Are you ready for Windows 10? Should you be? Organizations often underestimate the planning phases for major IT initiatives. An OS migration can be a huge task and every organization will need to deal with Windows 10 at some point. Research Analysts at Gartner recommend at least 12-18 months to prepare for an organization’s migration. Add to that the fact that Windows 7 is planned to go End of Life (EOL) in next 3+ years and Windows 8 in the next 6+ years and you can see why starting your planning now for Windows 10 is critical.
However, the payoff could well be worth it – both to IT and to your end users.
Windows 10 was designed for an enhanced personal computing experience and improved security while also supporting devices ranging from desktops and laptops, tablets, phones, Surface, Microsoft HoloLens to the Xbox One and more. The good news is, even though several significant new features are available in Windows 10, an organization and its end-users should be able to quickly benefit from a Windows 10 migration.
We’ve compiled a list of the significant new Windows 10 features that can help you in your evaluation:
Security – Windows 10 is built focusing more on security. Here are a few features: Windows Hello provides an enhanced version of Biometric based login, Microsoft Passport helps in enabling 2 factor authentication, Credential guard is designed to protect credential theft and many more. More details on the new security features in Windows 10 can be found here.
User Interface – The Start Menu is the most obvious addition. Just as in Windows 7 and other versions before it, the Start Menu and its functions remain the same, but this is not your father’s Start Menu. It is highly customizable enough that you can resize it, pin traditional and modern apps, or simply have it match the color of your desktop wallpaper. Another new end-user interface feature is the Task View button that sits on the taskbar. The Task View feature finally brings integrated virtual desktops to Windows – giving Windows end-users what Linux and Mac users have had for a long time.
Cortana is the new Windows 10 personal assistant. Cortana provides a more dynamic and personalized experience in Windows 10. The more an end-user interacts and engages with Cortana, the greater assistance Cortana may provide. In business-use, Cortana is able to schedule appointments, find files, and manage your calendar. You may want to consider how Cortana can be integrated with your back office services so as to improve end user efficiency when searching for corporate content.
Microsoft Edge is the new web browser from Microsoft. Though Edge is designed to be a lightweight web browser, there are a few things you might want to know prior to making the jump to Microsoft Edge in your organization. Edge does not support many legacy Internet Explorer-specific technologies. As an example, ActiveX and Browser Helper Objects (BHO) are not supported by Microsoft Edge. This may make Edge unsuitable for those who use web applications or sites which require legacy IE technologies. One possible solution to this issue from Microsoft is to run Microsoft Edge in Enterprise Mode. For defined business sites, Microsoft can then automatically launch Internet Explorer 11 with the features needed to support your application. For more information on this feature please visit here.
Windows Store – In another attempt to make the Metro interface work in a more traditional Windows way, apps downloaded from the Windows Store can now be re-sized and include title bars so you can minimize and maximize them, giving you more flexibility with how apps can be displayed.
These apps will also work directly across platforms, so the same program will run on your computer, tablet, phone and Xbox One. End-users who have upgraded to Windows 8.1 will find this capability familiar but this will be a very new addition for those still using Windows 7.
In addition, you may want to consider taking advantage of a Corporate App Store for your Windows 10 users to simplify self-service app delivery.
Tablet Mode – While Microsoft has made Windows 10 easy for end-users who are familiar with older versions of Windows, it has not forgotten about the end-users who are eager to use their new touchscreen-optimized features. For these users, there is a dedicated tablet mode that effectively makes the Start Menu go full screen and runs all apps in full screen as well. Hybrid devices allow end-users a more dynamic experience of modes. Users can switch between tablet and desktop modes automatically and engage with applications in more optimized ways.
As you plan your rollout of Windows 10, the tablet-friendly mode gives you greater flexibility in device selection – letting you match the right form factor to each user’s workstyle – while letting you deploy the same operating system to all device types.
New Editions of Windows – There are several different editions of Windows 10 that you may consider in preparation for an OS migration. These editions include:
This quick summary of Windows 10’s new features can help you imagine what life would be like for your end users as they fully take advantage of Windows 10. In our next blog, we’ll examine some of the options you have in migrating to Windows 10 or click here for more information on planning your Windows 10 Migration.