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Windows 10 - Quick Change?

(Juli 2015)

The new Windows 10 will be available soon. How often do you ask yourself: do I need the new Windows? What's the "free upgrade" all about? When should I change - if at all? When exactly can you get Windows 10?

The following article may give one or the other answer! The present first part contains general information and recommendations for switching to Windows 10, the second part deals with some new features of Windows 10, the ever closer connection with cloud services and their legal impact on data protection. 

Part 1: General Information about Windows 10

Unfortunately, the new products do not always bring us things from the "beautiful, new world" of technology that we want - especially not at a university. On the other hand, we are confronted with these developments - at the latest when you can no longer buy the "old" Windows versions. At this point at the least, the question arises how to use the new system without bringing too many problems into the university. 

Free upgrade for users of Windows 7 or Windows 8.x also at the university?

The new Windows comes onto the market free of charge for many computers and Microsoft is trying to get Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users to switch quickly by offering baits. 

These offers are free of charge for private users and users of original OEM Windows versions (purchased with the computer and actively used). The free upgrade offer is valid for one year from the release date. 

According to Microsoft's announcement, Windows 10 comes

  • as a free upgrade via the Internet for download from 29.7. initially for registered participants of the extensive test
  • then, over time, the free upgrade will also be available over the Internet for computers that have Windows 7 or 8 installed as an OEM operating system or full version and for which the new Windows has been pre-reserved/ordered via the Windows icon in the taskbar (right).

If the reservation/order icon does not appear, either all updates are not installed, the hardware is incompatible, or there is no entitlement to the free upgrade. 

Licenses purchased via the software shop from the Select framework agreement may only be upgraded free of charge if a valid (!) Software Assurance (SA, at Microsoft the term for "maintenance" etc.) has been purchased. In this case you only need the data carrier. 

An SA is always valid from the date of purchase until the next anniversary of the framework agreement (with us 1.7) and then another 2 years. However, most orders at the university are carried out without software assurance and therefore no free upgrade is possible, but new version must be purchased. Even computers on which an original OEM system was previously installed with a Select Windows, do not allow a free update if no valid SA is available. 

Computers running an older system (Windows XP or Windows Vista) are also not eligible for free updates to Windows 10.

This puts the question of whether free upgrade are available at the university into perspective.

Better to change soon or wait?

Well, you can guess the answer: Since Microsoft has announced the offer for free upgrades for a whole year, let the others find the shortcomings first and then start later. 

If you are considering purchasing a new license, you should consider purchasing a Windows 10 license, but insist on a downgrade right. Many vendors offer this. Make sure that you also get the media for BOTH systems and that your licenses are listed correctly in the invoice. Of course, you can also use Windows 10 directly, but then it would be advisable to shut down most new developments and use the system as if you had an older operating system (i.e. no connection to MS Cloud and use without Microsoft Live Id, deactivation of most "new features", etc.). Some reasons for this can be found in the second part of this article

If you want to change over an existing system, it is sufficient, for example, to schedule a changeover at the beginning of the next year or during the semester break after the winter semester. We all do not know today whether Windows 10 will run smoothly and whether our "favourite applications" will all work perfectly. If you need a working environment, you should definitely wait. This also gives vendors time to tune their products to Windows 10. 

Bottom line

If you let the information collected above in summary have an effect on you, you may also get it:

  1.  For many computers at the University of Bonn there is currently no possibility of a free upgrade to Windows 10.
  2. Computers, which provide the working environment and on which one is dependent in the work, should not be dependent in the work, should not be converted at first, until one has more experiences and then also the necessary time for the conversion. 
  3.  Many new features are not very helpful in the university environment and for some it is necessary to consider carefully whether they might even be forbidden (concerning data protection and the protection of research results, see part 2).
  4. Take your time with a possible upgrade, but at the beginning of next year - based on the information then available - consider whether the upgrade to the new version Windows 10 could be justifiable (if it is at all economical).
  5.  And as a nasty remark: Consider seriously whether you do not want to switch to a Linux system with these great future expectations that the system brings to our computers. 

Hopefully, this compact information has already helped you to decide how to continue using Windows 10. In the following article "Windows 10 - Quick Change? (Part 2)" deals with some of the advertised features of Windows 10 and the question of what consequences these features could have in the university environment. There is also a supplement on the subject data protection and the problems resulting from cloud use, which is becoming increasingly integrated in Windows 10. 

Kind Regards 

Andreas Beutgen

Department for Workplace Systems, HRZ


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