Windows 10: 3 Steps to take before the next computer operating system upgrade

May 12th, 2015

Windows 10 will be free, but are your computers compatible?
By Juan Granados

If you’re a small business owner whose work computers use a Microsoft operating system, the release of Windows 10 this fall will bring both advantages and disadvantages upon its arrival.

First the good news – upgrading to Windows 10 will be free the first year to those who are currently running Windows 7 or 8. This marks a significant change in Microsoft’s policy of charging more than $200 for new Window’s upgrades.

Windows 7, which debuted in July 2009, will experience the same fate as XP – active development will end in January 2016 and security updates will cease four years later.

If you haven’t upgraded your software within the last six years, this is the time to do it.

Now the not-so-good-news – as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The upgrade may require new hardware and software applications, especially if you haven’t upgraded since Windows 7.

Measuring the cost of the “free” upgrade will be based on several factors, including the age your computer equipment, the required software functionality, and software application dependencies.

Here are three steps to take before Windows 10 is available to help you save both time and money on your business computer needs:

1. Evaluate what you have. Will you need to replace your current computer so it can run the new Windows 10 software? Determine the age of the hardware and software that your company currently owns. Take into account that the average lifecycle for hardware is four years; two years for software.

For those who have waited to upgrade, you may need to double your hardware requirements for memory, processor and storage to get the best performance. Although Microsoft’s documentation shows little change in hardware requirements from Windows 7 to Windows 10, you must keep in mind that these are the base standards. You may need to add more memory, more storage capacity and a faster processor to ensure the best quality experience, or buy a new computer(s) that comes with the hardware to help you work efficiently.

2. Identify the most important applications that you use every day. This could be accounting software or programs like Microsoft Office. Are you using the recent version? If not, how old is the program that you are running? Depending on the age of your application, it may require updates prior to an upgrading your operating system.

3. Budget for any hardware and software upgrades in 2016, especially if you haven’t upgraded since Windows 7. Microsoft will only provide free upgrades for the first year, so timing is critical. The new software promises to be what its predecessor Windows 8 was not–a viable business upgrade.

While there are many benefits to this upgrade, some technology remediation may be required. With assistance from an I.T. professional who specializes in small business computer services, you’ll be expertly guided through the upgrade process and have an immediate resource to overcome potential challenges.

For business owners who have waited the last six years or more to upgrade their computer operating systems, hardware and software, the timing is right to make these changes now.

Juan Granados concentrates on providing practical, customized, creative and cost-effective technology solutions. Before founding Compural ( in 2013, he worked for 13 years as a consultant and I.T. expert technician handling business computer services. He writes about an array of I.T. tips and topics for small businesses in his blog posts at