So it’s almost July 29th – Do you know what that means? No, not that the lazy days of summer are just slipping through our fingers like slurry cake batter (well, maybe that too). It means that you just have a few more days to upgrade to Windows 10 if you have been holding out. After that upgrading to 10 will cost a sweet $300 for an operating system that everybody, including your grandmother got for free.
Wait a minute, does that mean there are actually PC users out there that still haven’t upgraded to Windows 10? What normal, sane computer user would opt out of a free upgrade to stick with an older OS? C’mon, get with the times and move over to the PC OS of the future.
Sounds like it should be a no brainer, right?
But hold the horses, before you go judging your fellow PC users and assume they have a penchant for antiquated tech or are just tragically uncool, they might actually have some very solid reasons for sticking with older Windows models like Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 (that’s the one where Redmond realized how annoyed everyone was with the the new design and layout that 8 heralded, so they created a “7 within 8” setup called 8.1) In fact, it turns out that barely 17 percent of Internet users are using Windows 10, which, truthful is making Microsoft pretty annoyed. If you’re still on the fence or know someone who hasn’t upgraded and you simply can’t figure out why, it turns out that there are some pretty compelling reasons to stick with the old.
If you have been tossing and turning, with no sleep in sight because you just can’t figure out whether or not to upgrade before it’s too late (please, please skip the insomnia, it’s really not worth it) here is some food for thought.
One caveat: Our goal isn’t to dissuade you from upgrading. It’s simply to help you understand what you’re losing and gaining with both sides in terms of security, privacy and functionality. So here goes:
10 is great but it’s no game changer. Don’t assume that Cortana or Edge will change your life or even your browsing experience. Chances are, if you haven’t upgraded by now, you know that new and flashy features don’t always equal more or better functionality.
Windows 10 is data-hungry. Win10 is a virtual data diner. With those flashy features like the above mentioned Cortana, Edge and the sweeping Terms of Service, (which, if you choose the “express install” option, will hand over all your information to MS and whoever else they deem worthy – or whoever is the highest bidder), Windows asks users (albeit super-subtly) to divulge huge amounts of personal information in an unprecedented manner. For the privacy-minded among us, this new direction is more than a bit disconcerting and has us raising our eyebrows.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Hey, if you’re running 7, 8, or 8.1 and are perfectly happy with it, why go chasing waterfalls just because you get terribly annoying, bordering-on-intrusive notifications to upgrade from MS every half a day? Think about it – you’re happy with the functionality you get in your current environment. You love using your Chrome or Firefox browsers and the thought of using Bing for search is simply annoying. You love the sparkling setup of your desktop and all your neatly arranged and ordered files and folders and you just don’t feel like turning everything on its head. So don’t!
Speaking of those notifications… Back to those creepy notifications. Did they remind you of intrusive adware? Yeah, us too. Microsoft, we trust you to be one of the good guys but blasting us with non-stop notifications along with your data chomping tendencies is making us nervous…
July 29th might not be the end. Yes, they do make a note of reminding us with every notification that the free upgrade will be ending on July 29th, 2016 but MS officials have been less definitive in their statements regarding “the end”.
Sad but true, your PC won’t be around that much longer. On average PCs last about 3-5 years before they begin to show their true age considerably. Since chances are you’ll need to get a new one by the time extended support for Windows 7 ends in 2020 and Windows 8 in 2023 ends, if you’re happy with whatcha got now, you might as well keep and and deal with Windows 10 and all its ramifications on your next model.
No Windows Media Player. If all your music and movies use Windows Media Player and you’re happy with that option, you probably know by now that it’s not supported in Win10 so you’ll need to find a new player, which is just simply annoying.
On the other hand, there are some compelling reasons you might want to take this last (supposedly, anyway) opportunity to upgrade:
Boasts upgraded security features. With features like Secure Boot, which allows only approved executables to run, Device Guard which blocks zero-day attacks and the new Edge browser which blocks all potentially malicious executables like VBscript, toolbars and ActiveX updates that were all so common in earlier versions, Windows 10 is better at keeping you safe from hackers and scammers than earlier versions were.
Cortana, personal assistant, at your service. Sure she is on a diet consisting of your data only, but you might find that you like having a personal assistant to whom you can ask wacky or even useful questions like “ Hey Cortana, what was the first cheese manufactured in Denmark?”or “Hey Cortana, what time is my meeting with Peters?” (Just remember that all these questions are stored on servers back in Redmond. What will they do with your info? Well that’s anybody’s guess…)
Win 10 wants to be a password-killer. The new “Hello” feature is aimed at making the ever-problematic password obsolete by incorporating biometric feature including scanning users faces, irises and fingertips. Passwords are often times the weakest link when it comes to security and MS proposes to dump them altogether to use a better option.
Here at RCS, some of us have upgraded to Win10 and totally love the additional features and would never consider going back to an older OS. And some (like yours truly) are staunch holdouts, clinging to our older yet oh-so-much more privacy-minded OS and see no “reason” to make the switch.
Whatever you do in the end, the most important thing is to make sure you aren’t blindly handing your data over to all takers. Reading through any and all Terms of Service and Privacy Statements on all software you install, including new operating systems, is one of the most critical things you MUST do to maintain the security and privacy of your data. Sure, it might take an entire work day to read and understand what you are signing up for and to find out if there is anything you can do to minimize the destruction, but honestly, it’s well worth it.
A note to keep in mind is that even if you have already read through a company’s TOS, understand that they, by design, change aspects rapidly. Each time a company changes their TOS, the end user is automatically set back to the standard agreement settings, regardless of what the end user checked off or on while setting up the policy. This allows companies to get the most information out of even their savviest users though if you have Unchecky enabled, it would keep your check boxes clear, preventing you from losing your settings. Oh, and by the way, RCS works brilliantly on all Windows from XP through 10, guarding your PC from all malware and other security and privacy suckers.
So should you upgrade before it’s too late? Well that’s entirely up to you but now at least you know that you don’t need to lose any sleep over it.