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HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON ON YOUR UPGRADE

It’s late August, and Microsoft has just released its next generation operating system, Windows 10. Like the movie Groundhog Day, I’ve been through this many times before in my almost 20 year long career.

I sit down to lunch with friends at a weekly civic organization meeting, and soon enough, I hear it.  “What do you think of Windows 10 – should I load it?” – I then begin the next installment of my opinion on Microsoft (and any other manufacturers) upcoming software updates. “It really depends on what you use your computer for,” I say. I go on to discuss the pros and cons of loading new operating systems and software.

As IT professionals, and presumably experts, we are constantly being asked for advice – we love it. It is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job. IT is constantly changing – constantly improving, and it is very natural for people to be confused by the changes and seek help. As I look back on my career, it is indeed the reason why I am in the business. It isn’t necessarily to know the difference between the latest I7 Quad Core CPU and the latest I5 Quad Core CPU, or to know the technical details between PC3-12800 DDR and PC3-16000 DDR RAM. It is to guide people into making practical decisions about technology as it relates to their day-to-day lives.

So, with the debut of Microsoft’s latest Operating System, Windows 10, I give you the following advice – depending on what kind of computer user you are:

First time computer user, or convert from a Mac to a PC (yes, these people do exist!)
Go for it! You have no biases or preconceived notions as to how Windows 10 should look, smell, or feel.  Microsoft Windows 10 is a going to be a great operating system and has taken cues from very successful software over the last few years, including MAC OSX. As long as you aren’t trying to run any specialized software that doesn’t support Windows 10 yet, you should be good to go!

Business owner or decision maker:

I’ll give you the same advice that I’d give you when making ANY change to your current IT environment – perform a risk-benefit analysis. If I change my computers to Windows 10, what will I gain, and what will I lose?  You have to look at those wins and losses through the lens of your corporate strategy – only then can you make a solid BUSINESS decision as to whether upgrading NOW makes sense. Notice I said NOW.

Upgrading is inevitable – but the REQUIREMENT to upgrade in the business world is generally 5 or so years after the OPPORTUNITY to upgrade. If you are a car dealer, you have to ask yourself “Will the features in Windows 10 allow me to service my customers better, attract new customers, reduce costs, sell more cars, etc.” If you can’t correlate business problems and benefits to the upgrade (any upgrade, that is) you will find that you simply want to upgrade, but likely don’t need to upgrade.

Residential existing computer user

I’d use similar logic as the business owner. Upgrade only if you are a hobbyist or IT enthusiast and learning the latest and greatest is part of the thrill. If you like change and love learning the new features of the latest Smart phone, remote control, or other piece of household technology, and your computer is in pretty good health and relatively new, my advice to you is “Go for it.”

However, if your computer at home is simply a tool to allow you to accomplish modest modern day technology tasks; surfing the web to see the kids lunch menus for the week, checking Facebook to see what is going on, or emailing your cousin to coordinate next year’s summer vacation, then it could probably wait. If your approach to things in all things technology is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” then I’d recommend that you stick with your Windows 7 Machine (you are running Windows 7, right?) and look at Windows 10 when you are ready to purchase your next machine.

Ready to purchase your next machine now, and a pretty modest residential user as described above?

Probably a safe bet to go with Windows 10.

My Industry – the IT industry, is famous for, and pushing the envelope with respect to planned obsolesce and making both residential and commercial consumers feel like they are missing something if they don’t upgrade. The reality is, that every technological advance, be it Windows 10, a faster computer, new car, better TV, or new smartphone, MUST be met with the same conversation:

What can I do with this new “thing” tomorrow that will substantially improve my experience – enough to justify the acquisition of this technology? If you have a hard time answering that question, then you probably have answered your own question.

Case in point: I am writing this blog post while on vacation on a Windows 7 computer that is 6 years old and was originally purchased with XP. We traded it back from a client, put some more memory and a faster hard drive in it, and tada! I have the perfect vacation computer. Enough to browse the net, fire up Word, and type a thousand words or two.

When I am done, I’ll save my blog, email it for use next week when I return, and promptly start my Windows 10 upgrade. Why? Did I mention in the beginning that I’ve been in this business for nearly 20 years? What else did you expect – and how else can I tell you about all of the cool features in Windows 10 unless I load it myself?

Jason

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