Windows 10 – What Northeastern Windows users need to know

Windows 10 start screen

Microsoft began the phased release of Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. With its latest operating system, Microsoft is providing a new experience, and moving to a new delivery model for enterprise and personal users.

What is different?

Windows 10 is a major update, whether you are currently on Windows 7 or 8.1. For the look and feel, Microsoft has created a hybrid of the best of its most recent operating systems. Windows 10 keeps the Windows 8 aesthetic by designing a simple interface that crosses from computer to tablet to phone. At the same time, it updates the familiar core experience that Windows 7 users expect, including a Start button and Start menu.

Beyond the interface, the biggest obvious change for everyone will be the new browser, Edge, which is intended to replace Internet Explorer (if you need it, you will still be able to find IE). There’s also a brand new addition: Cortana is a search/digital assistant that, with some setup, will operate as a voice assistant, much like asking Siri or Google a question on your phone or tablet. And Windows 10 has a number of built-in apps, like Maps, Photos, Mail & Calendar, Music, and Video, all of which save and sync to OneDrive.

As a product, Windows 10 is the start of a new service model for Microsoft, one without big announced releases. For individual users, Microsoft will be pushing feature updates, upgrades and fixes to Windows 10 as they come available. This model is similar to Office 365, although you won’t need to pay for a subscription, as new features and upgrades will be continuously rolled out as they are completed. Enterprises, such as Northeastern, will receive those same updates and be able to install them in a more controlled fashion within the university community.

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

Should I upgrade now? The ITS perspective

Prior to today’s release, ITS has been actively engaged in evaluating and providing feedback for the pre-release developer versions of Windows 10. Now that the official enterprise release is available, we will be testing it for compatibility with all of Northeastern’s networks, applications and systems. Similarly, many technology vendors have announced that they are still in the process of updating their products so that they may be compatible with Windows 10, including applications used at Northeastern such as the PaloAlto GlobalProtect VPN client and Symantec Endpoint Protect (SEP) antivirus software. [UPDATE – 8/24/2015: Both PaloAlto and Symantec have released updated software that supports Windows 10]. Meanwhile, ITS cannot guarantee that those who upgrade will have a seamless transition. We will provide further information once testing and analysis are complete.

  • Northeastern-managed computers – ITS is developing a new Windows image for faculty/staff and for ITS-managed lab computers that will be based on Windows 10. This is anticipated to be available in early 2016.
  • 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, as those two services are known to not yet work on Windows 10.

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