Before and after its July 29th release, we cautioned business users to wait to upgrade to Windows 10 until the software matured, bugs were addressed, and compatibility issues with third-party apps were solved. Now that two months have passed, that begs the question: are we there yet?
Because Windows 10 is still a work in progress, as all new operating systems are, there's no short answer to be applied to all situations. But we can say a few things about our experience of Windows 10 and its readiness for a business environment.
1. Windows 10 is definitely an improvement over Windows 8/8.1.
Not many would deny that Windows 10 fixes many of the usability issues people found with Windows 8/8.1. The Start Menu is back alongside some of Windows' newer UI features that make the OS operable across PC and mobile platforms. Furthermore, while some argue that this has yet to be realized, Windows 10 at least makes "universal" apps that run seamlessly across PCs, tablets, and smartphones a real possibility.
2. Windows 10 isn't perfect.
Is any OS ever truly perfect? While the answer is probably not, there are a few issues with Windows 10 that Microsoft would have done well to address before the product's big launch. Among these are issues with Edge (pictured to the left), the new browser that was supposed to make the much maligned Internet Explorer a distant memory and compete with the likes of Firefox and Chrome. Instead, most users feel like Edge is half baked at best, as many key features users expect from a modern browser aren't there yet.
3. Microsoft needs to get its patch act together.
Much to the chagrin of systems administrator types like us, Microsoft has gotten heavy handed with their patch policies, forcing both Windows 10 Home and unmanaged Professional users to apply software updates immediately after they come out. This is a somewhat scary proposition when patches have occasionally been known to cause more issues than they resolve. Furthermore, Microsoft has been less than forthcoming with details on what given patches or updates for Windows 10 actually include, making planning and preparation for potential issues difficult.
4. If you have an older system running Windows 7, it may be best to stick with it.
Like any new operating system, Windows 10 will function best on newer hardware. If you have a Windows 7 system that's more than, say, 3 or 4 years old, it may be best to stay put with Windows 7, which is still a perfectly functional operating system. Upgrading may be a risky proposition if your system doesn't have the horsepower Windows 10 requires to run efficiently.
5. Application compatibility is a key factor in deciding to upgrade.
Odds are, the applications you use to get work done are much more important to your efficiency than the operating system they're running on. This applies both to normal business software like accounting packages (Quickbooks, Peachtree, etc.) and to industry-specific applications you may be using. Especially if the software you rely on is older, there's a chance that it may not work on Windows 10. 3n1 makes sure to test all its clients' critical software applications to be sure they will function correctly before upgrading to Windows 10.
So, to return to the question we brought up at the beginning: is it safe for business users to upgrade to Windows 10 yet? The answer is a big, resounding, "It depends." If Windows 8/8.1 is hampering your ability to get work done and you know that all of the apps you rely on are compatible with Windows 10, then we say go for it. If you're not sure (and sometimes even if you are), it's best to ask an IT professional to review your systems in order to help you decide if it's safe to upgrade.