As of writing of this post Patterson Eaglesoft latest version (Eaglesoft 17) still does not officially support Windows 10 operating system. This makes Eaglesoft the last standing major dental software (based on the clients that we support and software they use) that does not support Windows 10. To be even more detailed the likes of Dentrix, OpenDental, Practice Work, Dexis all now support Windows 10 and have supported Windows 10 for some time actually. So what does this mean for you?
The dental industry has typically been slow to adopt changes, many times even skipping full versions of operating systems unless they are widely adopted. However this time Patterson’s slow adoption of Windows 10 may actually hurt your wallets and affect your practice. Microsoft is for the first time ever giving free upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10 until July 29, 2016. This practically guarantees the rate of adoption of Windows 10 to be much greater then we have ever seeing before! Patterson is working on Eaglesoft 18 which would be compatible with Windows 10, however a release date is still pending and has been moved up several times. Last we heard they would release in April, or May or maybe June… This means that as soon as they release you will need to upgrade your Eaglesoft to then upgrade to Windows 10 or you risk not taking advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade to Windows 10. If you do not take advantage of the free upgrade it could end up costing you $99-$200 per computer just for a license fee that you could have had for free.
Well why upgrade just because its free? Not exactly, there are many benefits to upgrading to Windows 10. We know it changes things, and like every other upgrade, Windows 10 may initially be a challenge for you and or your staff to adopt. While we agree there are some things we really like about our good old fashion Windows 7 in our opinion the pros far outweigh the cons for upgrading. Windows 10 may actually run better on your older computers then Windows 7 did. Unlike Windows 7 Windows 10 includes BitLocker Encryption which allows you to encrypt your computers at no additional cost. Some may argue you don’t have to encrypt your computers since all of your patient data ideally is saved on the server. Well before you make that argument ask yourself, have you ever saved a patient file/xray/name etc on your desktop? Maybe just temporarily? If you answered no, ask yourself has your staff? More often than not we find some form of patient data on your local computers, so why not encrypt it and not worry about dealing with HIPAA implications if a computer is lost or stolen (Even more important for Laptops/Tablets). Well Windows 10 will allow you to do that without buying additional encryption software. There are several other reasons to upgrade but we will leave that for another post.
The effect that this very late release to adopt Windows 10 will cause is not good! A very limited amount of time for your IT provider to all of a sudden upgrade all their Eaglesoft clients from version 17 to 18, and then Windows 10. Do you remember your last upgrade? All the little kinks you had to work out and you likely waited to upgrade until you knew version 17 was stable, you may not have that luxury if you are trying to upgrade right away. We are not complaining (okay maybe just a little) but this isn’t going to just affect us. Imagine if even just 60% of Patterson clients upgrade Eaglesoft in a 2 month span, the Patterson Support Team is going to be inundated with upgrade requests and support tickets. Let’s hope Patterson will have extra support available when they release Eaglesoft 18.
Okay finally some good news! Being that we support several clients using Eaglesoft we cannot conform with waiting for Eaglesoft 18 to upgrade our clients to Windows 10. We tried several methods to get Eaglesoft 17 to install on Windows 10 with no luck initially! We then discovered if you have Windows 8.1 previously with Eaglesoft 17, you can do an in place upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and Eaglesoft 17 runs great. We have to warn that others online have reported some issues after doing such upgrades (our clients have not reported such issues). We typically recommend you do this with one computer in the office and once you are sure everything works well the rest of the computers can follow.
(If Patterson is reading this, our advice: Don’t rush Eaglesoft 18 that could lead to potential disasters, simply provide an upgraded installer for Eaglesoft 17 that works on Windows 10.)