Windows 10: Upgrade or not?

Microsoft introduced Windows 10, but should industrial institutions consider an upgrade? Here is a quick analysis.

By Art Howell, Maverick Technologies November 19, 2015

After a major diversion with Windows 8, Microsoft has virtually started over with this version of Windows 10 and appears to be back on track with what the PC based community wants and expects. Windows 10 has fixed some of the pitfalls of Windows 8.

The classic Start menu is back, well kind of. The new version is a blend of the original start menu and the 8.0 start screen. The new start menu has the look and feel of the original but also incorporates the “live tile” aspects of Windows 8.0 and is totally customizable. Similar to Windows 8, users can pin their favorite apps to the start menu and get real-time information from them at a glance with the “live tiles”. 

Microsoft has also introduced their version of a digital assistant called Cortana.  This is a useful addition and a core part of the operating system. It is located on the taskbar and readily accessible. Cortana can provide information such as sports scores, weather, news, and more. Of course some may find it strange to talk to their PCs.

Windows 10 introduced a new slimmed down Internet browser that can replace Internet Explorer called Edge. Cortana is integrated into the browser as well, so you can highlight a word you see and right-click to get more information and context about it. Edge is a lot less demanding on resources that other browsers. That can be critical when running a PC with limited memory. The browser is streamlined and default of all the annoying ads that other browsers have. It also allows one to write directly on web pages if desired.  Internet explorer is still available if you prefer.

Windows 10 comes preloaded with some useful apps that are pretty nice and light on system resources. The app store contains a decent variety of apps which is getting better, but nowhere near where Google and Apple are at this point.  Microsoft is still playing catch up at this point in that arena. 

One nice thing with Windows 10 is that it can run on a variety of devices from touch screen laptops, tablets, and phones and can sync the devices with the cloud.  Microsoft is still lagging behind in mobile phone arena, however, but that may change with this version of Windows. Only time will tell.

Is an upgrade worth it? For the average consumer running a Windows 8 machine, it is definitely worth trying. If you’re running a Windows 7 machine in a non-industrial application, it may be worth the upgrade as well. Most industrial institutions never even transitioned to the Windows 8 platform and will probably be reluctant to transition to Windows 10 for some time. There will probably be some delay before OEMs and software manufacturers get onboard as well. Most only upgraded to Windows 7 because they were forced to with the mothballing of Windows XP. If you do decide to upgrade and don’t like it, you can always go back to your previous version. Welcome to the future, like it or not!

This post was written by Art Howell. Art is a Senior Engineer at Maverick Technologies, a leading automation solutions provider offering industrial automation, strategic manufacturing, and enterprise integration services for the process industries. Maverick delivers expertise and consulting in a wide variety of area including industrial automation controls, distributed control systems, manufacturing execution systems, operational strategy, business process optimization and more.

Maverick Technologies is a CSIA member as of 11/17/2015