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Windows 10 -- Should I Upgrade?
A big question on many minds these days is whether or not to take advantage of Microsoft's offer of a free Windows 10 Upgrade. It looks like a great deal; and it is advertised to be faster, more secure, and have a better user experience. So the question is... should you upgrade? The answer is not a simple "yes" or "no", depending on your circumstances. Let's take a look at some of the features of Windows 10 that will impact the Point-of-Sale world. ---------- ## It's Free ## **Windows 10**, at this point in time, is ***free*** to upgrade from previous versions. However, that free offer will only last until mid-2016. After July 29, 2016 it will cost ~200 for a license. Also, the Windows 10 license is tied to the hardware where it is installed. If you buy a new machine or change any parts, you will be required to purchase a new license. ## Hardware Drivers ## Microsoft has done a terrific job in the past with including correct drivers for hardware. In the past, it required hunting down and installing the correct versions from a manufacturer's website. Microsoft has removed a lot of that guesswork and does the searching and installing automatically. However, not all drivers are immediately available. Older hardware or interfaces may not be fully supported, or the drivers might not be compatible. Take note of all the hardware connected to your terminal (**printer, barcode scanner, weight scale, pole display, etc.)** and check with the manufacturers to see if it is compatible with Windows 10 before upgrading. ## Automatic Updating ## This is the single most important change in **Windows 10**. In the past **Windows XP, 7, 8, and 8.1** all offered a measure of ***control*** for updates. However, Windows 10 now automatically checks, downloads, and installs updates without any interaction from the user or owner. Why is this good? Why is this a problem? The good thing is that the end-user no longer has to maintain the updates. The bad part is that there is no control over what updates are applied. If there's an update that breaks the functionality of hardware, there's no way to stop it from being applied. When working with POS hardware there are often specific software drivers that are intended to function a specific way; and if that software or driver environment is changed, there's not much the end-user can do to fix it. ## Free Upgrades and New Features ## Along with the Automatic Updates, owners of Windows 10 will get free upgrades to the operating system, along with all-new features with each version, until 2025. ## It can be Downgraded ## If you install Windows 10, you have 30 days to test it out before the upgrade becomes permanent. Any time before that, there is a feature in the Settings screen that allows you to "go back" to your previous Windows version, which will look and act just as it was before you clicked the Upgrade button. ---------- Now that we've looked at the pros and cons of features, let's look at how that will affect your computer. ## Simple POS Terminal ## If your terminal is working fine, using an older Windows version like **Windows XP or 7** and is only used for simple customer interactions (cash register, order management, back-office database), then it is probably not going to be a major benefit to upgrade. The change over to Windows 10 brings in some issues that may degrade or impair usage (see the notes about **Hardware Drivers** and **Automatic Updates**). For this reason, with a Simple POS Terminal, our verdict is ***Not Recommended***. ## New POS Terminal or Personal PC ## Newer hardware or terminals that are ***mixed-usage*** (using for sales and personal or business functions) will see better benefits from the upgrade. We recommend contacting the manufacturer of any hardware or peripherals to ensure they will be compatible before the upgrade. Our verdict is ***Recommended*** ## Tablet Terminals ## Windows 10 was designed with a tablet interface in mind. It has excellent **touch-based** features and controls; and it can be customized more than Windows 8 or 8.1. However, not all tablets will be able to handle the load from Windows 10, which does require a bit more processing power than previous versions. Also, again, not all hardware is compatible. Some manufacturers have warned users to not upgrade because of driver incompatibility. Contact your manufacturer first! Our verdict: **Reserve a Copy, Contact Manufacturer First**. ---------- So our overall opinion remains reserved and cautious. In a few years, things will settle and Windows 10 will not only be a viable choice, it will be the only choice. However, we are in the transition period between these two operating systems. This has happened with all previous versions as well, so it's not a surprise that it's a little rocky. We're confident that Windows 10 will be a great and effective operating system. ***Need Help determining if your POS Terminal will be compatible?*** We can help! We support what we sell! **POSGuys Technical Support** 1-800-903-6571 Ext. 302 Support@posguys.com
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