Windows 10 is about to take flight this summer (July 29, 2015) and refines many of the features introduced with Windows 8. It is not news that our feelings about Windows 8/8.1 were entirely mixed, while there were some nice additions, the system was too much of a mix of old and new and just felt like an odd combination with general poor usability, especially for desktop users. We never recommended Windows 8 to our business customers. Many new utilities and screens were designed for full screen, the term "windows" didn't really even apply to many areas and working with the strange tiled Start screen and traditional desktop just wasn't smooth.
Windows 10 takes care of "most" of the issues with Windows 8 and using the Technical Preview, so far the product has been really, really nice. We think that long-term, most clients will want to upgrade unless you are running a lot of outdated software, in which case you may not want to move forward.
Why no Windows 9?
I don't think there is an official explanation -- perhaps wanting to make a clean jump away from Windows 8, or the best explanation I've read is that Windows 9 (internal identifiers) were too similar to Windows 95/98 and could have presented some issues for certain older software installation.
The good news is Windows 10 is a much more refined operating system, they've taken away a lot of the rough edges, scalled back the Start screen into a more workable hybrid Start menu, made windows sizable again instead of full screen (depending on the device), and added some cool new features like the digital assistant, Cortana. Even from the early technical preview to the very latest (June 2015) release there has been great improvement.
Users of Windows 7 and newer will be eligable for a free upgrade for 1 year after the release on July 29 -- that means through July 2016. DON'T BE FIRST UPGRADERS -- We suggest waiting at least 6 months as further refinements and issues are worked out. If you system is up-to-date, you will find Microsoft has placed a small icon on your task bar allowing you to "reserve" your upgrade copy. Corporate systems that belong to a domain should not see this, but the update should be available as an optional upgrade through Windows update after July 29th. Users will have the option of later downloading an ISO file to burn a backup CD image to re-install Windows 10 (on the same system) should you need it.
For businesses, in you're happy with Windows 7 there's no reason you need to upgrade, but since it is free that does make it worth consideration. We recommend installing and performing a thorough software compatibility evaluation before taking the plunge.
Moving forward, Microsoft will allow "downgrade rights" back two versions; so you can purchase Windows 10 with a new computer and do a "downgrade" to Windows 8 or Windows 7, giving you a legal copy of Windows 10 which can be loaded in future years, in case you're not ready to take the plunge yet. Contact us for details.
July 29, 2015
Last Date for Free Upgrade
July 28, 2016
Cost after this date
$119 (home), $199 (pro), $150 (pro, oem with a new system)
Besides Home and Pro, 5 other editions (mobile, enterprise, etc)
Check our Blog for the latest articles about Windows 10! We'll be posting experiences as more systems are deployed.
Windows 10 looks good so far!
Business should wait 6 months to deploy!
Deployment plan should include testing in your environment before widescale rollout!
Seek professional help with installations, do not condone user deployments!