I am now close to one month in with the Windows 10 upgrade on my workhorse Acer laptop. Mine is a fussy old machine so I had my worries about whether the upgrade would slow it down more or help stabilize it. After a lot of reading about the pros and possible cons on the Web, I eventually backed up my data and took the risk of the upgrade. So far my personal experience has been positive – and the price was right as the upgrade is free.
The nature of my work in social media and digital marketing requires multiple tabs to be open at all times. I typically use the Firefox browser and pre-Windows 10 I had quite a bit of frustration in the multi-tab environment as the browser would frequently freeze up – sometimes for minutes on end. I was just about in the mood to drop some serious cash on a new laptop but, again, took the Windows 10 risk. Things are much better for me now, but should you upgrade your law firm’s computers?
What are the thoughts in the legal industry?
Writing for Above the Law, blogger Jeff Bennion says that it’s not a matter of whether you move your firm to Windows 10, but when. And like Windows XP, support for older versions (7, 8,) of Windows operating systems will be finite. The question of when comes into play particularly with larger law firms “mainly because you have a lot of pieces to move and everything has to be compatible with everything before things can be upgraded,” Jeff writes.
The guys over at Clio love Windows 10, having been Windows 8 haters.
“Windows 10 is faster than Windows 7. It’s less aggravating and more intuitive than Windows 8. It borrows elements from mobile operating systems (the notification center and Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now) that will boost your productivity.”
They urge caution, however, with a huge rush to upgrade. As with any new software, there will be bugs that will have to be worked out. They note that even some of Windows’ own programs (Windows Live Writer, cutting and pasting functionality, e.g.) have trouble starting up or crashing inexplicably, so “imagine how little testing has gone into compatibility with third-party lawyer-specific software,” they say.
Clio also notes that “Big Brother Bill” is watching what users are doing, stating that in terms of privacy protections the company has taken a huge step backwards. One aspect under scrutiny is the system’s sharing your personal Wi-Fi passwords with folks on your contact list. Clio notes that that’s “great for visiting family, bad for accidentally allowing people to jump on your office Wi-Fi network.”
There are those (DailyKos post) that say if you’re in a profession that requires any type of “professionally-mandated confidentiality, whether it’s Doctor-Patient or Attorney-Client, you should not use Windows 10, even on your home machine.” That may be. I’m just a worker bee, you guys are the lawyers. There’s a post on reddit that supposedly shows a way a disabling some of the Big Brother features during the installation process.
Rekall Technologies urges law firms to hold off at least one year from the July 29, 2015 launch of Windows 10 before upgrading.
“Don’t be a Microsoft guinea pig, wait a year for the world to find out if this operating system is ready for prime time. Then, if you have an old PC consider the Windows 10 upgrade. This is what we’re advising our law firms to do.”
Maybe that’s extreme, but at the same time maybe it’s sound advice.
If you’re a solo practitioner, you probably can go ahead and be an early adopter of Windows 10. If you’re a medium-size or larger law firm, it may be a year before you get the upgrade. If you’re looking to jump on the band wagon now, Dan Graziano at c|net has written the fine piece “How to prepare your PC for Windows 10.” This is the article I read before taking the leap.
Regardless of early bugs and some (probably rightful) contentiousness about privacy, Windows 10 is finding itself to be popular from the outset with its vibrant color themes, stability, and overall ease of use.
Windows 10 is in, even if it’s a matter of when at your firm. It will no doubt be as universal of an operating system as Windows XP and 7 ever were.