Finally no more Windows 8, you cry; let’s download Windows 10 asap, you say to your staff. It can’t be any worse than what we had. The thought of apps working the same across any device, security advancements, and the ability to get updates in the same way as your other cloud apps all seem pretty attractive. While this may be true, there are almost always teething problems with any new operating system. And one issue you need to consider how your business apps will run in Windows 10.
Admittedly, this is more of an issue if you’re using desktop-based Windows apps, as you’ll need to check if they are still compatible with Windows 10. A word of warning: not all legacy apps are supported (as one disgruntled Quickbooks user found out). Your Windows 7 and Windows 8 apps should work (one reason behind why Microsoft offered a free Windows 10 upgrade to users).
But for the legion of loyal XP users (and the few that are unlucky enough to still be on Windows Vista), things get more complicated. Microsoft offers you a compatibility checker to help solve this mystery, but all in all, this uncertainty is a pretty convincing reason for moving your business apps to the cloud.
Another reason to choose cloud apps
“Ah, but I’m already running my apps in the cloud,” you might smugly think. “so it doesn’t matter what operating system I use.” That’s not quite true. While you may not be faced with the issue of legacy apps issue as your software is kept up to date through your subscription with your vendor, there are still other factors to take into account.
Firstly, cloud apps aren’t a synonym for apps that run in your browser, so if you have a desktop interface and data stored locally for offline use, then your business needs a smooth running operating system. But the bigger issue is with browser stability.
If you’re a Chrome user, you may have experienced crashes and bugs, or the browser just not working at all, as was the case in Windows 10 Build 10525. While I’m not saying this is an issue with Microsoft, it adds an element of instability if you are using cloud-based apps.
Then there are the problems with streaming content that some users have been experiencing. The ability to use Netflix and YouTube may not be of primary concern for your business, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you have tutorial videos for your staff or any other multimedia content to promote your product.
Giving Microsoft the edge?
If you’ve downloaded Windows 10 already, you’ll likely have noticed that your browser defaults to Microsoft Edge. This is the company’s Internet Explorer replacement, which Microsoft claims to have redesigned for speed and simplicity. In theory, there should be no issues with using your cloud business apps in Microsoft Edge, especially as it has been around for various test builds of Windows 10.
“Edge is something we’ve been rigorously beta testing for months prior to its official launch and honestly it’s been fairly good at integration with most cloud apps,” says Nick Espinosa, CIO of IT consultancy firm BSSi2. “Our corporate cloud apps work without issue and we’ve had no problem with major sites like Netflix, Pandora, etc. We’ve been treating Edge like a Chromium product in that Chromium is not quite Chrome but similar enough that it can’t really be mistaken for anything else.”
No more plug-in support
When you first start using Windows 10, you’ll notice that Microsoft has set Edge as the default browser. While this may be easy enough to change and the browser itself is easy to use and speedy, it can lead to some issues. Unlike Internet Explorer, Edge doesn’t support plug-ins (for good reasons), meaning you may need to switch browsers to carry out tasks. For example, Edge does not support the Acrobat PDF plug-in in Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps, whereas Internet Explorer 11, Chrome, and Firefox all do. Internet Explorer is included in Windows 10 out of the box, it’s just a little trickier to find, but switching between the two is easy (if inconvenient).
“Microsoft included a version of Internet Explorer within its system to help Edge out when it gets into trouble,” says Espinosa. “Anything you open in Edge can be launched into Internet Explorer simply clicking the “More Actions” button and then clicking “Open with Internet Explorer. Fortunately for the app loving world, Edge is not our only choice when using Windows 10.”
The good news for anyone that falls in love with Edge but laments its lack of extensions, is that it will soon support them, meaning any of those business apps that have useful extensions will be available in Microsoft’s new browser. Much like with Chrome, there have been several errors and bugs that have plagued Edge, making it a slightly less stable choice, while Internet Explorer and Windows 10 continuing to experience their own woes.
Should I upgrade to Windows 10?
While you may understandably be keen to get your company off Windows 8 (if you even went there), and Windows 10 offers a whole load of important features compared to previous versions, you still need to think about the impact on the rest of your business software. The operating system is still very new and, while by using cloud-based apps you will avoid most of the issues, it’s still worth moving forward with a degree of caution.