Windows 10 desktop logo
Many moons ago Microsoft had a product called Windows for Workstations that was designed to make it clear that Windows was different in your office than it was at home. Back then, of course, Microsoft had two branches of Windows. The DOS-based home system, which ran up until Windows XP and the DOS-free Windows NT. Windows 2000 was the last edition of the OS that was solely aimed at business, but even then home users were seeing some advantages to using the more stable branch of Windows.
Now things have moved on and there’s one core across not just home and work PCs, but that same core runs Microsoft’s mobile platform and the Xbox One. Windows 10 is incredibly clever, and we’re only just starting to see the benefits of all these platforms running the same kernel. We’re also starting to see problems.
For a business upgrading to Windows 10 isn’t without its concerns. For one thing there’s the ongoing issue of Microsoft’s telemetry. Now I’m not personally someone who worries about this, and you can turn it off, but it’s not entirely business friendly. Then there’s the issue of adverts popping up in Windows 10 and the fact that Microsoft thinks it’s cool to stuff new installs with Candy Crush. These are not business compatible notions, in my view.
So, the leak suggests that Microsoft will bring in something called “Windows 10 Pro for Workstations” although it might actually be called “Windows Pro for Advanced PCs” which will help Microsoft move away from the stigma of Windows 10.
The OS will have a couple of different features:
- Workstation mode enhanced performance – using the multi-core server CPUs to deliver better performance on demanding tasks.
- Resilient file system storage – ReFS is Microsoft’s improved file system that was introduced with Windows Server 2012. Support for this was introduced in Windows 8.1 and you can use it now, in Windows 10 if you like. There’s a setup process which involves building a mirror set and formatting them with the new file system. This may be useful for anyone who has to work with a lot of data.
- Faster file sharing – uses SMBDirect to move files quickly and with minimal overhead. Obviously useful in businesses where data is moving about quickly, and a problem with Windows currently.
- Expanded hardware support – have 4 CPUs and 6TB of memory in one system.
Of course Microsoft doesn’t explicitly state that Candy Crush will be eliminated from this version, but we can but hope.
So will it help? Probably actually. Windows 10 is great and offers a lot to home users. I can see why businesses might not be so keen. Some of that is perhaps based on things that aren’t really a big problem, and some will be legitimate concerns (like employees wasting time on Candy Crush, data security) that Windows for Workstations might address.
Like a lot of things, sometimes the answer is to do a bit of PR on the problem and hope it goes away. Microsoft needs to win over businesses to Windows 10 or it’s sitting on a ticking support timebomb, and we have recently seen how older versions of Windows work out in business.