Windows 10 classic screen

What to take into account

Small business client OS selection can be one of the more important decisions in its IT management. Should you be rushing to upgrade to a new “untested” OS, or just “play safe”

and keep everything on that “everything we need works” outdated Windows XP?
Fact of the matter is playing safe isn’t really safe. Using an outdated OS on clients that are going to be connected to your corporate network, and will more then likely be browsing the Internet is a security risk.
The reason we are not discussing another OS apart of Windows is that usually you will encounter a lot of technical difficulty trying to bypass Windows. Be it that Windows-only CRM your company uses, be it some pesky net banking or a lot of other “must have” apps you will encounter people using in companies.

Our general conclusion about Windows 10, is that in most of the things that really matter — speed, security, interface, compatibility, and software tools, it is a vast improvement over its forbears. General stability and performance has been greatly increased when compared to Windows 7 for example.
With windows 10, most of the drivers will automatically be updated by the OS itself, gone are the days when we used to search drivers of the hardware manually. Task manager has been greatly improved by adding disk performance and usage by process, now you can finally detect what is causing a client machine slow-down. If you never made the move to Windows 8 or 8.1, you’ve missed out on one of the best things to hit Windows operating systems in forever: Fast startup. There are even comparison videos showing that Windows 8.1 starts up faster on a Macbook than OS X. And that’s compared to a fast booting operating system. Compared with Windows 7, the newer Microsoft OSes leave the older one at the gates.

Our recommendations

Without going to much into the OS debate, instead we offer you some advice on how to configure your Windows 10 OS in a small business environment.

1. Disabling Cortana and restricting all privacy settings

There should be little reason for people in your company to be talking to their computers and apps. While it might seem fancy showing off Cortana to your friends, its to be avoided in a busy company environment. Same goes for location services, sending diagnostic data to Microsoft or showing relevant adds on your workstations.

2. Disabling sounds and autoplay

While it might provide a better experience at home, using Windows sounds on 50+ workstations is just confusing. Disabling Autoplay for USB/CD/DVD etc. is just a good security practice.

3. Defering feature updates

This option will delay feature updates, but keep updating important security updates. You might want to test new Windows features at home, but for a work environment its better to let other users find new Windows bugs then to be the one doing it.

4. Optimizing Start menu and user experience

Showing suggestions for new games or having chaotic start menus should also be avoided, its usually best to remove everything but the apps you know your users need. Also having the same start menu on each workstation in your company will give you an easier time when you try and navigate them through it on the phone.

5. Cleaning up your OS after installation

Using Microsoft disk clean-up to remove traces of updates, delivery optimization files etc. and a custom tool like CCleaner portable to remove system temporary files, memory dumps, browser history and everything else.

6. What about an anti-virus and creating a system restore point or system image?

If you setup your IT with best practices we will be covering in other articles, you should not be worried about cryptolocker or other potential threats on a single workstation. Having Windows defender active, keeping your OS up to date and updating your Internet browser should provide sufficient protection. The 2% difference in detection you get from purchasing a full featured AV/Firewall/Malware protection is just not worth the money in a small business.
Keeping system images will take up a ton of space, and requires a lot of updating and overwriting… Doing a Windows 10 refresh and setting up network shortcuts and installing printers should be more then enough of a disaster recovery plan. Instead you should focus on protecting your users data by keeping it on highly redundant backed-up servers and forbidding any locally saved data through policies and instruction.

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