is presented.
  • The new Start menu is colourful, resizable, and ultimately configurable. It incorporates the Start screen (Windows 8’s modern style and flow) and Start menu (Windows 7’s functionality) which will please many.
  • The new “Settings” takes over more of the Control Panel’s responsibilities.
  • A Notifications centre collects all messages and important alerts in one place.
  • Windows 10 is the first version of Windows that sports virtual desktops (multiple desktop workspaces).
  • Cortana is billed as a Windows’ virtual personal assistant, allowing one to interact with one’s desktop computer using only one’s voice. Unfortunately there appear to be some glitches with this aspect at present, but they will surely be sorted with a patch update.
  • Microsoft has bought back Aero and Windows 7 users everywhere are celebrating. Windows 10 uses transparent effects substantially.
  • Microsoft Edge modernises the OS's default browser with improved compatibility and speed, and new capabilities like webpage markup and reading mode.
  • Windows 10 features a smaller installation size and uses a more efficient compression system, so your files will be smaller. Microsoft has shaved 4 GB to 12 GB off of Windows 10’s installation size.
  • The Windows Store now sports a cleaner, more streamlined interface.
  • Using the Continuum feature, you are able to seamlessly shift from a keyboard/mouse setup to a touchscreen or even use your Windows Phone like a computer.
  • Direct X 12 allows gamers better performance on their existing hardware.
There are several concerns: 
  • Some are calling Windows 10 a Spybot as apparently every keystroke can be recorded and the data supplied to Microsoft servers to be used for advertising and so  on.
  • Windows 10 Home (the free version) comes with automatic updates and the end-user has no control over these. All previous versions of Windows gave the user some autonomy for managing updates to their OS. In the new version, Microsoft is attempting to maintain a stable platform with less support required. Ultimately, this is a good thing, but people want to control when they download and update. 
  • Windows is still the most popular operating system in the world and that makes it a prime target for development of viruses and malicious attacks. Automatic updates will ensure that critical updates can’t be missed or dismissed.
  • Failed updates could cause a problem as the end-user has little control over the process. Unless Microsoft supplies patches quickly, this will lead to much frustration.
So should you upgrade? 
Upgrading to Windows 10 has plenty of benefits, and not too many disadvantages. Of course the fact that it's a free upgrade right now makes it even more tempting. You’ve got better search, window management, file management, gaming tools and more. Windows 10 is faster in general use and the new Start Menu is better.

The only real problems are centered on privacy, automatic upgrades and that Microsoft wants you to sign in with a Microsoft account and that you lose some features if you don’t. 

So what is your experience of Windows 10? Are you excited or do you have concerns about it? Let us know how you feel.

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