With recent security issues still making headlines there’s plenty of talk for the need to be moving to Windows 10. CCM provides some insight into likely drivers moving from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.
From a usability viewpoint Windows 10 should be more familiar to those who have used earlier versions of Windows, especially Windows 7 or XP. The reintroduction of the Start menu to replace the tiles desktop in Windows 8.1 will be welcomed by many.
Reasonable adjustments of font, colours etc. has been a challenge on Windows 8.1, with Microsoft admitting that some settings changes will only be possible with a move to Windows 10. There will be workers in every organisation that will find benefit from this in their day-to-day activity. Windows 10 also provides improved support for touch devices such as tablets and laptops, which have been widely adopted for mobility solutions. Furthermore Windows 10 also introduces the Microsoft digital assistant Cortana to desktops and laptops.
Windows as a Service
The most significant change for most organisations with Windows 10 is the move away from large upgrade programmes to a new version, and to an “Evergreen” approach. Microsoft position Windows 10 as “the last version of Windows they will ever release.” What this means is twice yearly “little and often” feature releases to upgrade the operating system. Organisations will need to have a clear process in place to manage as part of their Service Transition and support model for Windows 10. Be aware the term “little” in this context is relative to a full scale upgrade – it can still be a significant release.
Long Term Servicing Branch
As well as the Current Branch and Current Branch for Business, Microsoft also provide a Long Term Servicing Branch for specialist mission critical systems. This has less frequent changes so on the face of it may appear attractive. There are a number of implications of adopting this, which mean it will not be a viable option for many organisations. Microsoft guidance is if Office (including Outlook) is used on a machine then it is not a candidate for Long Term Servicing Branch.
A number of additional security measures are introduced with Windows 10 for devices, identities, data and applications. These include “Windows Hello for Business” for Biometric authentication using face, iris or fingerprint recognition. This can be configured to use a PIN, as well fingerprint readers on laptops (Microsoft maintain a list of those supported). And Microsoft Edge as a new faster and safer browser for Windows 10.
Windows 10 introduces the Windows Store for Business as an alternative approach to making applications available to their workforce. The more traditional solution for applications distribution using SCCM remains fully supported, and many organisations may choose to remain with this with an upgrade to SCCM 2016 recommended to manage Windows 10 machines. Many organisations have discovered to their cost during previous Windows upgrades that there is a significant effort and cost involved in ensuring their applications will work on the new version. While many commercial applications are supported on Windows 10, there will be work required to package and test critical applications on the new platform.
Microsoft state that any machine capable of running Windows 8.1 will be able to run Windows 10. Given the size and scale of a Windows upgrade programme, many organisations will consider using this opportunity to refresh desktops, laptops and tablets that are reaching the end of their serviceable life. With the advent of new chipsets meaning new laptops, tablets and desktops will only be able to run Windows 10, it would be wise to understand how this roadmap aligns with any future plans to purchase new machines.
Moving to Windows 10 – where to find out more
While overall the differences do not seem significant, there are a number of factors to build into your planning when considering a move to Windows 10. This is a key and necessary milestone for your Windows platform, that your entire workforce will rely on every working day. If you would like to know more about how we can help you with moving to Windows 10, please get in touch.
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Read our previous blog: Migrate to Windows 10 within a year.