PREFACE: In researching this blog post, we were surprised to find a lot of information for PC users and Attorneys to sort through. We have attempted to highlight the most important information and resources we could find on this subject. We encourage our readers to evaluate your own situation as a Windows user and make the best decision that works for you. Because there is so much information, we will split this post into two parts.
QUESTION: Should I or should I not upgrade to Windows 10?
QUESTION: Do I have the correct system software (operating system) requirements to perform an upgrade to Windows 10?
Many lawyers are using Windows 7 or 8 but are hesitant to take advantage of the free upgrade offer by Microsoft because they are not sure if it is the right move. Should you take advantage of the free upgrade before July 29 or should you take advice from a sage idiom: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” That choice all depends on the answers you get to several questions (listed below) and how you feel about several pros and cons about upgrading.
For starters, the first question you must ask yourself is what version of Windows 7 or 8 do you own? If you don’t own either and are still running Windows XP, security professionals recommend upgrading your hardware and software. Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft with all the OS updates and patches, leaving you vulnerable to malware/ransomware, etc.
If you own Windows 7, there are five editions: Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium edition, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate.
For Windows 8 users, there are four possible editions: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Window 8.1 Pro for Students.
Windows 7 users that own a Starter or Home edition can upgrade to Windows 10 Home and those that own the Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate edition can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
Windows 8 users that own the Phone edition can upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 8.1 users can upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Like Windows 7, Windows 8 users who own Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro for Students can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
For a full listing of excluded editions, check out the Microsoft Windows 10 Specifications.
If you are on the fence about upgrading, the Windows Lifecycle sheet, released by Microsoft, shows the support timeline for each Windows operating system dating back to Windows XP. Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended January 13, 2015. What does that mean for Windows 7 users? Well, mainstream support typically refers to free phone and online support, as well as non-security updates. So in other words, Windows 7 is still being supported. Its extended support plan continues through January 14, 2020. Windows 8 end of mainstream support ends January 9, 2018 and the end of extended support ends January 10, 2023.
The second important question to ask yourself is whether you are running the latest version of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update? If you’re not sure, check here to find out.
If you discover you’re not running the latest update, you can click on the Windows 10 Specifications link above to download the latest version of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
While all this information may sound like a bunch of gobbly gook, it is important to carefully check each question above to find out if your system software meets the system requirements.
Stay tuned next week for Should I or Should I Not Upgrade to Windows 10? - Part 2 - What hardware & application software requirements should I evaluate before upgrading to Windows 10? And, what other resources are out there to help me make my decision?
Written by: Emily Worley, PMAP Assistant, SC Bar
Edited by: Courtney Kennaday, Director, PMAP, SC Bar
DISCLAIMER: This information (or the names of these products are) is passed along without any warranties by the South Carolina Bar as to its fitness for a particular purpose. It has not been tested by the Bar or by the individual below personally and is offered for your information only.