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Windows 10 upgrade

Windows 10

Why do we need to upgrade?

The University of Exeter has over 9000 staff or student computers (shared spaces only) of which 7000+ need upgrading to Windows 10. This is to ensure that our computers, data and research stay secure. Windows 10 offers some fantastic improvements over Windows 7 in terms of usability, security and tools for collaborative working. As well as the advantages to upgrading we must upgrade as Windows 7 is no longer being supported by Microsoft. Throughout 2020 we will be providing support to upgrade shared-space student devices and staff devices.

At the end of this page you can find detailed information about the upgrade, simply click the questions.

Alan Hill tells us more about Windows 10

Want to know more?

Use this section to find out more detailed information about the upgrade.

Microsoft Windows 7 extended support has been procured until 2021, to cover all on-site University owned desktop and laptop devices across the different colleges and sites. During this extended support period, the Windows 10 project has a mandate to upgrade all Windows 7 devices to Windows 10 before the extended support expires.

What does end of life mean for Windows 7?

Every software has a life-cycle and so does every operating system. By 'Windows 7 end of life' Microsoft means that it will no longer support security patches and updates for the operating system after Jan 14, 2020. Windows 7 has been in an extended support phase since Jan 13, 2015. Since then, there has been no addition of any new feature in the OS.

Can I still use Windows 7 after 14th January 2020?

Since upgrading to a completely new operating system could involve a substantial amount of effort, Microsoft will continue supporting Windows 7 until January 2023 by delivering Extended Security Updates. There are significant costs associated with this for the University of Exeter so we will aim to upgrade all devices by 2021.

How does Windows 7 extended support work?

Through the Volume Licensing Service Centre Microsoft will provide a Multi Activation Key that will enable the deployment of the extended security updates on a regular basis. The operating systems' policies, security protocols and support service levels will remain as usual whilst we transition into a Windows 10 environment.

Here are some reasons why you should look forward to Windows 10

Microsoft have made improvements to the operating system making it more efficient and modern without the user experiencing too much of a learning curve. Here are some improved features we would like to highlight:

Task View - To improve efficiency during multi-tasking, task view allows you to stack open windows side by side for easier navigation between screens.

Virtual Desktop - The virtual desktop feature allows you to create multiple desktops and navigate between different desktop environments to organise or group windows and tasks.

Start Menu - Improvements have been made with Microsoft combining the Windows 7 style start menu structure with the sleek tile-like start screen featured in Windows 8.

Faster booting times – With the new fast start up feature that memorises settings before shut down, booting times have significantly improved on the Windows 10 operating platform. Noticeable improvements are also seen in sleep and wake.

An additional new browser – A new browser called “Edge” is available to you to rival as well as support other existing browsers such as internet Explorer and Google chrome.

Notification centre – Windows 10 provides you with a notification centre tab for a quick snapshot of your latest notifications.

Task manager – Windows 10 provides a more advanced task manager for managing and monitoring the performance of applications with better analytics on data, memory and disc usage.

Search bar – The search allows for a more comprehensive and wide search which include applications, admin control panels, files, folders, documents and even the internet. Additionally it is now located outside the start menu so you can get to the tools or documents you need quicker and easier.

Security improvements provided by Windows 10

Windows 10 is built to defend you against modern threats.


Whilst Windows 7 has been a good operating system for some years the reality is that it doesn’t offer the highest levels of protection. Modern challenges require a new platform to protect the university and your data.

Identity Protection

  • Windows 10 has more robust multi-factor authentication and password options and alternatives.
  • Windows 10 has biometric integrated features to provide more secure ways of accessing your device, apps, data, and resources.
  • Windows 10 is integrated with Microsoft Azure Active Directory which provides a comprehensive identity and access management cloud services and solution.

Data Protection

On the Windows 10 platform BitLocker offers optionally configurable disk encryption that allow better management and automatic provisioning on devices.
Enterprise Data Protection provides a seamless user experience across mobile devices, desktops and laptops with Azure Active Directory Cloud Management Services.

Threat Resistance

Device Guard and Credential Guard are the new security features that are available on Windows 10. These are a combination of enterprise-related hardware and software security features that will only allow trusted applications to run. It is deemed the most disruptive malware-resistance capability Microsoft has ever developed for an operating platform.

Exeter IT will be rolling out a phased upgrade plan to all Colleges and Departments over the course of 2020. Here are some things to start considering now:

  1. Make and model of your device - An assessment needs to be done by IT to determine whether your device meets the minimum requirement for the Windows 10 operating system. If your device is considered too old, a recommendation will be made for the device to be replaced.
  2. Software applications - Consideration will need to be given to any business-critical software applications that may not be compatible with the Windows 10 operating system. Such applications will need to be looked at in more detail to determine how they can be made compatible by the application remediation workstream of the project.
  3. Data stored on your device – As a safety measure, ensure that any locally stored data on your PC is backed up in another location separate from your PCs hard drive. This prevents you from losing your data in the event of unlikely circumstances such as hard drive failure after the upgrade.

What happens next?

For more information about how to start the assessment process please contact your IT Business partner or the Windows 10 team at Windows10@exeter.ac.uk

Join us on Yammer to stay up to date or send an email to: Windows10@exeter.ac.uk

How long will it take to upgrade my device?
The upgrade itself will take a few hours to complete (3 – 6 hours depending on your user requirements).

When will I be upgraded?
The project will be in touch with your department and further information will be provided to you about the deployment schedule as soon as this is available. For users who wish to be early adopters of Windows 10, please drop the Windows 10 team an email at Windows10@exeter.ac.uk and an assessment will be carried out on your device and requirements.

Will the data on my laptop be backed up?
No. You must save all files on your computer to a shared drive such as OneDrive prior to the upgrade. Information may be lost if you don’t do this.

Will I need a new laptop?
This determination will be done using the make and model of your device. You can drop the Windows 10 team an email at Windows10@exeter.ac.uk with your make and model information to find out if your device is Windows 10 ready.

Can I keep my base unit?
This will depend on the age of your unit. Units that are out of warranty or end of life may not be compatible with Windows 10.

I have some specific software, will that be migrated?
Yes. The team will endeavour to re-provision any software requirements provided they are compatible with Windows 10 and the associated licenses are in order.

Can I have a new device / better specification as part of the upgrade?
In some cases devices will need to be upgraded to meet Windows 10 minimum specifications. Any other requests relating to upgrade of hardware should be channeled through your department following the usual hardware replacement process. You will be required to provide justification for the request.

Will there be a time when I don’t have a device?
The project will make best endeavours to reduce downtime by planning with you to ensure your deployment is scheduled at a time that suits e.g half days, day-off, weekend drop off etc. Where this is not possible the project will look at other options such as temporary loan laptops for the upgrade period.

Will you come to my desk to do the change over?
Yes. Your department will be contacted by the Windows 10 team and a schedule will be agreed. On the upgrade day an engineer will assist you with any technical support you may require. For laptop users who have opted for the early adopter “drop off” service, you may not need an engineer visit.

Who can I talk to discuss this in more detail?
For more information contact your IT business partner or the Windows 10 team at Windows10@exeter.ac.uk

I don’t want to upgrade. Can I stay as I am?
No. The intention is for all devices to be upgraded to Windows 10 by the end of the Windows 7 extended security updates period. This is January 2021. As efficient as Windows 7 has been over the years it no longer has the security features required to cope with today’s cyber threats. Remaining on Windows 7 beyond the extended security updates period will put your data and system at risk.

What is the roll out / upgrade plan?
The roll out will be approached on a department by department basis. Estimated timescales will be published on the Windows 10 website as soon as this is available.

What happens if something doesn’t work after the switch over?
The Desktop support engineers will be there to assist you with any technical issues. Compatibility tests will be carried out prior to the upgrade to Windows 10 so issues are identified sooner rather than later and resolved accordingly. In an extreme scenario where the upgrade has caused a critical business system to fail the device can be rolled back to its Windows 7 previous state, whilst we find a solution.

Windows 10 group on Yammer

Join us on Yammer to stay up to date on the latest updates, ask questions (no matter how simple) and find out how to make the most of Windows 10: