Think Twice Before Upgrading To Windows 10 (Or Any Other OS)

Be aware this isn’t about Windows 10 per se. I’ve yet to try it and I only know of it from the few articles I’ve read. What this is rather is an attempt to make people approach the process of upgrading on a saner, more reasonable pace. I’ve used Windows (from version 1, 95, 98, ME, XP, and currently 7), two or three types of Mac OS and several Linux Distributions, so allow me to impart some hard earned wisdom.

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An OS’s Job Is To Just Give You A Platform To Work On

Technically an OS is a program (what software was called before they were called ‘apps’), whose main job is to interface between 3rd party applications (Chrome, Word, Excel, and so forth), and the computer itself. It is a layer that connects the interface the human sees and the hardware underneath.

For example If a program wants to write data onto a USB, the OS’s job is to merely facilitate that process. Windows will compute whether there’s enough space and give you a nice animation of data ‘flying’ from source to destination plus a time estimate, one of many tasks we ask of it. It’s essential but boring.

The point is, upgrading an OS these days isn’t exciting, or at least it isn’t as it was ten to twenty odd years ago. Back then new OSes promised fantastic abilities like running two or more applications at the same time (multi – tasking!), graphic GUIs, bigger storage and even 64 bit applications – making an update much awaited and essential. But those days are long past.

If you were to ask me what I’d think a modern innovation on a desktop / laptop OS should be, I would guess better ergonomics, an overall better way of doing the same things, and maybe make it interface better with phones and tablets. A quick check with Engadget’s ‘What’s New In Windows 10‘ articles aligns with those ideas more or less. All ok sure, but nothing that would make you run out to get it.

If It’s Not Broken Don’t Fix It

That common phrase speaks for itself. For example, a client’s office has a PC still running Windows 95. All it does of course is print receipt forms via a template in Excel. It is not connected to the LAN and does not even have a USB (which is a plus because it kills the possibility of viruses), but it does its job and it does it well so no ‘improvement’ is necessary.

What you do may be not as simple but I’m sure you’ve also got your work process down as well. You may be making reports, crunching numbers, playing games, programming applications or creating websites (like I do), but despite being different each one has developed a fairly standardized set of tools and step by step processes after years of doing it.

So if you are able to produce work well on a Windows XP machine, then why would you want to risk that process via an upgrade?

Changing Operating Systems Is Changing The Way You Work

At the very least take the time to check if you are able to still use the same programs and do the same things the way you are used to. If an OS upgrade demands that you buy programs you regularly use such as MS Office or Photoshop to later versions then you need to think twice before taking the plunge.

There are compatibility checkers laid out in this article from ZDnet and thankfully most programs seem ok. Follow the instructions and be thorough though because even if your anti – virus requires changing then that’s money out of your wallet you didn’t have to spend.

The Amount Of Time To Check, Upgrade, Re-Install Etc., Is = Downtime

Right now everything on my computer is fine and just the way I like it. Even the small shortcut icons on the taskbar are arranged in such a way so that I can activate the screen capture program followed by Photoshop to quickly make a graphic for blog posts. Even the Spotify icon is beside the Steam icon so I can get my tunes on while playing games. I’m not a neat freak by any measure, they just ended up arranged that way from normal everyday use.

In other words over time you set up your computer to become like a well – worn tool, similar to how a wood worker lines up his tools on the wall or how an electrician arranges his utility belt to access the ones he needs faster and more efficiently, and not spend time trying to look for something, potentially confusing you and wasting energy.

That’s what happens when you reinstall and upgrade your PC.

Historically, Early Adopters Suffer

The Wikipedia page for ‘Early Adopter’ says it all.

In exchange for being an early adopter, and thus being exposed to the problems, risks, and annoyances common to early-stage product testing and deployment, the early adopter aka ‘lighthouse customer’ is sometimes given especially attentive vendor assistance and support, even to the point of having personnel at the customer’s work site to assist with implementation. The customer is sometimes given preferential pricing, terms, and conditions, although new technology is very often expensive, so the early adopter still often pays quite a lot.

What this essentially says to me is that if you’re going to adopt Windows 10 hook line and sinker, then do so knowing what you’re getting into. You can maybe run it on a spare computer or observe someone else before you install it.

The worst you can do is run it on a computer that is mission critical to your work (or play), and then discover bugs, or the need to buy new hardware or software and other nasty surprises.

There really is no valid reason I can think of that would necessitate that you run out and get it on the first day. At the very least wait a year or two (yes, that long) before all the bugs are worked out before even thinking of it.

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