Blog | Windows 10, Your Questions

Windows 10, Your Questions

18/8/2015 - COTA SA, IT Team

windows 10We interrupt our regular blog posts to bring you a post with a more technical slant. Windows 10, the latest operating system from windows has just been released and questions are being asked: should I upgrade; is it any good; what are the ... issues I've heard about, should I be concerned... So we're going to try and answer these questions in a very brief overview.

In brief...

Windows 10 is new, it's fast and it's free... Well, it's free to upgrade for a year for those who are using windows 7 or above - so, if you are looking to upgrade we'd suggest you do so by July next year to take advantage of this. If you're still running XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft, or Vista, you'll have to pay - and you should definitely check that your device meets the system requirements for running Windows 10.

Whether it's any good is, of course, entirely subjective; it resembles Windows 7 more than Windows 8 in many ways which makes it more user friendly; it has an easy to use, accessible, start menu (one of the initial issues with Windows 8 was the missing start menu), a good task bar and search functionality included in the task bar which will search both the local device for apps/files and the web. Another consideration is that it will run, in slightly different versions, across all the different device types - PCs, tablets and mobile phones - which means, in theory, that you'd be able to access your apps on any supported device without having to pay for them twice. In short, while some things may take a little getting used to, it's certainly no worse than other versions of Windows, and generally a bit better. This review is quite a good review/overview of the features of windows 10.

The Issues...

Below are the main issues/concerns that are coming up surrounding Windows 10.

• Automatic Updates: Windows 10 is set, by default to do updates automatically - on a personal machine this isn't necessarily a big downside - it means that updates will download, install and automatically fix security concerns or bugs... Occasionally, windows updates do go wrong but, on balance, we'd suggest keeping this setting enabled.

• Distribution of Updates: Windows 10 is set to use the local computer to distribute updates in what Microsoft calls ‘Windows Update Delivery Optimization' or WUDO. We're definitely less keen on this feature - what it means is that, once you've downloaded an update, windows can push that update out from your computer over your internet to other computers. This might slow down your connection and, unless you have unlimited data, it's going to use your data allowance with no benefit to you (but handily saving Microsoft money on servers and bandwidth). This is an option to consider disabling - there are good step by step instructions on how to do so about halfway down this page

• Internet Explorer's Gone: Yes, after being Microsoft's default web browser for many years, Internet Explorer's been replaced by Microsoft Edge - the good news is that if you don't like Edge, you can download Internet Explorer and keep using it; or download Firefox or Chrome as preferred.

• Collection of data: To ‘personalise your experience', Windows collects and stores data, rather a lot of data, about how you use Windows, Applications and the Internet (many applications also use location tracking to record where you are and where you've been). While this may be convenient, it's questionable how much of your personal data and computer/device usage you want to share with Microsoft and its associates so it's well worth having a think about that and changing the settings that share more data than you're comfortable with. This is a good article on privacy settings you should think about changing

• Express Setup: When setting up windows 10 for the first time you'll have the option to do Express or Custom Setup - we'd suggest not using the ‘Express Settings' option, it may be quicker but you'll probably want to go back and change the settings anyway so it's a good idea to do it from the beginning. Page 2 of the above article shows settings which you should consider switching to ‘Off' during setup.

• Wi-Fi Sense: This feature allows you to automatically connect to suggested Wi-Fi hotspots and share a network connection with any of your contacts. While not necessarily a bad idea in theory, in practice you'd really have to trust all of your contacts and have no concerns about them accessing your network without having to ask you for the password. If you'd like to disable it: go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi Fi > Manage Wi Fi settings, and then turn off Connect to suggested open hotspots and Connect to networks shared by my contacts.

Final thoughts...

Should I upgrade? Yes, you should - though maybe not yet, give it a couple of months for the inevitable early bugs to be worked out. One such bug being that Windows 10 won't currently recognise Telstra USB Broadband dongles - there are work arounds but if you access the internet this way we'd suggest holding off on upgrading until the issue's been resolved.

Is it any good? Subjectively, yes.

What about those issues? Yes, there are definitely a few issues surrounding privacy and default settings; we can only hope they'll be addressed by Microsoft in the future, in the meantime the information and links above should enable you to protect yourself.