Before reading any further, please calm down. The blog title isn’t a typo! I said “it’s time to update Windows 10,” not “upgrade to Windows 10!” For all you Windows 7 and 8.1 users out there, don’t worry. I’m not trying to steal your Windows or push you to Windows 10! Heck, I like Windows 7. It’s easy to use and it’s rock solid. As long as you’re running Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 you’re covered with extended support (read: security updates) from Microsoft through January 14th, 2020.
If you are running Windows 8.1 then you’re covered with Microsoft extended support (and security updates) until January 10th 2023. If by some chance you’re still running Windows 8 then I think you should consider upgrading to Windows 8.1. First off, Windows 8 isn’t supported by Microsoft any more – at all – so it’s not getting Windows updates any more. That makes it vastly more vulnerable to hacking than a machine that’s kept current. Windows 8.1 has lots of enhancements over Windows 8 but really what most people like about Windows 8.1 is the Start button. Why Microsoft ever thought removing the Start button from Windows 8 was a good idea I’ll never know but it’s back in Windows 8.1!
Synopsis: If you have Windows 7 you can safely keep it for a couple more years. If you have Windows 8 upgrade it to Windows 8.1. If you have Windows 10 keep reading.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Now that Windows 10 is out, Microsoft has publicly stated that Windows 10 is where all their development efforts will be focused going forward. Rather than releasing large software updates in the form of completely new operating systems every 3-4 years Microsoft will keep improving Windows 10 instead. Remember the olden days when we went from Windows 3.1 to 95 to 98 to Vista/XP in a ten-year span? Those days are gone and Windows 10 is here to stay.
What does that mean for you?
Well first off, Windows 10 gets feature updates every six months now. That doesn’t sound so bad but what does sound bad is that Microsoft is only going to support each update for 18 months after its release. In my personal opinion, this is a really dirty trick. Most companies – mine included – don’t want to have to update Windows so often. We’d rather just use the systems we have to get our work done and skip updating our systems every 18 months (at the latest). And yes, we could just opt out of Windows updates, but then our systems would become more vulnerable because we wouldn’t be getting security patches any more.
Three things. First, you need to find out which release of Windows 10 you’re running. To do this, go into Control Panel (click the Start button then the little gear) then click System, then click About. If you scroll to the bottom of the panel you should see something like the image below. The release number is listed as “Version” under “Windows Specifications.” For example, here you can see I’m running Windows 10 Pro version 1709, which is called the “Fall Creators’ Update.”
Second, find your Windows edition (Home/Pro/Enterprise/Education) and version (1507, 1607, 1709, etc.) in the table below and to see how long your current Windows version will keep receiving security updates and be supported by Microsoft. For example, I’m running Windows 10 Pro version 1709 so I’m covered until April 19th, 2019.
Third, if your Windows 10 edition/version is no longer supported by Microsoft, then you really should update to the most recent version. When a Windows 10 version falls off the Microsoft support schedule, Microsoft stops providing security updates for it. That means the older your Windows 10 system gets, the more vulnerabilities will be found for it that will not be patched. That makes your computer much more vulnerable to hacking attempts.
I’m not thrilled about the news that Windows 10 will have to be updated so often but unfortunately that’s the way Microsoft has decided things will be from now on. If you continue to opt out of updating Windows 10 you’re putting your computer, your personal information, and even your company at risk. It’s really just not worth it. At Denton Business Solutions we consider Windows updates a critical task in managing a secure, stable and productive IT environment. If you need help getting the most out of your IT assets or you’re worried about keeping your systems secure, please let us know and we’d be happy to help you.