Upgrading to Windows 10 could make future upgrades much smoother.

[Image of Windows logos]

[Image of Windows logos]

Last week we looked at one of the potential pitfalls for Windows 10 – that the new direction of Windows receiving feature upgrades in regular Windows updates where previously Windows only received security patches and bug fixes – leaves open the possibility of programs, and particularly accessibility programs, suddenly not working if a feature is introduced which isn’t compatible with those existing programs.

This week, I thought I’d flip things over and look at the other potential – that upgrading to Windows 10 could be the last “big” upgrade you need to do.

With any major software upgrade there is a learning curve. From Windows XP to 7, it arguably wasn’t too big – things had been redesigned and new features added, but overall if you were used to doing something a certain way, it was generally still similar. Windows 8 was much different from anything before so there was a big learning curve.  Also with any major upgrade, some programs won’t get upgraded and may never work on the new system, and others may need an upgrade of their own – with it’s own learning curve.

Windows 10 is coming back to something which looks and behaves more like a progression from Windows 7 – and looks like being a similar learning curve as say Windows XP to 7 was.

But what will happen after that? Well potentially things could be much easier – after all, if Microsoft decide to make changes to the interface, they will do so gradually, and introduce things one at a time – meaning that 3rd party program developers only need to cope with small changes at a time – not all of which will affect every program anyway. Similarly for users, if Microsoft move say the shut down feature to a whole new location (I wouldn’t be upset, where it is now in Windows 10, you have to open the start menu, choose Power which is the second option up, then Shut down which is the middle of three options), some people would find it straight away, others would need to ask someone, and others would give up and just press the power button on their computer (or leave the computer on overnight). If it was a feature which was really important and which lots of people just couldn’t find, then you would likely see articles about it in the newspaper, on the news, and all over social media as well, so the information about the change would filter through to most people. Even so, that’s one change. Over the next six months they might introduce new features which you don’t even notice, or which you do find and love instantly.

Microsoft learnt an important and expensive lesson with Windows 8 – that people don’t like large changes being thrust upon them when they were quite happy with how things were before. I would be surprised if they make that mistake again any time soon.

One of the big advantages of this new Windows 10 model, is not even something which will be appreciated straight away, but rather, as you use your computer, you’ll absorb the minor changes as they happen, and then a couple of years down the track, when it’s time to buy a new computer, you’ll go out and get one, take it home and turn it on… and it will look and behave exactly the same as the one you just upgraded from. – No more big learning curve! Plus, everything you had on your old computer last week, you can have on your brand new computer this week and it will continue to work exactly the same.

With those incremental changes, one point I raised last week, which will be attractive to some users, is that if you go for Windows 10 Professional ($199 USD to buy from scratch or $99 USD to upgrade from Windows 10 Home remembering that Windows 10 is a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8, for the same ‘level’ – eg if you have Windows 7 Professional now, you will get Windows 10 Professional), you can put off those incremental upgrades, so if you are worried about program compatibility, you can use the “branch for business” which is touted as being even more stable, and which will give companies a few months extra to ensure their software works before you are upgraded with those new features.

Previously, Microsoft have made beta releases of new versions of Windows available to anyone who wanted to test it and ensure their software worked on it, before the final version was made public. Then once the new version is released, the beta program closes and everyone uses the final version. With Windows 10, one thing Microsoft are doing differently to ever before, is continuing the “Windows Insider” program so users who wish to, can continue using beta versions of Windows, which basically means that the implementation process for new features will be:

– Microsoft come up with a feature (or like feedback users have provided on a new feature to implement).

– Microsoft build the new feature and test it in house with their own engineers and testers.

– Microsoft will roll the new feature out to “Windows Insiders”

– Microsoft will roll the new feature out to “Home” users.

– Microsoft will roll the new feature out to “Current branch for business” (Professional and some Enterprise) uses.

Along the way, each new feature will presumably only roll out to the next level, once Microsoft are satisfied with the stability and functionality among the current group of users.  They collect crash reports of any problems as well as feedback submitted by each group of users, so for users on the Professional version, each feature will have been through quite a bit of testing and been exposed to many users to ensure it’s stability, and of course companies (and individuals) have the opportunity to participate in the Windows Insiders program in which case they will keep up to date with new developers and have time to react, before changes  are rolled out to home or professional users.

So potentially after upgrading to Windows 10, particularly the pro version, but even home, you may find yourself only needing to note down small changes here and there and you may find your machine runs better and more stable than ever before.

In all likelyhood, the reality will probably fall somewhere between last week’s post and this one – For the most part I think most things SHOULD trundle along fairly smoothly through Microsoft’s updates, but I can envisage, not often but now and then, an upgrade which completely breaks something for a third party program you use, and which may not be fixed in time (whether it’s up to Microsoft or the 3rd party developer). If you do have a piece of software you rely on, whether it’s a screen reader, or a graphics editor or anything else, I’d recommend following the developers on social media – that way you can keep up with news regardless, and if there is a problem, they’ll usually let their followers know as soon as they are aware and can give advice on what to do or what their time frame for a fix is likely to be.

In terms of the initial upgrade to Windows 10, for most users, I’d reiterate that I would recommend waiting a couple of months before doing it (in terms of the free upgrade, you’ve got a year, until July 29 2016 to take advantage of it).

How do you think it will play out? What do you intend to do re upgrading?  Share your thoughts below!


3 thoughts on “Upgrading to Windows 10 could make future upgrades much smoother.

  1. I am looking forward to Windows 10 but will not be putting it on my main machine for a while, I will put it on my spare windows laptop that is 3 years old if it will work. Do you know how big the download will be?

    • I’ve run Windows 10 on a PC that never had anything newer than XP on it, and it works but it wouldn’t be pleasant. On your three year old machine it should be fine – just realised today my daily driver is five years old, and it works ok on this. As for the size, the current insider build in 2.76 GB for the x86 version and 3.74 GB for the x64 version – so I’d expect an something just under 4 GB at biggest (they will need it to fit on a DVD for those who download the ISO. Mind you that raises a whole new point – Windows updates can get big as it is, if they’re going to add features as well, then those on laptops with mobile wi-fi will need to be careful about watching their download limits!

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