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Hardware, app compatibility key concerns when preparing for Windows 10

When it comes to moving to Windows 10, admins should keep minimum hardware requirements, potential problems with Office and device drivers, and web app compatibility at the front of their minds.

Making the move to a new operating system is never a simple task, and Windows 10 is no exception to the rule.

Once an IT administrator decides which version of Windows 10 best suits his organization, he must then figure out how the upgrade process works. But before admins can do anything, they must make sure their networks and devices can handle the new OS. From hardware requirements to web app compatibility concerns, the Windows 10 migration struggle is all too real.

IT admins preparing for Windows 10 should check the minimum hardware requirements for the OS, know how to solve Microsoft Office problems, understand what to do about driver error concerns and more.

What are the minimum Windows 10 requirements for hardware?

Microsoft lists the minimum hardware requirements that desktops need to run Windows 10: A 1 gigahertz or faster processor, at least 1 GB of RAM for the 32-bit version and 2 GB for the 64-bit version, 16 GB of hard disk space for the 32-bit version and 20 GB for the 64-bit version, a DirectX 9 or later graphics card and an 800x600 resolution display. All of this allows a desktop to run Windows 10, but it does not mean the operating system will run well. That comes down to the type of installation the organization uses and the workloads Windows 10 runs.

If IT performs a clean install of Windows 10, then meeting the minimum requirements is fine. But if IT upgrades a device from a previous version of the OS, Windows 10 needs more than 16 GB of hard disk space. In terms of workloads, the minimum hardware requirements suffice if users work with lightweight apps such as Microsoft Office, but if employees use more heavy-duty apps, admins will likely need to invest in more robust hardware. For example, a graphics-intensive app might require DirectX 10 video cards. And even with lightweight apps, the 800x600 resolution might not be high enough for users.

How do you solve Microsoft Office problems?

After shops make the move to Windows 10, users may run into some problems with Microsoft Office. The first thing admins should do if users have Office problems is to make sure the user's OS and Office suite have all the latest updates. If everything is current but problems persist, the Office installation is likely damaged.

If the installation is damaged, admins should open the Control Panel, click Programs, then Programs and Features. The subsequent window shows every app or piece of software installed on the desktop. Scroll down to Microsoft Office and select it. Then click Change Link to open up two options: Online Repair and Quick Repair. As the name suggests, Quick Repair is faster, but Online Repair is more reliable.

If Office works but repeatedly tells users the file they want to access is corrupt, they should disable Protected View. To do so click File, Options and Trust Center. In the Trust Center, select Settings and open the Protected View tab to disable it.

What's new in Windows 10? Test your knowledge of the new OS

Microsoft has previewed several new mobility features in Windows 10, from a universal OS to better interactions on 2-in-1 devices. Prove your knowledge of Windows 10 with this quiz.

Can you prevent browser compatibility issues?

When preparing for Windows 10 it is important to keep in mind that the OS features a new default browser, Microsoft Edge, which may not work well with legacy apps. The OS also includes Internet Explorer 11, but some organizations still need to run older versions of IE to ensure compatibility with their legacy apps. Microsoft only provides support for IE11 at this point.

To run legacy apps on previous editions of IE, IT can use Remote Desktop Services to virtualize an older version of the IE browser. Users gain access to the version of IE they need without consuming a lot of resources. Organizations can run Internet Explorer versions 7 through 9 on Windows Server 2008 and versions 8 through 10 on Windows Server 2008 R2. IE10 can also run on Windows Server 2010.

Internet Explorer Compatibility View emulates older versions of IE to make legacy apps perform better in IE11. The tool runs everything on pre-IE8 browsers and works best with static websites; it struggles with more complex web apps such as enterprise resource planning tools. Admins can use Enterprise Mode -- which is new in IE11 -- to render any URL they choose on IE7 or IE8 browsers.

What's up with driver errors?

If admins update users' desktops from previous versions of Windows they could run into driver errors. The errors generally come from third-party drivers that are incompatible with Windows 10 but carry over during the update. Outdated third-party drivers can also be to blame. Errors happen most often in video drivers. If admins know which driver is the cause of the error, they can simply replace the problem driver with its most-updated version.

To identify the driver at fault, turn to Device Manager, which admins can access through the Start menu. After clicking Start, select System Command. In the dialog box, choose Device Manager to bring up a list of every device on the system. Devices with problems will be flagged in the resulting list. Usually admins right click a flagged device and select Update Driver Software. If the system detected the device incorrectly, click Scan for Hardware Changes, then uninstall the driver or disable the device.

Next Steps

Windows 10 migration station

Comprehensive look at Windows 10 upgrades and more

Explore the Windows 10 update process

This was last published in September 2016

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