With Microsoft officially confirming the migration we’ve been expecting for the past year, many organizations are moving past the initial shock and diving into the nitty gritty of coordinating the move. We have the dirt on Windows 10 from our usual band of experts, so instead of letting our customers go fishing for this information, we wanted to clear things up so you aren’t in the dark. 

Before we get into talk of migration and software management, I want to briefly talk about Servicing Branches. With Microsoft promising free updates for people who upgrade to Windows 10, many found the offer just too good to be true. That is up to each organization to decide, but there are some major changes in store for people who move forward with the free upgrade. There are three branches (similar to the “rings” in the preview versions) that determine when updates are provided:

Current Branch: In this group, you have no control over updates. Whether it’s a new feature, color scheme or security patch, when the update occurs, you will get it. The people who will be in this branch are the ones running a Windows Home version or something similar. 

Current Branch for Business: This one acts very similar to the Current Branch, but with one large difference: temporary delays. In this branch, administrators can hold back an update for testing. However, once your grace period expires, the update will push automatically. If you have Windows Pro, this is the branch you’ll be in. 

Long-Term Servicing Branch: There are two important differences in this group. The first is that this is the only group that will receive extended support (those extra years of support beyond the mainstream support period). The second difference is that updates are 100 percent in your control here. Customers running Windows Enterprise will enjoy these features.

Is Windows 10 right for your business? #CDWSolutionsBlog

Now, let’s move onto the actual migration aspect. For the past decade or so (spanning four versions of Windows), this was never a question I had to address so soon in the product release cycle. There are two major reasons for this change.

First, many organizations allow local admin rights to their end users. Combine that with a free upgrade and the method in which this update is being pushed out – and you have a recipe for disaster. We recommend that if you’re not keen on users moving to Windows 10 on their own, you remove their local admin rights. Many have asked if there is a way around this; unfortunately, there isn’t.

The second nuance that makes this so much different than Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1 is genuine excitement by end users. People are largely happy with the changes being made in Windows 10. Given that many people skipped 8 and 8.1 waiting for something with a better UI, the long wait has made a lot of people very anxious to try a new operating system.

However, even if the reviews are glowing (they are) and the process to migrate is simple (as we have seen), that doesn’t mean now is the right time. If you’ve done your research and you need more time before the update, here’s what I would recommend:

  1. Remove local admin rights from your computers.
  1. Search existing machines for the “Get Windows 10” app (It was pushed out in April to Windows 7 and 8.1 machines to streamline the process.) and then delete it.
  1. Next, don’t forget to hide the update so it doesn’t pop up again after deletion.
  1. Designate a number of test machines in your environment to get the update and start testing now.

Microsoft is moving to a faster release cycle on its software and Windows 10 is just the tip of a very large iceberg. The best way to keep ahead of these updates is to test them as they come along.

Also, despite reports to the contrary last week, Windows 10 is ready to go and will be released as scheduled on July 29, 2015. The disclaimer that your machine may not update on that day is simply good planning on Microsoft’s part, as I am sure they don’t want tens of millions of computers hitting the update servers all at the same time.

Curious to learn even more about what the Windows 10 migration means for you and your business? Check out these articles on BizTechMagazine.com or these other CDW Solutions Blog posts for more information.

Lastly, for a good strategy that best suits your environment, reach out to your CDW account manager so he or she can set up a discussion with one of our solutions architects.

One thought on “Windows 10: How to Ensure a Smooth Migration for Your Business

  • Thank you for laying out your suggestions for migrating to Windows 10. There has been a lot of confusion over making the switch to Windows 2010, and how it is different for personal users and the enterprise. The steps you mention here create a clear guide for system admins who are in the process of deciding whether or not to make the switch.

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