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Does Windows 10 scare you?

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The big day has now been announced for the release of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system. However, for the first time, and about time too, Microsoft is pulling out all stops to ensure a fast and automated transition.

For a start, this upgrade is free – yes totally free, with no hidden future costs – for all devices running legal versions of Windows 7 and 8 – and this also includes Windows 8 mobile phones. This will be carried out automatically via the Windows Update channel – unless a user specifies otherwise. So – you can retain your existing operating system, if you are comfortable with it. But I would highly recommend that you do try it out – you can always revert back if required.

This is reputed to be the largest online upgrade of software in history, and it appears to me that Microsoft are palling well in advance and very efficiently for this. In the last week, users with their Windows Updates up-to-date, will already notice an icon on their taskbar allowing them to reserve a copy of their upgrade and install it when it is ready.

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Secondly, it will happily run on machines currently running Windows 7 or 8 – so there is no need to upgrade your hardware. Unless of course, you wish to avail yourself of the very sexy and secure biometrics incorporated in Windows 10 – called Windows Hello. This will allow you to access your device through a variety of ways – including facial and iris scanning as well as fingerprint recognition.

This will require fingerprint reading devices, and/ or infra-red cameras. Microsoft explains that the use of infrared cameras allows users to be accurately recognized in a variety of lighting conditions, as well as the use of different makeup if you are a woman, or difference in facial hair if you are a man. Could this spell the end of password usage for your devices?

Software that is currently running on Windows 7 or 8 devices will continue to run without a hitch on Windows 10, with the exception of some low level utilities such as backup tools or anti virus solutions. Check with your supplier of these products.

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The most important change to existing users is the re-introduction of the Start Menu – on which, many pre- Windows 8 users were dependent. In fact, the biggest complaint about the new Windows 8 desktop was the confusion created by the perceived loss of this function – leading to many users downgrading to Windows 7 and/ or installing free replacements to this function that sprang up the web to meet demand. For this reason only, I would highly recommend upgrading to this version.

Other advantages include a full integrated anti virus solution for personal users. This should increase protection and reduce running costs for users, and probably considerably dent the market share of anti virus companies currently providing personal anti virus solutions. Of course, as a corporate, you will still be well advised to continue to invest in a robust security solution for your network users.

Future benefits will be rolled out and can be played around with in time. These include the new Microsoft Edge browser which will replace the much used and maligned Windows Explorer. Cortana is a voice powered personal assistant – similar to Siri on Apple devices – that can be used to carry out most functionality on your device by voice. However, the release date of this in Africa is still not clear. Windows Store will be a new option for Windows 7 users.

This enable users to download and deploy more than 185,000 free or paid for (Microsoft approved) applications to their device – from games to useful system tools. Microsoft has made developer kits software for such apps free – so this would encourage the development of personalised tools by any developer for addition to the store – enabling users to customize or personalise their devices to their hearts content.

The date for this release is 29th July 2015. Mark this in your diary and count down the days. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

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