Windows 10 is coming – soon. Microsoft has announced that it will be giving away Windows 10 for free, but is this offer too good to be true? There is fine print for you to be aware of and some requirements, but you might be pleasantly surprised on what qualifies.
The Requirements –
Windows 10 has been developed to have the same requirements as Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Updates. That means any computer that can currently run either of those operating systems can also run Windows 10 – and the upgrade is free. Keep in mind, there are a few exceptions. For example, Enterprise versions won’t qualify and neither will Windows RT. Any driver or program that works for Windows 8.1 will work with Windows 10 (though some items may need to be reinstalled).
Windows 10 for Free –
Current devices that are licensed for Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update (except Enterprise) will be able to perform an in-place upgrade when Windows 10 is released. The update will be delivered through Windows Update, just like a patch or Service Pack. Assuming you have an Internet connection and enough free drive space, you can have Windows 10. The free upgrade will last for just one year from the time Windows 10 is released. But once your device has been updated, it qualifies for free upgrades for the rest of its life.
What about Enterprise Customers? –
Enterprise customers won’t be left in the dark as long as they have a current Enterprise Agreement with Software Assurance. If you have deployed Windows 7 or Windows 8 Enterprise, then upgrading to Windows 10 can be done using your current Client Management tools, such as System Center Configuration Manager or the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Using these tools will help automate the upgrade process and reduce any impact to the end users.
Taking the Plunge –
Here are a few things to do before making the move to Windows 10:
- Inventory – Get to know your computers and their applications. While most applications and devices will work with Windows 10, it’s best to make sure. Check out the Windows Compatibility Center for help. Now would also be a good time to take care of any lingering Windows XP machines.
- Plan and Design – Once you know your environment, it’s time to plan your deployment and make any design decisions. Determine who will be getting the Windows 10 upgrade and how quickly it can be deployed. If you are going to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise, evaluate the features that will be available.
- Pilot Group – Find volunteers to test Windows 10 and the deployment process. These users should have some IT prowess and be willing to provide feedback to help improve the rollout.
- Production Deployment – Once the pilot group is up and running – and any issues are addressed and a training plan developed – it is time to migrate the rest of your computers. Organize your computers in manageable groups based on location and department. This will help with next-day support and training issues.
CDW has an experienced team of consultants to help with your Windows 10 upgrade. Talk with your account manager and learn more at CDW Total Software Management.