Individual consumers and businesses are both closely watching the release of Microsoft’s newest operating system (OS), Windows 10. A recent Spiceworks survey shows 75% of respondents saying they plan to adopt Windows 10 for home use within the first year of its release.
But when it comes to upgrading your business instead of your home, there are more complicated issues to consider. We’ve heard your concerns and questions about upgrading
, and to help navigate the issue we’ve put together the top 4 questions your business should ask before making the move to Windows 10.
1. How much time will you spend training?
According to Spiceworks, many users are excited about the return of familiar Windows features such as the Start Menu. Others are looking forward to new productivity features like the enhancements to File Explorer (previously called Windows Explorer), a new multiple desktop feature, and a unified settings panel.
But no matter how user-friendly a new OS is, there will always be a learning curve. That curve can often mean a temporary hit to productivity as employees learn the new environment, even if they become more productive in the long-term. Less tech-savvy users may also need structured training in order to be comfortable with the new OS. So before upgrading, make sure you have the time and resources your workforce needs to transition with minimal loss of productivity.
2. Will essential programs continue to work?
Some businesses rely on proprietary software that may be incompatible with Windows 10, or use hardware that may not have updated drivers immediately available for the new OS.
To gain a better sense of what compatibility issues you might encounter, run the free Windows 10 upgrade advisor from the Get Windows 10 app. Click on the Windows 10 icon located in the lower right side of the system tray, then click the small menu icon located at the top left-corner of the app and click the Check your PC option. If you don’t see the Windows 10 icon, try running Windows Update and install all available updates. This feature will tell you which programs will be automatically reinstalled, and which may have issues after the upgrade. While files and data on the hard drive will not be lost in the upgrade, HP recommends a complete backup before any major migration.
Keep in mind that some features your business currently uses in Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 may not be available in Windows 10. Discontinued features include Windows Media Center, Windows 7 desktop gadgets, and USB floppy drivers. If your organization currently uses any of these features, you’ll need to put alternatives in place before making the move to Windows 10.
3. When will you be able to upgrade?
When asked what Windows 10 features they consider to be the most intriguing, 55% of respondents cited Microsoft’s offer of a free upgrade from qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.1 But the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro is only free for 1 year. Enterprise upgrades are not included without a Software Assurance subscription in volume licensing. In addition, Microsoft support for Windows 7 has already ended, and support for Windows 8.1 will end January of 2018.
Businesses need to consider when would be the best time for their organization to upgrade, and if they can realistically take advantage of the free offer while their current OS is still supported. Upgrades take time, especially for IT as they download and install the new OS, verify that the software is running correctly, and reorient users to the new system. Many industries have periods of lower volume when IT may have more time and an OS migration might be less disruptive. The free upgrade is tempting, but the timing needs to be right for your business.
4. Are the new features worthwhile?
Cortana, the voice-activated digital assistant currently only found on Windows Phones, will be making its PC debut, as well as improved multi-monitor support. But Cortana will require a constant internet connection to function, and multi-monitor support is only useful for workstations with multiple monitors. And while Windows 10 may offer performance improvements, that boost may not even be noticeable if your current programs aren’t taxing your PCs. Before deciding to upgrade, you need to consider whether your business can actually utilize and benefit from what Windows 10 has to offer.
Nearly all IT professionals - 96% - have expressed at least some interest in Windows 10.1 And there are compelling reasons for businesses to make the switch, such as new security features like Windows Hello, Passport, and Enterprise Data Protection. But rolling out a brand new OS can be daunting. HP understands that, and has an array of services to help you understand everything Windows 10 has to offer, prep your environment, implement the right solution, and recommend the best hardware.[5,6]
 Spiceworks, Windows 10: Will It Soar?, June 2015
 HP services are optional and are governed by service levels and response times for HP Care Packs may vary depending on your geographic location. Service starts on date of hardware purchase. Restrictions and limitations apply. For details, visit www.hp.com/go/cpc
. HP Services are governed by the applicable HP terms and conditions of service provided or indicated to Customer at the time of purchase. Customer may have additional statutory rights according to applicable local laws, and such rights are not in any way affected by the HP terms and conditions of service or the HP Limited Warranty provided with your HP Product.
 “Prerelease product shown, subject to change. Apps sold separately. Windows 10 Upgrade Offer valid for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices (including devices you already own) for one year after Windows 10 upgrade availability. Availability of Windows 10 features may vary by device. Upgrading may require additional hardware, drivers, software, firmware and/or BIOS update. Upgrading between Windows editions may incur additional fees. Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Visit www.hp.com/go/windows10upgrade
. Contact your HP sales rep regarding HP Migration Services and Windows 10 Enterprise.
Windows is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.