Do you run Windows OS on your business computers and devices? A lot of small and medium-sized businesses do, which of course, doesn’t come as a surprise, given how dominant Microsoft has been in the corporate space in recent years. This dominance has been attributed to the unparalleled Microsoft Office productivity suite and server products that allow businesses to operate more securely and efficiently. Having said that, let’s ask a more specific question: which version of Windows are you running on your devices? Windows operating systems have been upgraded from the popular Windows XP to the latest operating system, Windows 10.
With each and every upgrade, Microsoft has been coming up with the best version of the OS, which makes Windows 10 the best version of them all. Of course, before Windows XP there were other versions, but be that as it may, Windows 10 is the best as it has combined the most loved features of the previous OS versions and has even upgraded further. So, if you haven’t upgraded your OS yet, you might want to do it now, as you stand to benefit immensely. After all, with the discontinuation of Windows 7 support in January 2020, it means that businesses have to upgrade to ensure that their devices run on the most secure operating system. In fact, let’s explore Windows a little further, to help you understand what you stand to gain by upgrading to Windows 10. But first:
What are some features of Windows 10?
Before we look at the benefits of the OS, how about we try to understand it better first by looking at some of its key features? Windows 10 includes some great new features and improvements, which are:
Start menu – Windows 10 reintroduced the Start Menu back after missing it on Windows 8. When you tap on the Start Menu, two panels appear; on one column, you will see the recent and most-used apps, while on the other column, you will see a selection of tiles that the user is able to customise, organise, or even resize. This means that with the new and improved Start Menu, ease of access and organisation for the business is made possible, while at the same time allowing a safe level of personalisation for the employees.
Cortana integration – this got to be the most interesting feature on Windows 10. Cortana is a voice-controlled assistant software, which makes it easier for you to interact with your device without having to lift a finger. What makes Cortana such an interesting feature is the fact that it allows you to search your hard drive for specific rules, launch PowerPoint presentations or even pull up photos from your device by just telling the PC to do so. What’s more, you can even ask Cortana to send an email when you are busy doing something else, thereby making multitasking much easier. Adoption of this feature in a business setup will certainly result in a more efficient process, which in turn improves productivity.
Edge web browser – this is the other perk of Windows 10, which comes integrated with Cortana, and it allows the users to search via voice control. You can also use this feature to annotate and store all the web pages on OneDrive, which can also be shared with other users. You will also find the “Reading List” and the “Reading Mode” functions, where the former syncs content between devices, while the latter allows easier reading by stripping out formatting. Yes, the Edge browser may lack some of the features found on Google Chrome, however, that doesn’t take away the fact that it is fast, efficient, and deserves to be integrated into Windows 10. Even better, this browser is designed to overpower most threats on the web, which means that it’s an added layer of protection on the OS, making it highly secure for most business users.
Xbox App – are you a gamer? If so guess what, with the new Windows 10, you will be able to play any Xbox One game on your device. The OS supports Xbox game streaming with much more improved speed and graphics performance – all made possible by the DirectX 12 support, which allows you to record, edit, and share your victories with the Game DVR feature. It also allows you to play the last 30 seconds of your last game so that you don’t miss unexpected moves or wins. With the Xbox app, you will be able to join your friends on the same Xbox platform.
Virtual desktop – there is another feature that will certainly benefit a majority of the users of Windows 10, known as ‘Task view’. This feature allows you to switch between multiple desktops quite easily, allowing you to manage several open apps and windows, while at the same time leaving some extra screen space for any other task. Moreover, the “Task View” feature gives users access to the Windows timeline, where they get to see all the recent activities, which comes in handy when one is trying to navigate a certain webpage.
Advantages of Windows 10
Enhanced productivity – this is one of the benefits of Windows 10 for your business. With productivity-enhancing features such as improved search features, multitasking capabilities, as well as an interactive web browser, means that the OS is designed to increase the efficiency of your digital life. Among other things, such features help you to highlight content, make notes, and also able to share your modifications with other Windows users, which all contribute to enhanced productivity for all users. Remember, this system is being used on all devices, which makes it easy to switch from one device to another, without the need to learn the different interfaces that might be involved.
Universality – as we already mentioned, Windows is compatible with almost all devices, as it is available on desktops, laptops, tablets, and even on some phones. And with the Start menu back, it has reintroduced a familiar Windows experience to all users. Now, the fact that the OS is able to operate across a multitude of devices, both presentation screens, and handheld devices, is what makes it universal, which means even those who are unfamiliar with it won’t get such a hard time trying to navigate it, or while pitching, if it’s in a business setting. Moreover, the shift to cloud-based storage and applications like OneDrive is also making access to data such an easy task. Again, the consistency and ease of access across all devices make the OS a smooth experience for everyone.
Improved security – at the moment, Windows 10 is rated as Microsoft’s most secured OS ever, and it has been proven time and again to be so. The OS comes with improved security features that make it easier for users to keep their devices and data protected at all times. For instance, the presence of Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) on Windows 10 kept it safe from the largest global ransomware attack ever, Wannacry, which means that all the devices with the OS were protected. So, businesses, particularly SMEs, can now be able to take advantage of this security defence to protect themselves against ransomware and other cyber threats. These businesses are able to enjoy all the benefits of windows 10 enterprise-grade security and control without having to spend too much and without the usual complexities.
On Windows 8, one of the security features – Secure Boot – has been upgraded in Windows 10 for enhanced security performances. Basically, Secure Boot mandates all the software on your devices that begin when Windows 10 is starting to be signed off by the hardware manufacturer and Microsoft. Now, here are some security features on Windows 10 guaranteed to protect your devices against cyberattacks:
- User control account
- Windows Defender Smart Screen
- Windows Defender Device Guard
- Microsoft Bitlocker
- Windows Defender Exploit Guard
- Windows Defender Application Guard
- Windows Defender Credential Guard
Identity management – something else about Windows 10 is the Windows Hello feature that collects the user’s biometric data, which it then uses to verify the identity of the individual trying to log in on your device. A single pin may be created in order to manage or control a number of login credentials required by individual staff. Each device running on Windows 10 requires at least one user account enabled by a password. If you have multiple devices that are joined to a Windows domain, then Active Directory features comes into play.
Enhanced usability – Windows 10 has a user-friendly design which makes it easier to navigate. Having combined the best usability features from Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft was able to create a more improved Windows 10 operating system that comes with the ever-popular start button with start tiles, which when combined, makes the OS more user-friendly. When you tap on the Start button, it expands into the amazing tiles that basically give you access to everything you need from your device. Moreover, depending on your device, Windows 10 gives you the option to activate the touch screen feature, which most users prefer considering its smoothness and efficiency. Then we have the Universal Windows app features which give users a simplified user experience in all their devices. Not to forget the Adjustable Snap feature that allows the users to open multiple windows on one screen, all of which improves user experience.
Scale your business technology seamlessly at an affordable cost – to business people, this is very crucial, and the good news is that it is one of the pros of Windows 10. See, the Windows 10 Enterprise, through a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), ensures that you benefit from a pay-as-you-go subscription model. What this means is that as the needs of your business change, you will be able to adjust as per those changes. Also, the CSP can reassign licenses and also bring new employees if required. In addition, Windows 10 Enterprise gives small businesses access to enterprise-grade security features at a reasonable cost, which keeps their businesses protected from cyber security threats.
Windows 10 tips and tricks
Personalise the start menu – one thing that you see when you start your device is the colourful and vibrant Start Menu, which is in fact what sets Windows 10 out apart from the previous systems. Quick question, do you know that you can customise it? Well, you can! Just go to Start, then Settings, then Personalisation, and then ‘Start’ so as to customise the appearance of your new environment. There are a number of options that will appear. Customise them to your liking.
Use Focus Assist in order to keep you on-task – often times you will find that you are regularly interrupted, probably by random pop-ups, which really distracts your attention. Now, Windows 10 has Focus Assist which helps to keep you focused and on track. It keeps off notifications and alerts from distracting you when you are busy. Just go to ‘Settings’, then ‘System’, and then ‘Focus Assist.’ You can also customise this option to turn on notifications automatically at certain hours, and also the notifications that should pop up. Under Focus Assist, just select ‘Priority Only’, and you will see the ‘Customise your priority list.’
Utilise the dark mode and night light – there are times when you feel that your device’s light is really affecting your eyes, leading to headaches and eye strain. Windows 10 has the Dark mode and Night light to help you with that.
- Dark mode – go to Settings, Personalisation, then Color and select ‘dark’. This turns your bright screen to dark, which means that all the Windows apps will show white texts against a dark background.
- Night light – in the era of zoom calls, you might have noticed that when in one, and you are sitting straight in front of your monitor, the bright light from the monitor may be a little distractive and may make you look over-exposed. This is something that Microsoft tried to solve by introducing Night Light on Windows 10. Basically, the night light ensures that your display uses warmer colours, especially at night, which in turn reduces eye strain. You can also use it during the day, especially you are on zoom calls most of the time. To turn it on, go to Settings, then System, then Display, and then turn on Night Light.
Keep your devices safe – here are a number of basic security tips that you should know so as to keep your Windows 10 safe:
- Keep windows up to date – ensure that your system updates as regularly as possible. This ensures that it is always ready to deal with any threats, that would otherwise harm your device.
- Set a log-in password – remember, without a password, your computer is vulnerable to anyone, and that means your data will be compromised. Go to Settings – Accounts – Sign in options, to add a password.
- Ensure that your security software is up to date – in as much as Windows 10 comes with malware protection software, it is recommended that you add additional security software to guarantee maximum protection. Also, remember to keep this software updated at all times.
- Consider encryption – if someone, in one way or another, gets hold of your logged-on device and accesses your files, of course, they might steal some valuable data. So, always consider encrypting it. See, Windows 10 Enterprise, Professional, and Education versions come with a Bitlocker feature, which is able to encrypt your drives. If you don’t know how to encrypt, you can seek assistance from an expert.
- Use VPN – you probably know that Wi-Fi hotspots are unsafe. So, to be safe, you can use a VPN that encrypts everything that you receive or send.
As you have seen, you stand to benefit a lot from Windows 10. Everything about this OS is spot on, from the start button to the security features, and its usability. So, if you haven’t upgraded yet from the previous operating systems, consult an IT support company on how to do so. Windows 10 is a great operating system, and it’ll make your life easier if you upgrade now!