Windows 10 may not be loaded with new innovative features that have the “Wow Factor” some people expect in an upgrade, but it is a darn sight better then Windows 8. I for instance still prefer Linux to Windows but was happy to be rid of the bad UI design of Windows 8 on the computers that I still use Windows on. I have read some incredibly negative feedback on line, but most of it is based in FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) or ignorance. Sure, there are some real concerns over privacy and user choice in Windows 10, but most of these have been taken by others and blown way out of proportion. Windows 10’s mandatory automatic updates are one of these issues along with paranoia over the free upgrade offer.
Many people assumed “Windows as a service” meant that Windows would become a paid subscription service. Blogs and forums everywhere all full of comments from people convinced this means a subscription is coming. People assumed and widely claimed that Microsoft would start charging for mandatory updates including security patches. Now I don’t have a crystal ball to gaze into, but from everything Microsoft has said thus fur, this is not true. Windows 10 will not have an annual subscription fee or charge you for updates. The free upgrade is not a trial period that allows them to start charging after a year. People claiming otherwise clearly do not understand how Windows makes money for Microsoft and are often under the false impression that Microsoft will have to start charging for updates to make a profit. “Windows as a service” refers to updating and maintaining it as running code rather than developing and releasing future upgrades as a product.
With the advent of mobile devices changing the landscape Microsoft doesn’t have the monopoly it once did. Charging people to use or update Windows 10 a year or two after giving it to them as a free upgrade would be financial suicide for Microsoft. With plenty of competition happy to scoop up unhappy Windows users why would they even think about charging for updates or asking for a subscription fee? Microsoft makes money for every new device sold with Windows 10 on it. Microsoft makes money from extended support of older products for governments and large organizations. They are using a more unified and consistently updated Windows experience as a way to compete in a market of different devices as desktop sales continue to drop. People aren’t tied to a desktop computer any more and the competition got a jump on Microsoft with mobile devices. It isn’t that they didn’t see a future in mobile devices, they just didn’t take broad enough action quickly enough. It is time to catch up.
Windows 10 Home users not able to out right turn off automatic updating. Windows 10 Pro users can defer updates a somewhat limited time period. People using Windows must be kept updated to receive support. The bottom line, all Windows 10 users are required to keep their system up to date. The exception being enterprise users.
The new update policy is really designed to keep everyone safe. If you use an unpatched Windows computer you are open to exploits and malware. Your unpatched and potentially malware infected PC could infect others.
The “wait for the first service pack before installing updates or upgrading to a new version of Windows” idea is just pure FUD when it comes to Windows 10. Bugs come with every new software release but there Microsoft isn’t doing large service packs or Windows version upgrades anymore. There isn’t major compatibility issues unless you are migrating from Windows XP or Windows Vista. If it ran well in Windows 8 or 8.1 chances are the performance won’t change any in 10. They plan to update the operating system with small frequent updates instead of service packs and full Windows upgrades. This is what they meant by “Windows as a Service”. Windows will be a continually updated service without downtime or major upgrades to prepare for.
Some people continue to worry that updates have unintended consequences. It is a small possibility security or feature updates could adversely affect some applications, but with smaller more frequent updates this is less likely. As for drivers, keeping updated manufacturer versions of them installed is always best when possible. I don’t think Microsoft is going to pushing updates that brick computers and devices with so much on the line. This new business model could make or break them.
Contrary to popular belief Windows isn’t the only game in town. Even if some users don’t realize this Microsoft certainly does and made some of these changes in response. If you really are concerned about mandatory updates maybe Windows isn’t the OS for you. If you choose another OS in response to security measures keep in mind that you will still be open to exploits if you run unpatched code or neglect important updates. Every connected device running any OS is exploitable. Consistent and timely security updates is an important part of mitigating threats.