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Do NOT Upgrade Your Business PC to Windows 10 Yet

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There are several things that you must have right first. Of course you don’t have to have them right and you can ignore this warning and just go ahead and upgrade – your call. But I’m wanting to save you money so listen up!

I have now upgraded more than 10 machines including touch and non-touch laptops, various tablets, multiple screen PCs, single screen PCs, virtual machines and from a variety of Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 tech preview existing installs. None have had issues that couldn’t be solved. But there are some warnings in the list below. So either read carefully before proceeding or call us to manage tour upgrades in the best possible way to avoid disruption to your staff and customers.

Licensing – General Information

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Windows 10 is free to upgrade from qualifying Windows 7 or 8 versions. The version you are currently licensed with in Windows 7 or 8 is what will map to the version in Windows 10. The information provided by Microsoft is difficult to clearly figure out what is and isn’t the right way to do it – licensing has never been easy to understand and it’s still not. This website tells us exactly what is and isn’t qualifying, what it means for OEM licences.

Business licensing

Businesses should always be using the correct licence. Unfortunately many business owners go and buy a machine from a major retailer that is not correctly licensed for business. A home premium edition of Windows 7 or 8 will not translate into a Windows 10 Pro licence, and all businesses should be using Windows 10 Pro, not home. I won’t go into the significant differences here, but essentially to upgrade will require you to pay for the right license at some point. Either before upgrade, or after.

Installing v Upgrading

Upgrading an existing machine will use approx. 20 GB drive space, download approx. 3.5GB of data and is completely reversible. The process itself installs the operating system side by side so reverting to the old system can be done very quickly if there is a failure or some other reason to revert. The benefits include keeping all your existing programs and data, most settings and personalisation exactly the way they were before. The cons are the same. You may want a clean slate!

There is a tool that can be used to upgrade multiple machines with only a single download. This can be installed on a USB key and used to either upgrade or install machines.

A fresh install is possible, but requires a valid license to install. The product key isn’t needed – it just validates online afterwards.

User Accounts

This is probably the most important reason for businesses NOT TO UPGRADE to Windows 10 just yet.

If you are a standalone PC user who doesn’t have office 365 then ignore this section. If you have Office 365 or a server or business network DO NOT IGNORE THIS.

Authentication and security is one of the biggest reasons to use Windows 10. For businesses one of their single biggest points of risk is cyber security, stolen or hacked passwords, unauthorised access, crypto virus attacks, and other security threats. Can you imagine calling your insurance broker to advise that your staff members corporate laptop or phone has been lost or stolen and having this conversation?

  1. Is there confidential information on that device, e.g. email, customer data, credit card information, passwords or unsecure access to corporate data systems?
  2. Is the hard drive encrypted?
  3. Can it be remotely wiped?

It’s likely you answered Yes, No and No respectively. If so you may be in a lot of trouble. Possibly the best case scenario is that all that happens is that you get a massive premium hike. Worst case – they might refuse to accept a claim and if someone uses that information you could face a court case for failure to protect private information, being audited by your bank for your merchant processes, and potentially having your merchant facilities reviewed or cancelled (imagine trading without an EFTPOS machine).

Windows 10 is designed from the ground up to be more secure, and there are lots of new advancements. Some of these will not be noticeable until new hardware supporting it comes out in the future.

So the first thing most people are faced with when upgrading is to provide a user account and password. The big question is which one do you use?

You have potentially 4 choices

  • Microsoft Account (default)
  • Office 365 Account
  • Local domain account
  • Local machine account

Knowing which one and why, and how, is what you pay me to do for you. This is a complex situation with the answers specific to each business so I won’t explain the differences here. Call me to upgrade!

Compatibility

Probably the biggest concern people have is, ”will my programs still work on Windows 10?” the answer is more than likely yes. Very old written for DOS or Windows 95 programs probably won’t work, but then they probably didn’t work on Windows 7 or 8 either. The upgrade process runs a compatibility check ensuring that applications and drivers are compatible. Generally they are. See the next section for exceptions.

Hardware

There are a number of exceptions to compatibility relating to hardware.

First of all let me say that generally if a machine was able to run Windows 7 or 8 it will be able to run Windows 10. This means that machines that are using Intel Gen 2 and 3 chipsets and motherboards are able to be given a new lease of life. And of course Gen 4 and the new Gen 5 chips are going to work. (Similarly with AMD but we generally don’t recommend or sell AMD CPUs and motherboards.)

How to find your chipset generation

Open My PC (Win + E keys) Right click My PC and go to properties. You should see this screen. The number after the Core TM ix (3/5/7) is the key. If it starts with a 2 its Gen 2, a 3, Gen 3, a 4, Gen 4, and 5 is the current latest chipset. Mine below is a Core i7 4771 so a Gen 4 machine.windows 10

The difficulties start with age and manufacture support. New machines will have manufacture support with drivers built for the Windows 10 OS released on their support websites. Older machines may but often don’t and very old machines definitely won’t. This isn’t generally an issue. Most essential motherboard drivers are updated by Microsoft via Windows update anyway. It is only very hardware specific drivers like built in webcams, Bluetooth and old Wi-Fi systems that might stop working. If you have an old machine (old is more Gen 3 or older and is likely on an old motherboard) than definitely contact us first.

Video Cards

The other specific issue I have encountered a number of times is with video card drivers. If you don’t have a separate video card ignore this section. NVidia have released new drivers for all their supported cards which is most going back a long way. I found drivers for 6 year old cards. The Windows 10 upgrade will drop the Windows 7/8 drivers and revert to a standard Microsoft one. Thus you will see the screen but in very low resolution and generally no multiple monitor support. The solution is to download the new drivers (preferably before you do the upgrade because of Java issues (see next section)).

Java

Oh how I hate Java! And I'm not alone. Chrome also hates it – and IE puts up with it. It seems Firefox is the only browser that really likes it. Windows 10 will probably mean an un-install and reinstall of Java. And to do it means using IE not Edge, the new browser in Windows 10. And of course Windows makes Edge the default browser when doing the upgrade. This is becoming a rant – but we now have a process to manage this for you if needed.

Contact us now to plan your upgrade to Windows 10.

How to not get ripped off when buying a “new” PC or laptop

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“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” Aldo Gucci.

This has never been any different in the past and probably won’t change in the future. And there are many companies out there offering up bargains on PCs and Laptops and tablets for those who don’t understand this age old maxim.

Before you go and buy a bargain for you, your school child or worse your business, please talk to us! I won’t charge you to advise you on your potential purchases. And of course if you are a business owner who we have developed a digital strategy for then of course we are doing this for you anyway.

See the section above about finding the chipset of your PC. The same chipset number system should be specified in the units being sold. I went and scanned the major computer retailers in Australia today for their lowest priced computers and laptops. It’s pretty safe to say that buying anything under $500 for a desktop and %700 for a laptop is a waste of time. You are likely purchasing something that has a 2nd or 3rg gen (in same cases even older) chip. While the unit is brand new this chip was manufactured possibly more than 5 years ago. It was not designed for today’s software or usage.

My recommendation is to always buy the most current chipset. The machines life then is measured in actual years from date of purchase and could be 4-5 and not by adding 2-4 years to that date and having an effective life of 2-3 years. Example, 6 years ago I bought a PC with the most expensive bleeding edge new Gen 3 chip I could find. That machine is still running solidly today (it has run nonstop almost 100% of that time) and is still going to be good for another 2-3 years. The investment at that point meant the machine hasn’t had to be replaced 3-4 years after purchase but will last twice as long. And it didn’t cost twice as much.

Talk to us about your device upgrade and replacement strategy today. Better yet let us develop a digital strategy for your business.

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As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

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