LOOKING AHEAD with Kevin Mahoney - Major Clients Advocate and Engineer, 1Call
This edition of Looking Ahead examines Microsoft Windows 10. At the time of this writing in mid-November, Microsoft just released the first major update to Windows 10 since the original launch on July 29. This update is part of Microsoft’s continuing effort to move the Windows platform to a Windows as a Service (WaaS) model where we no longer see service packs and the three-year operating system update cycle. According to Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Chief Terry Myerson, “With this free update we have reached the point in the platform’s maturity where we can confidently recommend Windows 10 deployment to whole organizations.”
Normally, I would have installed Windows 10 on July 29. However, having gone through this exercise since the Windows 95 days, I have grown tired of chasing down drivers, relearning the operating system, reinstalling everything, repeatedly rebooting to make stuff work, and just plain having to buy new hardware and software. So I decided to wait.
Well, perhaps the wait is over. Yes, Windows 10 is a work in progress and it can arguably be said it was released too early, but maybe this latest release warrants some attention. As we explore this latest Windows 10 release, AMTELCO is busy testing Windows 10 and seeing positive results. Keep checking TechHelper at https://service.amtelco.com/ for the latest news and developments as we continue to progress through our Windows 10 testing.
The first step is getting Windows 10. For many, this is a matter for the IT team to handle. For others, you can simply let the Windows Update tool handle the installation. Another consideration, for those who plan on installing Windows 10 on another machine, who want to perform a full clean installation, or who just want to have the installation media handy is the Windows Media Creation tool.
When I did my installation, I choose the ‘Create the installation media for another PC’ option. After a couple of simple questions, I was presented with the option of creating a USB flash drive or an ISO file that could be burned to a DVD. I choose the ISO option which then downloaded the installer and created a Windows.iso file on my Desktop. This I burned to a DVD using Windows Explorer and a USB DVD drive. I now have the media ready for an upgrade or a clean install on any PC at any time. Not bad, Microsoft! Thank you.
Okay, now that we have Windows 10 on our machine let’s confirm the installed version. Go to the Start Menu, type ‘command,’ select the Command Prompt, type ‘ver’ and press the ENTER key. If [Version 10.0.10586] is returned as illustrated below, then you know you have the November release.
Let’s talk about some of the new how-to’s and features in this update. The first thing one should know is that early testers are reporting this release of Windows 10 is much more stable than previous versions. Further, there are several new security features added to the operating system including:
Credential Guard safeguards user credentials inside a hardware-based virtualized environment and breaks the popular “pass the hash” attack used in many major breaches.
Device Guard uses Trusted Boot to prevent intruders from installing malware, helping to keep devices secure.
Windows Hello enables people to say goodbye to passwords with enterprise-grade biometrics including fingerprint and facial recognition.
Windows Defenderis Microsoft’s free anti-malware service that protects almost 300 million Windows devices every day.
Plus, Microsoft has thrown in a couple of important, no-cost business features: Windows Update for Business, providing IT control over the deployment of updates within organizations; and Windows Store for Business providing IT with a flexible way to find, manage, and distribute applications to Windows 10 devices.
It is always important to review the privacy settings after any operating system upgrade and to make any adjustments that ensure you know what Windows is sending out. Select the Start menu, type ‘privacy’ and the Privacy settings options are displayed. Select this option and go through the various groups of options, making sure to select those settings that apply to your situation. I did notice that this update has the ability to shut off the pipeline back to Microsoft, which in a corporate environment is often the preferred option.
There are several other enhancements worth noting in the November update including:
- Auto-Adjust Time Zone – Similar to a cell phone, Windows 10 automatically can adjust the PC’s time zone based on the GPS location.
- Let Windows Manage Default Printer – No longer do I have select or re-select my printer when I am in a different office. Windows will remember the last printer used and set it as the default printer.
- Right Click Scan with Windows Defender – The right-click context menu now includes the option to scan a folder or file with Windows Defender.
- Uber, Meet Cortana – Cortana, Windows’ version of Apple’s Siri, can order an Uber car for you based on your schedule.
- React and Respond to Your Phone on Your PC – If you have a Windows Phone, you can view missed calls and text messages on your PC. Hopefully this will expand beyond just Windows Phone in the future.
- Install Apps to SD Card – As a Surface Pro tablet user, this is a great feature as I now can use an SD card to add storage to my PC.
- More Tiles on the Start Screen – The Start screen has many new options involving tiles including the addition of more tiles as well as the ability to resize any tile.
- Tuning Off the Windows Background Image for Logon – You can remove the background image, but still can’t change the image. Maybe someday.
- Turn-off Suggested Apps on Start Menu – For those who like a cleaner Start Menu, you now can turn off this often-annoying feature.
This latest update to Windows 10 clearly looks to increase the Windows adoption rate in the corporate world. Microsoft has included many subtle changes to the operating system, giving a more polished experience. So far, I am very happy about the overall experience and I look forward to diving deeper into this new version of an old operating system.
Microsoft says Windows 10 is a free upgrade to existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade within a year of its release. After that, Windows 10 Pro will sell at $199 and Windows 10 Home at $119.
Are you ready to upgrade?
Kevin Mahoney is a hospital and healthcare-related account advocate and sales engineer at Amtelco, a manufacturer and supplier of call center solutions located in McFarland, Wisconsin. Contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.