Windows is offering a free upgrade! What else would you need to know? Windows 10 offers a wealth of new features and resolution of issues contained in Windows 7/8, but it might not be for everyone. Before taking the leap to Windows 10, consider some of these potential pitfalls.
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Abandonment of Privacy
Like versions prior to Windows 10, Microsoft pushes automatic updates to ensure you receive up-to-date security patches, Defender definitions, bug fixes and device drivers. Unlike prior versions, however, there is no option to disable automatic updates (some of which could optionally arrive via an integrated P2P network) or at least be given a choice before they’re installed. Basically, every update is installed in your system whether you want them or not. This is a double-edged sword of a good idea versus poor execution. That is, it might not sound so bad until you consider the potential of buggy upgrades or drivers that cause system-wide problems and the inevitable and unpredictable system restarts required of many updates. In this author’s first four-day experience with Windows 10, automatic updates forced a restart three times (or at least three sessions, because some updates forced multiple restarts), one of which created a two-hour restart loop that threatened to end the system.
You do have the option of scheduling when the restart occurs, but it would be vastly better to notify users of available upgrades and then give them the choice of updating or not. If you install a problematic driver or upgrade, you can uninstall it, but it will just reinstall again automatically, so that doesn’t help much. In response to this scenario, Microsoft has created a Show or Hide Updates troubleshooter package to at least allow you to avoid failed updates, but you still have no choice but to install them the first time to prove there’s a problem with them.
A final solution appears for Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise editions (show in the above screenshot) that allow you to defer updates for a certain period of time. That means owners of these editions can wait while Microsoft uses Windows 10 Home users as guinea pigs as they force update after update down their throats.
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Abandonment of Privacy
If you copy and paste the complete Microsoft Service Agreement and Privacy Statement into a Word document, the result is a 74-page novella that few people will actually read. If you do manage to work your way through the text, two things becomes abundantly clear: Your data is no longer your own and anonymity is a thing of the past. That doesn’t mean Microsoft is the only culprit; iOS and Android behave similarly, but it’s not something many people relish in their primary work/play PC. Think about it: You’re entrusting a major corporation with your voice print, theoretically anything you type, your passwords, a copy of your BitLocker encryption key, Wi-Fi passwords, downloading habits, contacts, work/financial documents and anything else you do on your computer.
There are options to disable these privacy breeches, but it still leaves a hint of paranoia considering that all these options are enabled by default and you can never be sure all the holes are plugged. What’s more, some services won’t work at all unless you enable optional, privacy-compromising components. A major example of this is Cortana. Why is voice data mandatory for it to function, when you can rely solely on keyboard input? Why must location be enabled when there’s a wealth of assistance that doesn’t require location? If privacy is of paramount concern, this may well be a deal-breaker for you.
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Other than these specific Windows 10 issues, there are also generalized concerns that apply to any newly released system. For one, Windows 10 isn’t fully tested and the bugs haven’t all been run out yet. This means upgrading could bring with it stability issues and erratic behavior. If you’re happy with your current system and are of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" mentality, why risk it so early? Let others iron out the kinks while you continue being productive in your fully tested, albeit older, operating system. Furthermore, although transitioning from Windows 7/8 into Windows 10 isn’t stepping into an alien world, especially for the technically-minded, there is a learning curve during which your productivity may well suffer.
In conclusion, carefully consider your needs before performing the upgrade. To help your decision, also check out the sister article, “What to Expect in Windows 10," to weigh in the benefits. Balance the pros and cons before making a decision, but if you do decide to upgrade, know that Windows will keep a copy of your old installation for a month, during which time you can switch back if Windows 10 isn’t for you.