By: Dan Bremner
Windows 10 is coming!
You may have seen some of the press, or even a “Windows 10 is coming” notification on your desktop along with an offer to “reserve your upgrade”. By the way, if you’re only half-paying attention don’t worry, you didn’t miss Windows 9. Microsoft decided to skip a version and go right from Windows 8 (and 8.1) to Windows 10.
Of course, as your IT company, we’re working with the new release so we can give you inside scoop, and be ready to support you, our customers, when you’re ready to move. All of our desktops internally are running Windows 10 Preview, and I’ll have some information in the next newsletter on what’s new and changed in Windows 10, and what to expect.
For this installment, I want to focus on a few things you should know about the rollout of Windows 10, because it’s much different than previous Windows releases. If you’re a Castema Managed IT customer, please be sure to read the recommendations at the bottom.
- It’s Free. For all customers with Genuine installations of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, you can upgrade for free, as long as your system meets the minimum specs. Apple started doing this a few releases ago, and Microsoft is following suit. This free upgrade is good for a year after the release date, so until July 29, 2016.
- It’s coming through Windows Update. Previous versions of Windows have come via a CD/DVD, a separate download, or a Microsoft Store App. While those options may be available for Windows 10 also, the upgrade that was just announced is being delivered through the Windows Update mechanism. Make no mistake, though, this is still a new Operating System, and not an “update”. The installation may take an hour or so, and may require installing drivers and setting up new system preferences after it’s complete.
- Microsoft is taking “reservations”. What does that mean? If you click the Windows notification (if you have one) in your taskbar and reserve your copy, your system will be examined to ensure it meets the specs, and then once the release date arrives, your computer will download the installation files for the new OS in the background. What happens after that isn’t specified in detail, but presumably you will be prompted to install it.
- It’s NOT Mandatory. Being techies at heart, we are generally in favor of new stuff, especially when it improves over the old stuff. But this is your business we’re talking about, so we certainly advise a controlled rollout, and not an “every man for himself” approach to new technology. Which leads to…
Our Recommendation to our Customers
The number one recommendation is don’t click on the update on July 29th and do this yourself without first coordinating with us. Having us involved can help steer clear of “gotchas” and make sure things run smoothly – exactly why you hired us in the first place. We’ll be doing plenty of testing over the next weeks leading up to the launch, and we’ll have some best practices defined for our Windows 10 rollouts. If you already clicked on “Reserve My Copy,” don’t worry, we’ve got you. Downloading files in the background won’t do anything until you OK the prompt to install. Or you can cancel your reservation easily.
Some of you may prefer to hold off on Windows 10 until your next PC refresh, just as many have done in the past, and that’s perfectly fine. Others may want to take advantage of the newest release, and the fact that it’s being offered for free, and we’ll work with you to roll it out smoothly, if that’s you. In the meantime, you don’t need to do anything, and we encourage you ignore the prompt about reserving your copy.
We expect Microsoft to release more details and tools soon for IT departments to help the companies they serve, to ensure consistency. In the meantime, as your IT department, rest assured that we’re on top of the Windows 10 news, and as always, you can come to us with any questions about what’s the best approach for your company.