Microsoft’s long awaited new operating system—Windows 10—has finally arrived. Most consumers will take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 that is available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. But is it a wise choice to upgrade now?
Well, that depends. For the average consumer upgrading shouldn’t cause a lot of concern. This individual mainly needs to understand that there will be a slight learning curve as there is with any upgrade. However, Windows 10 does correct a lot of the mistakes and issues that plagued Windows 8. Therefore, if you’re simply browsing the Internet, gaming, or watching movies, the upgrade should be fairly painless.
In fact, Windows 10 does the best job yet of creating a user interface that makes sense for both a PC with a keyboard and devices that use touch, such as your smartphone and tablet. I think many will like the new Edge browser that will replace Internet Explorer, as it, too, signals a departure from clunky, slow, less secure browsers to the modern browser built on HTML 5 standards. In other words, you should have a more secure and faster browser with Edge.
Yet, I am not writing this article to general consumers, I am writing to you, the Real Estate Professional. Therefore, like it or not, there are other considerations you need to ponder before moving to Windows 10 as a business.
For a REALTOR®, your first criteria for purchasing any new PC should be compatibility with the tool you use the most: the Paragon 5 MLS system. Currently, Windows 10 and the new Edge browser are not supported for Paragon use. They are currently undergoing Quality Assurance review with Black Knight, the developer of Paragon 5.
The same can be said of Form Simplicity—it does not currently support Windows 10 with the Edge browser. We round out our list with RPR and iMapp. While there are no reported issues with either of these platforms on Windows 10, the applications they use are currently not supported. Just one point of clarification, when I say that it is not supported, that does not mean that some of our MLS applications will not work at times on Windows 10; “not supported” means the developer has deemed that Windows 10 and the Edge browser are either still under testing, or there are known issues.
So it is with this backdrop that I am strongly encouraging our members to refrain from upgrading to or purchasing Windows 10 and the Edge browser.
Windows 10 is definitely a superior operating system when compared with Windows 8. The Start menu is traditional, yet works on modern devices that include touch. I think those of you who enjoy multitasking will find the “virtual desktop” features a welcome addition. This allows you to group sets of applications in separate desktops. It definitely helps alleviate the issues with multiple window clutter.
REALTORS® will enjoy the new Photos app. It’s not going to replace your Adobe Photo Suite for editing photos, yet it does the trick for basic edits and is great at keeping your photos organized.
Thankfully, the “Metro” style app center has been removed. Instead, your app tiles are neatly tucked away in your Start menu. One of the other major complaints about Windows 8 was the inability to easily change settings for printers, wallpaper, screensaver, Wi-Fi, etc. Windows 10 addresses these shortcomings by placing your settings in the new Action Center. It give you quick access to many system settings that you normally would find in Control Panel in Windows 7.
One last word of caution. While Windows 10 improves on Windows 8, and in my opinion “gets it right,” there is still the area of the slight learning curve. Should this prevent you from considering Windows 10? No, but be open to the idea of spending a little extra time to learn how to use your shiny new operating system.
That being said—all in all, Windows 10 is a viable replacement for Windows 7 and 8. Unfortunately, there is that little compatibility issue with Paragon and your other MLS apps. For now, stay put with Windows 7. As Windows 10 and the new Edge browser become compatible with Paragon 5 and other MLS apps, CATRS Technology Support will let you know.
Paul A. Galloway
Manager of Association Technology
Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®
Capital Area Technology & REALTOR® Services