It does not seem that long ago that IT departments were battling with upgrading PCs from Windows XP to Windows 7, as Microsoft finally pulled the plug for support on the legacy operating system.
Now it is the turn of Windows 7, which has become almost a de facto PC standard for end user computing. This is mainly down to the absolute flop that was Windows 8. The idea of trying to push a touch-screen optimised user interface without a start menu button into enterprise IT, probably seems ludicrous now. But that is exactly what Microsoft tried to do with Windows 8. Businesses stuck with what they knew: Windows 7. And now, as those still on Windows 7, start counting down the days before January 14 2020, many see Windows 10 as the only route forward.
Yes it does have a start menu, but it is certainly not simply a more modern Windows 7. The radical change Microsoft introduced with Windows 10, is that it manages the operating system updates – not corporate IT.
Auto-updates keep Windows 10 fresh
Microsoft promises there will no longer be big bang, high risk roll-outs of new Windows operating system. Instead, users will receive fresh features on an ongoing basis, twice a year.
Why would this not be a good idea?
There are plenty of reasons. Which IT admin would entrust Microsoft for the reliability of the updates that impact an entire PC estate, potentially spanning thousands of machines? After all, it is an approach that works on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems.
But one only has to look on the app store to read of horror stories of apps that used to work until Google or Apple updated their respective OSes. Windows is far worse because Windows claims backwards compatibility. Enterprise software providers do not have to rush out a new version of their applications to support the latest Windows OS if their software will run on an older version in so-called “compatibility mode”. But as anyone who has undertaken application compatibility testing will appreciate, just because something should be compatible in theory, does not mean it works when deployed.
Even something as ubiquitous as Google Chrome, has been known to fail. What hope is there for bespoke software or a third-party applications?
Microsoft may well handle the updates of Windows 10. But IT teams and third-party developers will still need to ensure software is compatible with the update.