Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Is It Time to Move to Windows 10?

Windows 8 was a disaster. It looked like it was made for tablets, but was still slapped on PCs. Its interface was confusing and unintuitive. People hated it. Microsoft got the hint and decided it wouldn't even bother with a Windows 9 -- Gates and friends jumped straight to 10 instead.

If Windows 10 has gotten anything right, it's the price. The operating system comes free to owners of Windows 8 or 7. Does that mean lawyers should ditch their current set up for Windows 10? Here's an overview to help you decide.

Your Handy Start Button is Back and Handier

People like start buttons and they weren't happy when Windows hid theirs away in the last version. Microsoft learned its lesson and brought the start button back, so you'll have a trusty, familiar one-stop access to your shortcuts, apps, and documents. Microsoft is still relying on the tile design of Windows 8 however, but that's a good thing. You can customize groups of tiles that pop up when you click the start button, meaning you can keep your word processing software all in one grouping and practice management shortcuts in another.

Cortana, Bing, and Other Microsoft Content

Like most versions of Windows, Windows 10 comes with plenty of integrated MS products. (Don't worry, you don't have to use Internet Explorer.) Microsoft's answer to Siri, Cortana, is built in. Using your computer or tablet's microphone, you can ask this virtual assistant to schedule meetings or take notes. If Cortana needs to find out new information, she searches Bing. In fact, Bing searches are built in to Microsoft 10. These are both fine features, but the problem is none of them work all that wonderfully. The New York Times reports that when Cortana searches Bing for nearby places to eat, she comes back with places-to-eat-near-me.com, rather than an actual list of restaurants.

Security and Privacy

Windows 10 is supposed to be so secure that you can ditch your third-party antivirus software. Windows' built in browser, Edge, scans websites for signs of "suspicious characteristics." It also automatically updates some software to protect against newly discovered vulnerabilities and scans downloads for potential threats. It also comes with full disk encryption. We'd recommend waiting a bit before completely abandoning your normal security software, however.

What strengths Windows has in security are matched by weaknesses in privacy -- in that you give up a lot of yours. Windows 10 streams a ton of information about your use back to Microsoft, which should be a concern to lawyers, what with those pesky confidentiality rules. Thankfully, you can disable a lot of this sharing. It just takes a bit of customization.

Should You Switch?

Whether you make the switch or not will depend on how comfortable you are with your current system or how eager you are to try something new. If you switch between tablets and computers often, Windows 10 is great. If you're just a normal desktop user, it's still very good. In fact, virtually all of the reviews have been positive. But it's still basically brand new, so don't feel bad taking your time switching over. After all, it will still be free a few months from now.

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