Tag Archives: windows 8

Windows 10 – Best Windows Ever?

windows-10The new Windows 10 operating system is purported to be the best Windows ever. The combination of ease of use for new users, automatic updates, and built in security features is causing small to medium sized businesses to breathe a sigh of relief as business owners dream about spending less time and money on training and more energy on making money – finally.

Windows 10 is Easy to Use

The new OS combines the interface of Windows 8 with the Start menu of Windows 7. This is a godsend for small business, because it means not having to train employees to complete mundane tasks, such as syncing a Bluetooth device. Such options are readily available on the Start menu now. The Windows 10 Start menu is designed to be easy for new users. Check out some of the things users can now do right from the Start menu:

  • Find settings
  • Reboot
  • Launch applications and place apps into the program list
  • Find documents
  • Adjust desktop resolution

In addition, the new OS is designed for all platforms, especially smartphones. When using Windows 10 on your smartphone, it will only display the finger-control interface. All in all, Windows 10 is great for SMBs who want to avoid high training costs.

Automatic Updates!

Microsoft experienced the pain first-hand of customers complaining about having to upgrade from Windows XP and later from Windows 7 to 8. Microsoft Vice President for Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, explained that the company never wants to be in the position of having to convince people to buy the next version of Windows again. The plans for Windows 10 include a continuous series of upgrades performed automatically. This means that in the future, questions about what version of Windows you’re running will become meaningless because everyone will have the same version as universal upgrades begin to take effect, making business as seamless as ever.

Enhanced Security Features

Windows 10 is offering new ways to protect users from dynamic script-based malware and other forms of cyberattack. Specifically, they’re using AMSI (Antimalware Scan Interface), an interface standard that allows applications and services to integrate with any existing antimalware product on your PC. Applications can use AMSI to scan files and employ other techniques to identify malicious behavior. This means that your device will automatically be inspected on a much deeper level than before.

Windows 10 has made quite the leap, and those who have tested the new OS report only good news. To learn more about how the new Windows 10 OS can improve your small to medium sized business, contact your trusted IT advisor today. 

Will Smartphones and Tablets Kill the PC?

With Windows XP support ending soon for millions of PCs, many companies are considering a variety of replacement strategies.  The adoption of smartphones and tablets is clearly on the rise.  According to IDC, PC shipments are expected to decline by 6% in 2014, and that trend is expected to continue.  Meanwhile, shipments of tablets surpassed shipments of PCs in 2013 and are expected to outpace shipments of PCs by 2015.  Does this mean death to the PC?  Likely not, here is why…

The Case for Smartphones and Tablets

The portable form factor of smartphones and tablets allows users to access corporate applications and their data at home, while traveling, and out in the field.  Because of the touch-screen interface, they are operated easily without the need for a keyboard or mouse.  This makes smartphones and tablets ideal applications for employees who are standing or travelling without access to a desk.  Because these devices typically connect via WiFi cellular network and run on battery power, they don’t have the wires, cables, and plugs associated with a PC.  Tablets and smartphones find their way on retail counters that may have limited workspace. They may also be easier to clean when they may be exposed to biohazardous materials, dust, or dirt.

Smartphones and Tablets vs. the PC

If you require a large monitor to view spreadsheets, create powerpoints, or edit documents, a PC may be right for you.  While many touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and convertible PCs connect with a keyboard by using a variety of interfaces, such as bluetooth, there are clear design tradeoffs for office productivity and mobile productivity.  PCs and laptops, combined with keyboard, mouse, and monitor, increase the productivity of your workforce while in the office.  Accountants, writers, and designers will quickly choose a Desktop PC or Laptop with a monitor to get their work done efficiently and effectively.

Because Windows XP support will quickly end, millions of PCs will retire in the coming months.  Many cash registers, factory controllers, and other industrial devices running Windows XP may quickly be replaced by tablet computers.  Other laptops and some desktops may be replaced by tablets, smartphones, or convertible PCs with touchscreen interface.  Some workers may find themselves with multiple devices that connect to one another via Cloud Computing.  This trend may not accelerate the growth of the PC to the heights of smartphones and Tablet PCs; however, expect both the desktop computer and tablet to have a place in our IT infrastructure for a long time to come.

Windows XP Updates to End on April 8

According to Microsoft, support is ending for Windows XP after April 8, 2014.  Technical assistance, including automatic updates that help protect your PC, will no longer be available after this date. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP.

When Microsoft withdraws support for Windows XP updates, many businesses will need to migrate to Windows 8.1 or modernize their IT Systems to another platform.  With Cloud Computing and Mobile Computing, there are a variety of options available.  For those who choose to stay on Windows XP, here are some considerations:

Windows XP Updates for Security Discontinued

Microsoft’s discontinuation of automatic updates and security patches for Windows XP may leave you vulnerable to Malware and viruses, which may cause IT Security risks for your PC and network.  Remember: your network is only as secure as its weakest link.

ISV and Software Support for your Popular Applications

The latest versions of your applications may not be available for Windows XP.  Web conferencing applications, office productivity applications, and other business applications may not be supported by the software developer when Microsoft discontinues its XP support.

Maintaining Compliance on Windows XP

After April 8 your Windows XP machines will no longer have O/S patches. Without O/S patches, your ability to comply with your IT policies and procedures for industry and regulatory requirements, including PCI and HIPPA, could be compromised.

Consider these tips to keep your IT Systems up-to-date and keep your business running in a secure and reliable manner.  Migrating from Windows XP with the help of an IT Service & Support Professional can help you get the most out of your IT Assets while avoiding IT security risks.  Don’t hesitate to contact your business technology advisor for strategies to migrate from Windows XP.

2014 IT Trends

This time of year most organizations are looking at 2014.  Analyzing IT trends allows you to budget for the upcoming year, as well as, keep up with the competition.  Reviewing 2014 IT Trends can help ensure your core systems stay up to date and help you grow your business.  There are a number of important trends that many companies will take advantage of to reduce risks, gain more customers and reduce costs.

Here is What to Watch for 2014 IT Trends:

IT Security

IT Security will continue as one of the top areas of concern for most business owners when they think about technology in 2014.  IT Security tops the short list of 2014 IT Trends and is driven by cyber security threat, concerns over privacy data issues and security risks related to mobile computing (e.g. Mobile Device theft/loss, virus and malware infection).

Cloud Computing

Most companies have adopted some form of cloud based technologies within their business.  File sharing/cloud sharing services, remote backup and disaster recovery all fuel the need for robust networking and highly available Internet connectivity.  With the retirement of Windows XP anticipated in April of 2014, many companies will turn to the cloud for modernized office productivity solutions, including virtual desktops and hosted email.

Mobile Applications & Touch Technologies

The latest release of Windows 8.1 relies heavily on a Touch user interface.  Many technology consumers are familiar with touch technologies on their smartphones and tablet computers.  Demand for these devices is expected to be strong.  Many manufacturers are launching an array of touch enabled laptops, convertible computers and tablet computers that are touch enabled.  This shift toward mobility in the workforce will also drive demand for companies to add mobile applications, functionality to new and legacy applications to better connect with customers, partners and employees in the field.

These 2014 technology trends will help companies meet their goals for company growth, efficiency and cost savings.  It is important at this time of year to properly plan your IT budgets and update your technology roadmap for 2014.  Contact your IT Service Provider for assistance to ensure a

2013 IT Trends

2013 IT Trends

There are a number of driving factors that will influence 2013 IT trends. These trends include Mobility, Cloud Computing, Disaster Recovery and IT Security. These 2013 IT trends will influence IT budgets and plans, while enabling companies to take advantage of mobile computing, enterprise infrastructure, software as a service (SaaS), social networks and more. Here are some predictions for 2013.


A top  2013 IT Trend is Mobility.  Mobility and mobile device management go hand in hand. Most IT industry analysts agree market growth of smartphones and tablet computers will outpace PCs in 2013. The IT Industry research firm IDC is now projecting that 172.4 million tablets will ship in 2013. Mary Meeker, former internet analyst turned venture capitalist noted 24% of Black Friday shopping occurred on a smartphone or tablet in 2012. Microsoft also hopes to get a large share of the tablet PC market with its recent release of Microsoft Windows 8 RT Tablet. This trend in mobility will drive the greater need for Mobile Device Management and mobile security as more corporate data will reside on and be accessed by mobile devices than ever before.

Cloud Computing

Another 2013 IT Trend is Cloud Computing.  In 2012 many companies turned to the cloud to access enterprise class infrastructure, remote support, online backup and software as a service (SaaS) for critical applications, such as email, sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM). Expect additional growth in cloud adoption from managed security solutions for anti-virus and anti-malware protection, as well as other data protection services. IT research firm Gartner predicts by 2015 ten percent of overall IT security enterprise capabilities will be delivered in the cloud.

IT Security

Companies will continue to face growing IT security threats. Risk of data leaks from malware and other cyber attacks will continue to threaten businesses of all sizes. In addition, expect cybersecurity legislation to be a priority for many governments in 2013. A 2013 IT Trend, changing IT policies will empower users to access social networks for job related activity and/or during business hours on personal or corporate owned devices. These drivers will influence spending on managed security, unified threat management and other IT security technologies and solutions.

Disaster Recovery

During 2012 we saw a growing phenomenon of companies facing business interruption from a variety of natural disasters. Hurricanes, typhoons and superstorms dominated the news. Companies will continue to implement data business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, including local data backup, remote backup and server virtualization to ensure rapid recovery in the event of a disaster.

While there are no crystal balls to predict the future, having a detailed and indepth IT plan for your company can make all the difference to protect your investment in your critical applications and data. Keep these points in mind to ensure a happy and healthy 2013.

Upgrading to Windows 8?

Upgrading to Windows 8?

Microsoft started shipping their newest version of their flagship product Windows 8. According to Microsoft , over 1,000 new devices have been designed to take advantage of Windows 8. But what about upgrading your existing computers from Windows 7 or even Windows XP. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you begin upgrading to Windows 8.

Did I Backup my PC?
Before you install Windows 8 you should verify that you have a recent and reliable backup of your application data and an image of your PC. These backups become vital if you need to reinstall your older operating system for any reason while upgrading to Windows 8.

Is My PC Configuration Compatible with Windows 8?
Systems requirements for Windows 8 are slightly higher than Windows 7. To upgrade to Windows 8 it is advised that you have a minimum configuration of 1 GHz or faster processor, 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit) of RAM, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.  Keep in mind, these are the minimum requirements for upgrading to Windows 8.

Are My Installed Applications Compatible with Windows 8
When a new operating system is released some application developers may be in catch up mode to ensure compatibility with the new O/S. While developers of your favorite software title are busy upgrading to Windows 8 you may experience performance issues and uncover some bugs. It is a good idea to test the software on a separate machine or install Windows 8 on a secondary hard drive for testing before you upgrade all of your business machines. This will help you avoid downtime and loss of productivity. Also, don’t forget to make sure your security software works with Windows 8.

Are My Peripheral Hardware and Devices Supported by Windows 8
Windows 8 is compatible with a broad range of hardware and software drivers, however, you should verify these devices are supported by Windows 8. It is a good idea to ensure drivers for devices like printers, keyboards, mouses, cameras and external hard drives are all supported when upgrading to Windows 8.

Do I Have The Right Version of Windows 8 for My Device?
There are three versions of the new operating system available: Windows 8 (standard version), Windows 8 Pro (for power users) and Windows RT(short for Run Time).  Windows RT is only available pre-installed on new devices and only runs on an AMD processor. Also Windows RT will only run applications from the new Microsoft application store, Windows Store. If you are upgrading from  Windows 7 consider Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro.

Do I Need Windows 8?
Microsoft expects to support Windows 7 through 2020. It is likely you will be able to buy new PCs with Windows 7 through 2014. In fact, PCs purchased  with Windows 8 Pro include the right to downgrade to Windows 7 in the license agreement. While new tablets running Windows RT are designed to take full advantage of the O/S, users of ultra-laptops may find it challenging to navigate Windows 8 on smaller screens.

Windows 8 is considered by many to be a new era for Microsoft’s popular operating system. Make sure you have thought through your upgrade to Windows 8 and contact your IT Service Provider if you need assistance.