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It’s been released for over a month now, but is all the hype about Windows 10 worth it? Should businesses be scrambling to upgrade their computers to the new flagship Microsoft OS? What about Windows 8.1? Windows 10 is much more usable than Windows 8 or 8.1 and proudly offers a bundle of new features, including improved security, a new browser, and the voice-activated intelligent assistant Cortana. It will also be continually upgraded as part of Microsoft’s “Windows as a service” effort.

We’ve provided a quick breakdown of what to expect in Windows 10.

  1. Ease of Use: For those of us who rely on a mouse and keyboard, Windows 10’s ease of use rates right up there with Windows 7 and is light-years ahead of Windows 8/8.1. For the touch crowd Windows 10 works as well as Windows 8.1. There’s a learning curve with touch, along with disappointing limitations, no matter which version of Windows you currently use.
  2. Compatibility:  Windows 10 boots faster, works faster and seems much more robust than either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1. In our testing at Partek, we haven’t experienced any problems with drivers or programs that run on Windows 8/8.1.
  3. Start Menu: Windows 10’s signature new feature, of course, is the return of the more traditional Start menu. The new Start menu combines a severely stripped-down version of the Windows 7 Start menu with a mouse-friendly field of Windows 8-like tiles. If you’re coming from Windows 7, the left side of the Start menu will look vaguely familiar, but the Windows 10 version is much less flexible than the Windows 7 version. In Windows 10, you can’t create custom menu items, build cascading menus, or pin your own apps, files, or locations to the Start menu. You only get a fixed set of 10 apps that can be pinned to the bottom-left side of the menu, along with File Explorer and Settings, which can be removed.
  4. Cortana: The introduction of Microsoft’s personal assistant, Cortana,  is starting to become viable.  If you’re willing to let Microsoft look at your activities, the potential for Cortana help extends into every interaction you have with Windows.
  5. Windows 7 to 10 Advantages: If you’re upgrading from Windows 7 directly to 10, you can take advantage of many Windows 8-era ease-of-use improvements, including: a better Task Manager, more functional File Explorer, Storage Spaces to manage all of your drives in a group, File History, built-in antivirus, and the considerable behind-the-scenes improvements in Windows 8.

In conclusion, Windows 10 does what it set out to do: Bring the Windows 7-style interface into the tiled universe. It is, in many ways, what Windows 8 should’ve been. It has all the advancements from Windows 8 — security, stability, power saving, and on and on — with much of the Windows 7 interface fully integrated. Windows 10 makes the old-fashioned desktop an integral part of the product, instead of an accidental tag-along, as it was in Windows 8 and, to a lesser degree, Windows 8.1. If you’re a Windows 8 or 8.1 user, the upgrade probably makes sense. If you’re a Windows 7 user, sit back and wait a few months for some of the rolling updates to apply. Microsoft is expected to release an early Service Pack in October with some improvements. Our advice – wait for that, then give us a call to determine if it makes sense for your business.