What is Windows 10?
There is much talk about Windows 10 that Microsoft is currently working on. After the fiasco called Windows 8, businesses especially have been waiting with aging systems for the next OS. Windows 10 will probably be released sometime late this year. Current technical review builds show some promising improvements in the Microsoft OS. The best way I can describe it is a merging of Windows 7 and Windows 8 with a few extra features thrown in.
The Start menu is back, though with a new format, so that Windows XP and Windows 7 users will not be totally lost. For those who actually liked the Windows 8 “Metro” style, the start menu can be made full screen to bring back that look and feel.
The most talked about new “feature” is Cortana. Cortana is a personal digital assistant for Windows like Siri is for the Iphone. Windows 10 and Cortana will be released for Windows Phones, Windows Tablets and Windows PC's. If you don't want to talk to your computer and have your computer talk back, this feature can be turned off. I would think Cortana would get pretty annoying in an office setting with many cubicles in a small area.
Should I upgrade the OS or totally replace my hardware as well?
If you are still running Windows XP, there are several reasons you should consider replacing your entire computer. The lack of Microsoft Updates makes it less secure. Many web sites that you may want to access, especially financial sites, may soon disallow access from Windows XP systems. Newer applications will not run on XP. Your system is at least five years old and is at the point that it has or will soon experience hardware failures.
Are you running Windows Vista? I'm so sorry. Many of the same reasons for replacing your entire computer that apply to Windows XP also apply to Windows Vista. Add that to the general instability of Windows Vista and you are due for a new computer.
If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8, and the hardware is less than a year old, you can probably upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out rather than purchasing a new system if you want to go that route. If your hardware is older than one year, I would recommend not attempting an OS upgrade. Keep in mind that there is always the possibility of losing data or applications when doing an OS upgrade. There will not be an easy way to go back to your original OS if something goes wrong with the upgrade or if you just don't like the new OS.
My PC is old. Should I Upgrade now or wait for Windows 10?
Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be free upgrade for current users of Windows 7 or Windows 8. So you can get that new computer now, and upgrade to Windows 10 when it becomes available.
If you are running XP or Vista, or if you are having hardware issues with your current system, you really don't have much choice. You need a newer computer to stay in business. However, I would recommend ordering a system from the manufacturer such as Dell, Toshiba, HP, etc., with Windows 7 installed. The systems you buy locally at office supply stores or electronics stores will most likely have Windows 8. For XP and Vista users, Windows 7 has a much easier learning curve than Windows 8.
If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8 and can wait until this fall to upgrade, then I would recommend waiting until you can get a new PC with Windows 10 preinstalled.