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Can IT make the transition to Windows 10 smooth for users?

IT can take a few steps to make the move to Windows 10 easier on users, including considering an in-place upgrade and holding off on any other major changes.

Upgrading to a new operating system can be a jarring experience for end users, but there are some steps IT professionals can take to help users with the transition to Windows 10.

To start a Windows 10 rollout plan, IT should let users know what to expect. It's not fair to have users come into the office on Monday morning to discover that everything on their PCs has completely changed over the weekend without warning. Letting the users know when the migration will take place, and providing some basic information on how to use Windows 10, can go a long way toward making users lives easier.

Even if an organization lacks the resources to provide users with formal training or documentation, something as simple as a how-to YouTube video can be immensely helpful to users who might not have worked with Windows 10 before.

Consider an in-place upgrade

IT may also be able to perform an in-place upgrade rather than a migration. In most cases, an in-place upgrade preserves the user's personal settings, applications and any data he might have saved on the PC, which makes the transition to Windows 10 easier to swallow.

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An in-place upgrade is not always possible, however. Organizations that wish to switch Windows editions -- from Home to Pro -- or architectures -- from 32-bit to 64-bit -- usually won't be able to perform an in-place migration. Other conditions, such as insufficient disk space, can also rule out an in-place upgrade.

Make changes in waves

Consider giving users time to get accustomed to the new OS before making any major OS-level changes that they will notice.

Another way IT can help users feel more comfortable during the transition to Windows 10 is to resist the temptation to change too many things at the same time. Even though it might be convenient for IT to upgrade Windows and a few key applications all at once, doing so can be overwhelming for some users. Consider upgrading to Windows 10 and then giving the users a few weeks to get used to the change before upgrading line-of-business applications.

Similarly, consider giving users time to get accustomed to the new OS before making any major OS-level changes that they will notice after the transition to Windows 10. If, for example, IT pros want to use biometric authentication as a part of the transition to Windows 10, they should perform the OS upgrade and then implement biometric authentication a few weeks later, after everyone has a chance to get used to the new OS.

This was last published in February 2018

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