Technology is always moving forward, and as a culture, we all tend to want the latest shiny toy. That new iPhone or tablet ‒ or, in this case, a new operating system that can do more, faster, better.


On July 29, 2015, Microsoft rshinynewtoy-careleased Windows 10, the highly anticipated updated version of its venerable desktop operating system. As opposed to the way the Windows 8 platform was launched, Microsoft is making a unique move to drive adoption of Windows 10. It is offering a free upgrade for nonenterprise users. You may have noticed the little “Reserve your copy of Windows 10” upgrade window in the lower-right of your screen. I personally have been highly tempted to click the button and do the upgrade. However, I pause, because the number one question I have about my system is, “Are the majority of my apps compatible with the new operating system?” 


This little bit of caution will save you a lot of heartache. There will be applications, peripherals and other little items on the computer that may not work correctly with Windows 10. Microsoft spends a lot of time verifying compatibility, but it is also dependent on the various third-party software and hardware developers to keep their code current. And these folks may take some time to write the code that integrates their apps with Windows 10. Or worse, some of these vendors may no longer be in business, so Windows 10 full support may never be available. Before you rush into having Microsoft’s latest and greatest version, ask yourself a few important questions.


               Has the software and hardware been tested with your current system? Prior to deploying Windows 10 companywide, pull out a spare computer, load Windows 10 and test your current application stack. Some vendors may have already certified their latest releases to work on Windows 10; others may be delayed in their testing. A good rule of thumb is to check the latest compatibility documents. These can most often be found on the software vendor’s website.


               Is it safe? New operating systems come with significant changes. Windows 10 represents a new way of doing things. The recent uproar about the privacy policy changes that accompany Windows 10 illustrates a point. Not only are there possible security vulnerabilities not yet discovered, but a new privacy policy may require a legal review. Will the changes made by Microsoft to security, policy, data retention and other important aspects of a safe environment all meet with the needs of your company?


               What impact will it have on users? With any shiny new toy, there are a new set of instructions. The same applies to Windows 10. Once familiar commands may not do the same thing. Features you relied on in the past may be sidelined. The Start Menu is back, but does it work like it used to? Consider the workflow of your users and how these changes may impact their everyday productivity. Plan for training and education.


               The Windows 10 operating system is an exciting upgrade and represents a new way to accomplish old tasks. Still, there must be thorough testing conducted by enterprises of all sizes to know what to expect when rolling out Windows 10. Application compatibility is paramount in any discussions and testing. Give your software vendors time to catch up to Microsoft. If you are considering upgrading, make sure to start a dialogue with impacted users, understand the workflow of your users, explore the operating system and kick the tires. 


If you’re going to the International Legal Technology Association convention (ILTACON), please stop by Booth 304 to see us demonstrate Windows 10 and Office 2016.