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Windows – The past and present

Microsoft generally tend to release good operating systems alternately with bad ones although many of the bad ones are eventually patched to make them at least acceptable. It’s become an almost comical conversation point between colleagues in the IT industry.

My experience started with Windows 3.11 back in the 90’s. That was a great operating system and many were shocked when Microsoft introduced the world to Windows 95. It was a drastically different user experience and was the first of its kind and introduced the START button. Prior to this, everything you needed could be found on the desktop within boxed groups of icons. Many people hated the new experience but, to make things worse, the operating system was inherently unstable.

Windows 95 was quickly replaced with a very successful Windows 98 which corrected many of the issues that plagued Windows 95. Many were sorry to see Windows 98 be replaced by Windows ME – Microsoft’s pattern of alternating operating success rates starts to emerge here as this short-lived platform had many issues and was replaced by Windows XP. Actually, there was another that more corporate people may recognise called Windows NT Workstation. This was the first to feature the more stable operating system that Windows XP was built on but it wasn’t widely used outside of corporate environments.

Windows XP, although loved by many for several years, actually started out as an operating system that crashed frequently. It was regularly patched with Windows updates and eventually became a very well respected system for many years.

Windows Vista came to ruin all Microsoft’s hard work. A more modern style of operating system with a change to the underlying infrastructure but it wasn’t until Windows 7 that this infrastructure was perfected. Like Windows XP before it, Windows 7 became a very stable and well-liked platform for many years.

With the advent of tablets such as Windows Surface, Androids and iPads, Microsoft attempted to move us all towards an environment of simple ‘tile’ shortcuts to programs with their introduction of Windows 8. Introducing this environment to desktop PCs and laptops was largely unpopular and proved to be a difficult operating system to navigate.


Windows 10

Enter Windows 10 – The operating system to repair the mistakes of Windows 8 and bring back a more useable desktop PC environment. It’s remarkably stable to say how recent the introduction is and the incompatibility issues are few and far between. That’s not to say there aren’t any but they are not as widespread as they have been with previous operating system releases. Microsoft appear to have put a lot of effort into this system as it was slated heavily for the previous Windows 8 usability issues. In order to regain the market share, Microsoft decided to break with tradition and offer a free upgrade to most users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs.

However, those who have taken up Microsoft’s offer of a free upgrade have experienced mixed results. Many have reported no issues at all – their upgrade proved to be as smooth as Microsoft suggested it would be. Unfortunately, the experience is not guaranteed and some users have needed support in order to recover their PCs from a failed upgrade. Obviously, a free upgrade is no longer “free” if you have to pay for support to recover your situation so here is my guide to deciding whether to upgrade your own PC:

  1. Usually, business PCs are replaced after 3 to 4 years. Therefore, if your PC is approaching this age then it may make more sense to stick with Windows 7 and upgrade to Windows 10 by purchasing a new PC – avoiding potential upgrade problems.
  2. If you would still like to upgrade to Windows 10, ensure you have a full disk image-based backup of your PC before you start. If you’re not sure about this then please ask us for guidance. We can assist you to reverse the process only if you have a suitable disk image-based backup.
  3. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REVERSE THE UPGRADE! There is a roll-back feature built-in to Windows 10. However, many of those who reported issues had upgraded to Windows 10 and decided to roll-back to Windows 8 or Windows 7 using this feature. Much better to use a full disk image-based backup such as our recommended Snapshot system.
  4. If your PC is part of an office network of PCs (particularly those with a domain controller) then it is likely that you will be unable to upgrade without IT support.
  5. Remember that you only have until the end of July 29th 2016 to take advantage of this free upgrade. Bear in mind that we are likely to become extremely busy as we approach this date. We can’t guarantee to fit you in before the expiry date so if you feel you want to upgrade then talk to us very soon!

 

It is important to note that Windows 7 and Windows 8 will continue to be supported by Microsoft (and us) for many years to come. It is not critical that you upgrade to Windows 10.

So, if you decide to upgrade then talk to us first or at least ensure you have an adequate backup should things go wrong. If you decide not to upgrade then you may like to see our previous blog that describes a method of removing Microsoft’s prompts to upgrade to Windows 10. Again – if you’re unsure, please speak to us.

 

Get in touch by calling 0115 824 0825 or contact us via our website.

 

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Article by: Eddie Palmer
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