Last month I reviewed some of the planned changes for Windows 10 and the impact that would have on nonprofit staff.
In this follow-up post, I will consider Windows 10 from the perspective of those in charge of rolling out new computers and operating systems. Whether your role is technical or administrative, you should start thinking about how Windows 10 will affect your organization. How will your users adapt to this new system? Will other components in your current infrastructure require upgrades? The good news is that, based on the technical preview, we should not have much to worry about.
Supporting end users
As noted in previous articles, the user interface appears to be a decent merging of new and old and most users adept at Windows 7 will have no trouble using Windows 10. The learning curve, and subsequent training needs, should be fairly minimal.
Your help desk personnel should be well equipped to provide support in a mixed Windows 7/10 environment. Maintaining the systems is pretty similar as well, with most of the main troubleshooting tools being in familiar places. I would even argue that some new features, such as the much improved task manger, will help to optimize. There may be some confusion as to where some critical settings live. In the current release, most settings are available via a “settings” app, as well as the traditional control panel.
There will be some growing pains. For example, the magic F8 key is no longer the OS boot panacea it once was. Windows will automatically detect a boot error and load recovery tools. But should that fail, you may need recovery media to get things moving again. Once you manage to actually get INTO said recovery tools however, you will find a greater array of options including what amounts to an in-place wiping (one of the better features from Windows 8.)
For more advanced technical personnel there are plenty of goodies including a much improved command line (finally native copy/paste functions) and the ever present Power Shell. Users opening their Active Sync email through the default mail program will have the same restrictions of any mobile device users (regardless of the actual hardware). Enterprise users will see improvements to BranchCache features, as well as Windows To Go, which could benefit road warriors. Online integration to Office 365 One Drive for Business will also help replace Roaming Profiles as it will be possible to export user settings to OneDrive and have profile settings follow the users regardless of which machine they are using.
Hardware and peripherals
But what of hardware and peripherals? Happily, this discussion is a short one. The hardware requirements have not changed substantially since Windows 7 and drivers for peripherals should offer little trouble, though there are always exceptions. Your simpler legacy programs should be fine as well. Over the years Microsoft has gained a solid driver base, and also offered solid compatibility modes. Chances are, if it runs on Windows 7 or Windows 8, it will run just fine.
The caveat to this entire post is that it is based on the current Technical Preview. The Consumer Previews will not be released until later in 2015. The final shipping date for Windows 10 is tentatively scheduled for late 2015. Nothing is set in stone, but I am choosing to remain optimistic.