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Should your business upgrade to Windows 10 or not?

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Should you stick with Windows 7 or migrate to Windows 10?

Although upgrading operating systems is always tempting, migrating to Windows 10 may not be the best move for everyone.

Should you migrate to Windows 10 or continue using what you've got? Unfortunately, there is no universally correct answer to this question.

Microsoft would probably say that adopting Windows 10 is the smarter choice, but an upgrade might not always be in your best interest. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a Windows 10 migration based on your organization's unique needs.

Cost

When deciding whether or not to upgrade to Windows 10, the first thing that comes to mind is the cost. Microsoft initially made Windows 10 licenses available to Windows 7 customers for free. That offer has now expired, and organizations that decide to migrate to Windows 10 have to purchase the appropriate licenses. Windows 10 Pro currently sells for $199 per license, and Windows 10 Enterprise is available as a subscription for $7 per user per month, or $84 per year. Organizations that use assistive technologies are still eligible for a free upgrade.

Support

Leading up to the release, Microsoft suggested that Windows 10 was going to be the last OS for the foreseeable future.

Mainstream support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ended on Jan. 13, 2015. Extended support remains available until Jan. 14, 2020. This means that Microsoft has stopped updating Windows 7, with the exception of extended hotfix support and security updates. It also means that it no longer offers complimentary support, while pay-per-incident support remains available.

Leading up to the release, Microsoft suggested that Windows 10 was going to be the last OS for the foreseeable future. Rather than replace a new OS in a few years, Microsoft will routinely update Windows 10 with new features. The Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet lists Oct. 13, 2020 as the end of mainstream support for Windows 10. There is nothing wrong with continuing to use Windows 7, but doing so means missing out on innovative technologies that may benefit your organization from an upgrade.

Reliability

One of the primary arguments in favor of sticking with Windows 7 is that it is a tried and true operating system -- stable and reliable.

Although Windows 10 is newer, it has been around since July 2015, and has been used in production for well over a year. Initially, Windows 10 did contain some substantial bugs, but Microsoft corrected the most pervasive of its problems through a series of patches. At this point, Windows 10 seems to be as reliable as Windows 7.

Plus, the core of Windows 7 OS has become relatively static. Microsoft releases periodic security updates, but the company no longer adds features or makes major changes to it. In contrast, Windows 10 is highly dynamic. Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Aug. 2, which contained so many new features that it was like getting a new operating system. Microsoft also announced the Windows 10 Creator Update, which will be yet another major upgrade, set to debut early 2017. Because Windows 10 changes so frequently, there is potential for updates to impact stability.

Compatibility

Most of the software designed for Windows 7 can run on Windows 10 without issue. There are instances, however, in which an application requires some minor tweaking for it to run on Windows 10, and there are a handful of applications that do not work on Windows 10 at all. To be safe, test the applications for compatibility before making the decision to migrate to Windows 10.

When it comes to hardware compatibility, Windows 7 and Windows 10 have very similar requirements. In all likelihood, computers that run Windows 7 can probably run Windows 10; however, issues could arise with device drivers or inadequate storage space.

Show off your knowledge of Windows 10 features

Are you a Windows 10 expert? Flaunt your knowledge with this quiz about app compatibility, the OS upgrade process and more.

Conversely, there is a reasonably good chance that Windows 7 may not be able to take full advantage of new hardware. Some hardware manufacturers have already stopped providing Windows 7 drivers for new devices.

In most cases, you are probably better off upgrading to Windows 10 unless there is a compelling reason -- such as cost or compatibility -- to remain on Windows 7.

Next Steps

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