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So, can I upgrade to Windows 10?
Hi everyone, I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com.
It’s a common question I’ve been getting of late. My original recommendation was that you wait a couple of months after Windows 10 formal release and then make a decision after waiting, like I said, at least a couple of months.
I’m recording this at the end of September 2015. It’s been a couple of months. What’s the state of the universe? It’s complicated. There’s still no simple answer. I want to go over some of the issues I have still with Windows 10 and the reason that I can’t recommend it as a blanket upgrade for everybody just yet.
First, after seeing a number of people upgrade to Windows 10, I have to say that there are, I’ll call it an above-expected number of problems with the upgrade itself. Many people have upgraded, and it’s working just fine. Every upgrade that I’ve done personally has worked just fine, but I’ve been hearing from folks that actually go through the upgrade process and end up with a machine that is not working properly in some fashion.
Most common are things like external devices that aren’t supported by Windows 10 – printers being a big one. That makes it very difficult for me to just say, “Upgrade” because there is the possibility that you could, especially on slightly older machines, run into some compatibility and performance issues that you might not have expected from an upgrade at this time.
My expectation was that Windows 10 was going to be very similar to Windows 8.1 in terms of compatibility and support, and that turns out to be slightly less than true – just not quite as true, not quite the same, as the same as Windows 8.1 as I was expecting, and that’s unfortunate.
The other big issue that’s come up since Windows 10 was released is, of course, the whole issue relating to privacy.
When you install or upgrade Windows 10, you’re accepting an End User Agreement that actually allows, apparently, a fair amount of your data, your information, to be shared with Microsoft and/or its partners. Now, it’s unclear exactly what happens with that data, or how much data, in fact, they are collecting and using. That’s part of the problem.
Now, I’ve posted a couple of articles on installing Windows 10 and adjusting the privacy settings at the time of installation, and also going back in and adjusting the privacy settings on an existing installation of Windows 10. Unfortunately, the overall sense is that we’re still not 100% certain exactly what Microsoft is doing with this, and they aren’t necessarily being clear.
So, the privacy issue tends to be something that, again, it’s not a deal breaker for me, but it definitely causes me second thoughts and makes it difficult for me to just provide that blanket recommendation that yep, it’s time to upgrade. – It’s not.
So privacy, in general, is something that you’re going to have to weigh when the time comes to upgrade to Windows 10. I will say that there are issues, apparently, with both Windows 7 and Windows 8 where some of the privacy changes that have happened for Windows 10 are being implemented in Windows 7 and Windows 8. updates.
So, that may not be something that you can avoid simply by avoiding Windows 10, but the point is that there is a large issue here, and what I really want is for Microsoft to do two things: One, come clean. Be clear. Tell us what information they’re sharing; why they’re sharing it; what they’re doing with it. Just be open about the process.
And second, give us more control. We have a lot of the user interface that is dedicated to privacy. That’s fantastic. I really appreciate that. But I don’t have the confidence that says it really is everything. And that’s something that I think Microsoft needs to address. So until those kinds of things get addressed, again, it makes me kind of reluctant to just sort of make this blanket recommendation that it’s time.
The third issue doesn’t really have so much to do with Windows 10 functionality as it does with Microsoft’s tactics. And that is that if you’re running Windows 7 or you’re running Windows 8.1, it is very possible that Windows 10 has already been downloaded to your machine whether or not you asked for it.
Now, like I said, that has nothing to do with Windows 10’s functionality, whether it will work for you, whether it’s going to be compatible with your hardware and so on. Unfortunately, it speaks to Microsoft’s tactics. They really, really want everyone to install Windows 10. I kinda sorta get that, but I really, really resent the huge download, the disk space that’s taken up, the amount of bandwidth that’s been taken up to make that happen in order for them to push Windows 10 as hard as they possibly can.
That adds to my reluctance to make this blanket recommendation that it’s time to upgrade. It has nothing to do with Windows 10’s functionality; this really has to do with more Microsoft’s tactics that I find rather frustrating.
So, what’s the bottom line recommendation? Well, it boils down to this: If you’re running Windows XP or if you’re running Windows Vista, it’s time to upgrade. The question is what do you want to upgrade to? I would recommend that you upgrade, at least, to Windows 7, possibly to Windows 10 if you’re willing to accept the issues that we’ve talked about so far.
The thing you must do regardless, especially since these are older machines typically running XP or Vista, is you must back up your machine, and I don’t just mean back up your data, I mean a complete image backup of the machine, so that after upgrading to Windows 10, if you decide that the upgrade has failed for you, that it’s not working for you, that there’s something wrong with it or something that you don’t like, you can restore that image backup and go back to exactly where you were before you tried the upgrade.
So, XP and Vista users, yea, it’s starting to get time to thinking about upgrading. It’s just not clear to what. Now, if you’re running Windows 7, or if you’re running Windows 8.1, and you are “happy” then I’d recommend staying exactly where you are right now. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken. If Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 are working well for you, keep on keeping on. They’re both supported, they’re both good operating systems, and they will be supported for some time to come. There’s no rush to go to Windows 10 if you’re in that situation.
Now, if you’re unhappy with 8.1, then obviously you can go either way. You can downgrade to 7 or you can upgrade to 10. If you’re going to do that, I recommend to try the upgrade to 10. And my admonition to back up applies here as well. Make sure you take an image backup first, so that if you get to Windows 10, and you find that it doesn’t solve your pet problems with Windows 8.1 or it’s not compatible with your hardware, you’ve go the opportunity to easily revert back to what you had before and you’re no worse off.
So, for everybody else, when can we upgrade to Windows 10? Well, again, there’s no rush. There really is no rush. If what you have is working for you, then I actually don’t recommend upgrading at all. I don’t recommend doing it any time soon. There’s just no reason.
Now, in July the free offer for a Windows 10 upgrade goes away, so at a minimum, we’ll talk again in July of 2016. At that point we can make the decision as to whether or not that free upgrade is something you want to take advantage of or you want to postpone. There are ways and techniques that we’ll talk about when that time comes. My guess is the landscape is going to change a little bit between now and then, and they may even have more incentives, more offers that we can take advantage of for the folks that have delayed installing Windows 10 until that time.
Again, if you just can’t wait, take a backup first, by all means.
Now, to put a timeframe, to put a more concrete timeframe on it, like I said, there’s no need to rush; you can certainly wait until July, but what if you want to upgrade. What if you really do intend to upgrade but just want to do it at a more reasonable, more stable time than today.
My original recommendation was based on waiting for two months after Windows 10’s formal release. Well, that’s right about now, and I can’t make that recommendation; I just can’t. So I’m going to push it out two more months. In other words, now towards the end of November 2015, it will be time to re-evaluate whether or not Windows 10 makes sense for the majority to upgrade to. Until then, we’ll see what happens. Things could change. There will be fixes. I’m hoping that they’ll address some of the privacy concerns.
I’m not convinced that they will, but at a minimum, if things get more stable then sure, we’ll talk about whether or not at the end of November, it becomes the right time to do so.
One last little scenario that I do want to address that I didn’t address earlier, and that is if you get a new machine. If you get a new machine and it comes with Windows 10, take Windows 10. It really is a fine operating system, particularly on new hardware where you know that it’s compatible with everything you’re getting.
Yes, the privacy issues are concerning, and I’ll point you to those articles to adjust the privacy settings in Windows 10 as it comes on your new machine. But in terms of being a functional, usable operating system, actually it is pretty good. I’m pretty happy with it so far, as long as it’s compatible also with the software that you care about.
So, what’s your experience with Windows 10? Have you used it yet? Have you installed yet? How was the install process? Did it work for you? Are you happy with Windows 10? Did it fail for you? How did it fail and what did you do? What are plans? Are you going to wait for November? Are you going to wait for July? Are you going to switch to Linux? Let me know in the comments down below.
Again, as usual, there’s a link to this article on askleo.com where you’ll find moderated comments and the transcript for this video. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Until next week, I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com. See you then.