Surely by now you have heard the buzz, or received the download from Microsoft asking you to “reserve your copy of Windows 10”. Many people are excited about this release, especially since so many hated Windows 8 and the lack of a Start Menu, and this version promises to bring it back. As of last week, over 18 million people have opted to upgrade.
This free upgrade (for 1 year for most home users) is indeed a good deal from Microsoft, as it gets you the latest Operating System, fully supported by Microsoft, that will carry you into 2025 or so. Microsoft has promised to maintain this software up-to-date without additional charges.
Most of you will encounter this upgrade as basically another Windows update, making it really easy for you to agree to this upgrade and get it done.
As you know, I will always give you both the pros and cons of any computer related move you are contemplating; the good, the bad and the ugly. This is part of my service, and how I feel in general about giving my clients a deeper understanding. So here it goes.
In this era of multiple devices like PCs, laptops, phone and tablets, it makes perfect sense to be able to reach the same data and Apps no matter what device you are using, as long as you are signed into your account. Well this is Microsoft’s final bid to get this right. And this time they have done it. If you are a Windows PC user, Windows phone user, and Windows tablet (Surface) user, then this will work very well for you.
If you tend to use a PC and have an iPad and an iPhone or Android phone, you can still make all that work. It just gets a bit more confusing, since Apple, Google and Microsoft are all trying to get you to create an account with them and use their Apps. (They have lots to gain by getting your account, as you will see in a minute).
· Fast efficient Operating System
· Works well
· Has the Start Menu (some form of it), that will bring some relief to Windows XP and Windows 7 users. A combination of Lists and Tiles.
· Will stay updated and current for the next 10 years or more
· Works the same across all Windows devices (tablets, PC, phone)
· Free upgrade for a year (for home versions, $99 for Pro versions), $119 after that.
· Cortana – potentially save you time by searching for you, and helping you compose emails, letters etc. (think Siri and Google Now)
· Ability to roll back to Windows 7 or 8.1 if you don’t like it (for 30 days)
· New Edge browser to replace IE- this will help phase out IE and move you into newer more capable technology (share pages with your comments etc)
· Built in PDF support via Edge.
The Bad: (most reviewers are giving this upgrade and OS a thumbs-up)
· By default, Windows 10 uses your Internet bandwidth, to help update other users (like a peer-to-peer network). Turn this off!
· Many of you love playing Solitaire – the word is that you have to pay a subscription if you don’t want the ads
· Reports of device driver incompatibilities on some computers
· Some licensing issues where Win 10 does not recognize a legit license as “Activated” or valid after the upgrade.
The Ugly: What you must know, and nobody will tell you.
According to Microsoft, “In our connected and transparent world, we know that people care deeply about privacy – and so do we. That’s why everything we do puts you in control – because you are our customer, not our product.”
What they mean is – if you don’t read our Privacy Statement, and don’t modify this software to insure your privacy (which may be impossible), then you are not exercising control, and we will do as we please with your confidential information.- These are my words, chosen to attempt to give you the bottom line.
· This operating system comes with a long intricate Statement of Privacy, which is over 40 pages long, spread out throughout the system and on an external website
· As soon as you create an account, the system starts collecting information about you.
· Microsoft acknowledges they are collecting a vast amount of data, in your account, including documents, emails, voice-recordings, typed or handwritten words, and more, your social connections, browsing and purchasing history and habits, and so on.
· They will use it themselves to improve customer service, to send you personalized promotions, and for targeted advertising, which may involve third-party companies.
· Furthermore they abide by legitimate legal requirements to provide government and other agencies, your documents, emails and other private data.
For practical purposes, if you want to be fully aware and conscious of how you are operating, assume that anything and everything you do, or write, or hear, or read in that device, is being collected under your account, and will be shared with other companies or government officials.
This is not new with Microsoft or in the industry in general, but this OS had been designed specifically with this functionality in mind. It means big money to Microsoft and many other companies in the food-chain. This data collection of course means, that this information could be hacked into and used by less than benevolent people for their own nefarious purposes.
So, knowing all this, I will still go ahead and upgrade to Windows 10, because the other options are very challenging and would take a lot of effort on my part. The competition (Apple and Google) has the same drawbacks. I just know that my information is not as confidential as I would like, so I adjust and take special care to protect myself as best as I can. In the meantime I can enjoy the best that the computing industry has to offer, to do what I need to do.
So I recommend you go ahead as well. Make a good backup of your system first. Prepare yourself with an attitude of exploration and discovery, so you can enjoy the journey.
If you run into difficulties, and need help, call me.