The State of Windows 10 – April 2016

To upgrade now, or to upgrade now? That is the question

No – you didn’t read that wrong. This, of course, refers to that famous quote which deals with a fundamental question about the human ‘operating system’. As far as your computer’s operating system, Microsoft is trying to take away the question and make it a given.

In late 2015, I was still advising our customers to refrain from upgrading to Windows 10 until at least early 2016. I still stick to this advice and extend that timeframe out.

Windows 10 started off its life as Windows reborn… it came out with a start menu. As you probably know, with the Windows 8 launch, there was much talk – and anger – at the removal of the start menu.

Personally, I thought dumping the start window was the right move, and the new system actually worked better. The problem, though, which has always been an issue for Microsoft, was the way they went about informing customers on how to use the new Windows without a start menu. By that, I mean they virtually didn’t advise anyone at all. This left Windows 8 in a very confused state. Was Windows 8 a tablet operating system? A desktop operating system? Or something else?

Windows 8.1 fixed this. If you can remember Windows 98, you might remember some of the issues it had from its release. So a year later, Microsoft put out Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) to fix things. Well, they did the same thing for Windows 8 with Windows 8.1 to fix the main issues with Windows 8 and including the old trusty start menu. Fast forward to 2015 and we have Windows 10, which is essentially a mix of Windows 8 and 8.1, supposedly perfected. However, that’s not quite the case.

Now, Microsoft has recently changed the way Windows 10 is being pushed out to Windows 7 and 8 computers

Before the end of 2015, Windows 10 was originally just marked as an optional update within Windows Update, and so was not automatically installed by the current operating system. Microsoft has changed this, though, and Windows 10 is now marked as a recommended update. This means that most computers will install this update without telling you as part of its automatic updates.

This poses a problem for business customers. By default, administrators and IT support companies like Layer3 can block this update. Indeed, we can still do this. However, Microsoft re-releases the patch which upgrades computers to Windows 10 every month, which overwrites our rules and inhibits the administrator’s ability to manage the update process.

Why is this an issue?

Besides the fundamental problem of having Microsoft forcing you to do what it thinks is best for you, this is a practical issue because Windows 10 still has many flaws. From sleep and hibernation issues on laptops and tablets to dual monitors not working, application incompatibility, and of course, driver issues, Windows 10 clearly has some leaks to plug. On top of that, some of the recent Windows Updates have even been recalled, almost on a monthly basis.

To be fair, some major issues were fixed early February 2016, but many remain. So when you add all that up, it doesn’t equate for network administrators to blindly take every Windows update that comes down the pipe.

What you should do (or not do)

The free Windows upgrade expires on the 28th of July, 2016. While this puts a bit of urgency into the upgrade discussion, in my opinion, Microsoft will extend that deadline.

The majority of Layer3’s desktop support tickets raised are related to upgrades to Windows 10 and issues that have come about from doing this. So as of now, we still advise customers not to upgrade to Windows 10 unless you really, really have to. We will review this again next month, but for now, sit tight.

If you have any questions surrounding the upgrade to Windows 10, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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