Down to the Wire on Windows 10
Free upgrades to Windows 10 expire soon on July 29th. What does that mean for non-profits and charities?
For many of us, Microsoft Windows is a big part of how we work. Even if we're Mac users at home, offices and networked groups tend to use the Windows operating system. If you're alive and on Planet Earth right now, then you're inevitably aware that Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 10. This has been the cause of much complaint and annoyance to many - the endless pop-ups, the flashing warnings, the ominous deadlines...
We're a non-profit, not a big tech company. So why should we care?
Keeping your costs down
In the not-for-profit world we all keep a close eye on our budgets, and we're always looking to make our expenditures worth it. Well, upgrading to Windows 10 will save money in two ways:
- You won't have to pay to operate Windows 10 later - it is free for any device that upgrades before the deadline, and will remain free on that device forever.
- If you upgrade your current computer, you won't have to buy a new one soon - buying new gear is always an investment. Now you can be sure to get more mileage out of your current machine.
According to Microsoft, the free upgrade is only available until July 29th (this Friday!). After this upgrade period ends, Windows 10 will cost $7/month as a subscription - that's right, a subscription - or $119 for home users paying for a licence. Pro users will be charged $199.
As yet, we don't know if there will be a grace period, or an extension, or even a discount on upgrades for non-profits.
Keeping your productivity up
Windows 10 really will help you work better - increased work efficiency and better work-flow are always welcome! Getting this great set of new tools and functions all for free is a deal we should all be getting on board with.
Windows 10 delivers on all the things Windows 8 left us frustrated with. Things like the totally-improved search function, the return of the Start menu, no more crazy App screens, and even getting rid of that pesky right-side-of-the-screen-menu.
A higher-grade operating system will help your hardware live longer by using new processes that don't tax your computer's CPU and memory as much. You'll be able to keep your current computers functioning longer, and have them supported longer.
Keeping your work secure
If the only thing holding you back from upgrading to W10 is your love of Windows 7 (or Windows 8 if you really loved it), you're doing yourself a disservice. You will upgrade your software and apps - like the newest versions of Microsoft Word and Outlook, or your web browser, or your database software - why not make sure your operating system is up to the task of running and protecting those programs?
The biggest risk in not upgrading is leaving your device more vulnerable to malware, SPAM/phishing, even hacking. If you're serious about data security, you'll want to have in place a system that is being actively supported with updates and security roll-outs. Windows 7 will cease to be supported entirely by 2020.
Keeping your work-flow moving
If you're worried about the upgrade interrupting your work-flow with endless updates and a huge tech nightmare, you can breathe easy: it's not that hard to do.
We started our conversions early, so there were some fits and starts back then. Now that Windows and every hardware manufacturer has rolled out new patches to manage the upgrade software better, we were able to upgrade the last of our networked devices quickly and seamlessly just this last week.
If you're just one or two computers, you could do this yourself** in a fairly short time - Windows 8 to Windows 10 take less time than Windows 7 will. Windows 7 users should install all recommended updates for Windows 7 first, and then initiate Windows 10 upgrades. All in all, a couple of hours should do it, with mostly waiting for the computer to install and load the updates taking that time. You don't have to do much yourself.
Do not initiate the upgrade without first making a backup of your data. If you're not already backing up your data, you really should.
If you have a network of computers, or if you're not confident in your own computer skills, have an IT professional on-deck to assess your needs or to supervise the update.