Windows 10 – What You Need to Know

Windows 10 start screen

Recommendation: Do NOT install the upgrade until compatibility requirements are met.

A Northeastern-supported image will be released in Fall 2016.

Since Microsoft launched Windows 10, ITS has encouraged the Northeastern Community to hold off on the upgrade until compatibility requirements are met. We’re working to ensure that Northeastern applications will be compatible with the new operating system. We will provide further information once testing and analysis are complete. In the meantime, ITS cannot guarantee that those who upgrade will have a seamless transition. 


It’s a whole new service model for Microsoft – instead of big releases, there will be regular improvements, updates and fixes rolled out directly to individual users as they come available. Enterprises, such as Northeastern, will receive those same updates and be able to install them in a more controlled fashion within the university community.

Microsoft is framing the OS as “Windows as a Service,” meaning it’s never quite done and constantly evolving. In fact, Microsoft is calling it ‘the last version of Windows‘.


Presenting a hybrid of the best of its most recent operating systems, Windows 10 touts more features, functionality, security, and polish. It’s flexible, adaptable and customizable. The simple interface easily crosses from computer to tablet to phone to touchscreen. It brings back the beloved Start button and Start menu from Windows 7.

Other features to check out include:

  • Action Center: Consolidated and quick access to settings, devices and alerts.
  • Virtual Desktops: Task view shows multiple windows/applications running at the same time
  • Edge: A fast browser with webpage annotation and reading mode (ad-free surfing)
  • Cortana: A voice-controlled digital voice assistant that operates much like Siri (optional)

For more information, see Microsoft’s Windows 10 Overview and the Windows 10 Launch page.


ITS recommends that users do NOT upgrade – yet. Windows 10 is a major operating system update and has the potential for compatibility issues. Windows 7 will remain as a fully supported operating system option.

ITS is actively engaged the official enterprise release, testing for compatibility with all of Northeastern’s networks, applications, and systems. Likewise, many technology vendors are still in the process of updating their products to ensure compatibility with Windows 10, including applications used at Northeastern.

We will provide further information once compatibility requirements are met.

  • Northeastern-managed computers – ITS is releasing a Windows 10 image for faculty/staff and ITS-managed lab computers. A recommended touch-screen tablet model is also forthcoming, which will support Windows 10.
  • Unmanaged Northeastern-owned computers – We strongly caution against upgrading to Windows 10 before ITS has completed testing.
  • Personal computers – If you reserved a copy, please note that when it becomes available to you, you will have the choice to wait to install it. ITS does NOT currently recommend upgrading if you use the GlobalProtect VPN to connect to Northeastern resources from off campus, or have installed Northeastern’s version of Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP) antivirus. These two services are known to not yet work on Windows 10.

Get Started

If you choose to upgrade to Windows 10 anyway, these are the recommended steps:

  1. Contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 or by email to initiate.
  2. Remember to back up any files you wish to keep prior to installation.
  3. Log into the ITS Knowledge Base for information on how to prepare for an OS upgrade.


For additional help or if you have questions, contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 or


Where did Internet Explorer and the Control Panel go? They will still be available (see the instructions below).

  • Internet Explorer: Type Internet Explorer into the Search the web and Windows bar at the bottom left of the Windows 10 screen.
  • Control Panel: Right click on the start button; the Control Panel is on the pop-up list.

Learn more

Details from Microsoft:
Windows 10 Quick Guide (Word download)
Windows 10 FAQs
Windows 10 Specifications

Related articles:
How To Geek – Here’s what’s different about Windows 10 for Windows 7 users
How To Geek – Here’s what’s different about Windows 10 for Windows 8 users
Mashable – Windows 10 is almost here: All your questions answered
The Verge – Windows 10 review
The Next Web – Windows 10: Here are the privacy issues you should know about