Seems like I’ve been getting this question a lot lately. I’ve also gotten the alternative question. You know. “Should I have upgraded to Windows 10?”
Here’s some things to consider. This is not a complete dissertation on the subject; it’s more a random list of thoughts. But, heck, a complete dissertation would bore us all.
First, if you have Windows 7 and everything is working fine, why mess with it? Microsoft will continue to offer extended support until January 14, 2020. That gives you time to upgrade when you get a new computer. You know me. I believe in doing things the easy way.
Windows 7 is a really good, solid operating system. It works. More importantly, it lets you work. So if you are happy with it, keep it.
Another reason to hesitate about upgrading from 7 to 10 right now is other software expense. Your pre-2015 QuickBooks, for example, is not supported on Windows 10. Only QB 2015 and 2016 are supported on Win10. Might it work? Sure. Might you think it’s working and then it takes a dive on you when you are 18 hours from your tax appointment and not done with last year? Yep, much possible.
You also might have Microsoft Office that won’t work on Win10. I am recommending Office 365, the eternal monthly subscription service. But, if you are not on it now you might have to start that handy $10/month charge for the rest of your life. You will eventually; all you can decide is when.
Other software you purchased more than a couple years ago will also probably require upgrades.
Your printer may or may not have a Windows10 driver available.
Do you see why I think it can be worth it to just leave your Win7 machine alone until you replace your computer?
Windows 8 and 8.1
First, if you are running 8, you definitely need to consider 8.1 because it isn’t quite as bad. Probably 10 is your better bet.
Let’s be honest. An operating system is complex software. It can’t always go well. Vista and Win8 were not successes. But you have to forgive the people that gave us Windows XP, 7 and 10. Yes, I think maybe 10 is pretty good. Too soon to know for sure.
It is not, however, too soon to say that 10 is better than 8. From my perspective, Win8 is a wreck. I couldn’t find much on the surface that it added to the small business user’s experience. But it sure took longer to do everything. Definitely a violation of my “keep things easy” mantra. Win10 has been pretty straightforward and intuitive for me. As far as I can tell, it works.
So if you have Win8 or 8.1 and you have your taxes done and you aren’t in a rush time of year, then go for it. Back everything up, twice. Then check to make sure your computer will run Win10 and if it will, go ahead and upgrade. You’ll end up having trouble with drivers for printers and the like, but you’ll get that sorted out and it will work. Just don’t do it when you need the computer to work for some mission critical task in the next few days.
Yes, buy one with Windows 10 on it if you are going to buy a computer now. I fudge on this when operating systems are new, but Win10 isn’t brand new and you might as well get an old one.
Networking with QuickBooks
One caveat. If you have a QuickBooks network, you need to keep your networked computers on the same operating system. This one is from Intuit. I’ve asked probably 5 different Intuit tech support people about this over two different incidents lately. They are consistent – Intuit does not recommend using more than one operating system in a QuickBooks network. From experience I can say they will sometimes work and then become unstable when you need them. The networks are fine, but the connections to the QB database are more sensitive so they don’t hold up.
There are some rumors out there that part of why Microsoft wants to make you switch is that eventually they will charge you to keep using it or to get updates. I suspect this is true. Software companies are in love with these subscriptions. One rumor I heard was that your Windows subscriptions will be included with your Office 365 subscription. That would be okay.
So those are my random thoughts on today’s Windows operating system situation. Good luck!