Microsoft has recently released the latest version of its operating system (OS) for PCs – Windows 10 (let’s call it WinX).
This is the first time Microsoft is offering the upgrade for free to existing users of Windows 7 and 8 (until July 2016). They are intending to make upgrades to their OS less of a big deal in the future, giving it away and moving to a more automatic update format. Apple and Android have been following this model for years. It’s a good idea for the most part – keeping your OS up to date means it has the latest security & features.
Many of you may have seen a little notifier popping up on your PCs prompting you to reserve your free copy of WinX now. With great joy and vigor many of you have done just so. But is this a good idea?
Upgrading any Microsoft OS in the past has typically been an ordeal. You have to consider several things before you undertake an upgrade:
- Will the new OS have drivers that support my hardware (video card, sound card, etc.)? Often they don’t for older hardware (even systems a year old may not have drivers). Checking with your hardware vendor in advance is a good idea (for example going to the support website for Dell or HP and look to see if WinX drivers are available for your PC).
- Will it work with all my peripherals? Often you need specific OS drivers from Vendors to make these work. Check with your vendors in advance to be sure they are available for things like:
- Document Scanners
- Signature Pads
- Credit card scanners
- X-Ray systems (this is usually a HUGE problem – they lag far behind)
- Will the applications I own work on WinX? You need to check with each vendor in advance if they full support WinX. Many don’t immediately after the initial release.
- Practice Management Software (like Dolphin, Orthotrac, Dentrix, etc.)
- X-ray system software (like Romexis, Cliniview, Anatomage, etc.)
- Antivirus software (most need upgraded to support WinX)
- Backup software
- Even Microsoft Office (older versions are not fully supported)
- Will I have to retrain my staff? The changes in the user interface often give less adaptable staff fits.
Initial reviews of WinX are mixed. They’ve added some new features – most of which don’t matter to a Dental Specialty Practice. They’ve changed the look and feel of the Desktop and Start Menu system yet again (the Metro interface is gone thankfully). As with any new version of their OS, lots of little problems are being discovered as it rolls out to millions of users.
What would I do?
My personal opinion is to wait out the initial release (and I am not alone in this opinion). During this waiting period (probably 6 months) it gives Microsoft time to iron out the quirks, the hardware vendors have time to write the drivers, and the software vendors have time to test and patch their applications to better support it.
For your Home I’d say the risks of upgrading are pretty low if you have fairly recent hardware.
For the Practice I would definitely wait it out at least until the first major update (Windows 10.1 or is it Xi?).
If you have your heart set on jumping in, involve your IT person. They can do the checking for you and advise you on a pathway and any bumps in the road that might be expected.
Please subscribe to the blog to get a notice of when the next article is posted. Sign up to get updates by email as soon as we add them.
If you’d like a little help with evaluating your Windows 10 upgrade path please consider MME, it’s what we do. We can review your hardware and applications and take care of the IT steps to implement the OS upgrade (we are nerds after all). Just give us a call at 866-419-1102 or check us out online at www.mmeconsulting.com.