Posts Tagged ‘windows7’

Out with the Old, in with the New: Your Guide to Windows 10 – Part 2

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 by billp | No Comments

In last month’s blog post, we covered the end of mainstream support for Windows 7 and the very interesting news surrounding Windows 10 – in particular that the update to Windows 10 will be free for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users for the first year after Windows 10’s release.

It’s great news that you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free for a limited time, but do you really want to? What new and compelling features are available in Windows 10 to drive you to upgrade?

The biggest feature of Windows 10 that will satisfy most users is the return of the Start Menu. This isn’t the Start Menu you remember from Windows 7, but rather a blending of the approaches from Windows 7 and Window 8.x, resulting in a Start Menu with live tiles on the side.

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For touch-centric devices (large-screen desktops, tablets, etc.), the Start Menu can be expanded to full-screen for a more touch-friendly approach a la Windows 8.x.

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Windows 10 further pushes the concept of “Universal Apps” that was introduced with Windows 8. Universal apps allow developers to create solutions that target a vast variety of devices, PCs, and even Xbox. What this means for consumers and businesses that adopt an all-Microsoft computing approach is faster application releases with more universal compatibility across your traditional PCs and mobile devices right out of the gate, and more consistent interfaces across those devices (less user training). Universal apps can sync and share data seamlessly with OneDrive (Microsoft’s file and folder sync solution) and can finally narrow the “app gap” (i.e. fewer apps for Windows Phone than for iOS and Android) and make Windows Phone a good alternative to iOS and Android. The first universal apps will be from Microsoft, including most of the Office suite as well as default Windows apps like Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People & Messaging, and Mail & Calendar.

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Windows 10 packs hundreds of new features to improve usability and productivity, and here are some of the highlights.

Continuum – For hybrid/detachable PCs such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Continumm provides a seamless transition between traditional PC and tablet states. Apps live in windows on the desktop in the former, and run full-screen in the latter.

Cortana – Introduced in Windows Phone 8.1, Cortona is a voice assistant that competes with Google’s Google Now and Apple’s Siri. You can use Cortana to speak to your PC to take actions, take notes, set appointments, among other capabilities.

Spartan – Windows 10 will ship with a new web browser code-named Spartan. Spartan will replace Internet Explorer as the default browser, but Internet Explorer will be retained for compatibility reasons. Spartan will include a streamlined interface, web clipping and sharing, Word-like commenting features, keyboard or pen annotation support, and touch support (something which no PC browser currently does well). Support for browser extensions similar to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome is coming soon.

Windows Store apps in Windows – Microsoft said that Windows Store apps (a.k.a. Modern UI or Metro apps) and regular desktop programs will both run in traditional windows in Windows 10. The programs can be resized and minimized from the bar at the top. In Windows 8.x, Windows Store apps could only run full-screen.

Multiple desktops – Windows 10 will feature something Mac and UNIX (Linux, etc.) users have taken advantage of for years: multiple desktops. This feature allows you to create new desktop workspaces in Windows 10 to organize your open applications. For example, you could have a desktop for basic productivity applications and a separate desktop for design applications (Adobe Creative Cloud or similar). Or you could have web browsers on one desktop, Outlook on another, and financial applications on a third. This feature allows you to organize your workspace to help you work as productively as possible.

Windows 10 for phones and small tablets – Windows 10 will be spread across multiple device types, so Microsoft is dropping the Windows Phone branding and will be consistent with a Windows 10 that works on phones and tablets with screens smaller than 8-inches. The former Windows RT (Windows on ARM processor devices) is nowhere to be seen.

Office universal apps – Windows 10 for phones and small tablets will include free Office universal apps – Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar. Initial impressions are that these are powerful apps which exceed the capabilities of the Office for Mobile apps that currently exist for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. These apps also clearly align with Microsoft’s strategy of “mobile first, cloud first, Windows best,” which will appease those hard-core Microsoft product users who have complained that and Office for iOS and Android product are better than anything Microsoft currently offers for their own mobile platforms.

This information is just scratching the surface of what Windows 10 has to offer, and Microsoft plans to release even more information at upcoming technical conferences. Microsoft says it will ship Windows 10 sometime later in 2015, with end-of-summer being a repeated target. In the meantime, Colden Company is working with the Windows 10 Technical Preview and is taking part in the Windows Insider Program so we are ready to support our customers with information, upgrade and deployment guidance, hardware recommendations, and anything else you can think of when Windows 10 is ready.

Are you interested in moving to Windows 10 for free when it becomes available? Are you interested in moving to Windows 8.1 and leaving Windows 7 behind? Have you been thinking about Windows Phone and want to know more? Colden Company is ready to help you with these questions and many more. Call us at (888) 600-4560 or email us at info@coldencompany.com, or see us on Facebook or Twitter to get your Microsoft tools in top shape.







Out with the Old, in with the New: Your Guide to Windows 10 – Part 1

Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by billp | No Comments

Microsoft has been in the news quite a bit over the past month, with stories about Windows old and new capturing the attention of consumers and businesses worldwide.

The first big news story concerned support for Windows 7. On January 13, 2015, Microsoft’s mainstream support for Windows 7 Service Pack (SP) 1 ended. This caused quite a stir after the recent retirement of Windows XP, with users fearing that Windows 7 would be facing a similar fate in the near future. All I have to say is… DON’T PANIC!!!

The end of mainstream support does not mean Microsoft is going to stop issuing security fixes for Windows 7 SP1 any time soon. “Mainstream support” is the period during which Microsoft provides free security and non-security updates for its products. “Extended support” – the phase that Windows 7 is entering now – is the period during which Microsoft continues to provide free security updates for products. Extended support for Windows 7 SP1 does not end until January 14, 2020, so everyone can rest easy.

For businesses, January 13 deadline also has no impact on the end-of-sales date for PCs running Windows 7 Professional. Microsoft has not provided a date when Windows 7 Professional will no longer be shipped to retailers or OEMs (HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc.). Microsoft have said they will provide one-year notice prior to end-of-sale.

Of course, any major support milestone should prompt forwarding-thinking business owners and IT professionals to consider the question of “what’s next?” Windows 8 received a lukewarm reception from users who decried the loss of the Start Menu, confusing interface changes, poor convergence of traditional PCs and touch-centric devices (hybrid laptops, tablets, etc.), among many other complaints. Many of these complaints are surface-level and ignore many of the significant “under-the-hood” improvements in Windows 8.x, but perception often becomes reality. Much as Windows Vista (also oft-maligned) led to Windows 7, Windows 8.x is paving the path to a significantly-improved Windows experience in Windows 10.

Microsoft held a major press event on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 – which has received nearly universal praise – where they unveiled the latest pre-release update of Windows 10 for PCs, tablets, and phones. Microsoft also made news with some impressive new gadgets such as the powerful team collaboration device, Surface Hub, and the groundbreaking holographic computing device, HoloLens, but most business users are, for now, interested in what’s coming for the Windows platform. The bottom line is this – Windows is getting more frequent, free updates; it’s going to work better across desktops, laptops, and tablets; and Microsoft is finally making Windows Phone more attractive for users deep in the Windows world.

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One of the biggest announcements has nothing to do with the technology behind Windows 10, but rather with the price of Windows 10. Windows 10 will be free for customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 during the first year of Windows 10’s life cycle. This is basically a promotional offer designed to improve adoption of Windows 10. However, there are some considerations – particularly for businesses. Microsoft stated “once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge.” This suggests that keeping Windows 10 up-to-date going forward is not optional; updates to the operating system from Microsoft will be mandatory. This concept of “Windows as a Service” will make version numbers less important going forward, and will allow Microsoft and developers to target a common and consistent user base. While this makes sense for consumers, businesses – who want more control over when updates are installed, which updates are installed, and which features are made available to employees – will never buy into this approach, and Microsoft knows it. Managed businesses can still license Windows 10 using traditional methods and self-service. One thing is for sure – if Microsoft intends to mandate updates and patches for the lifetime of devices, Windows Updates needs to be quicker and more reliable.

Next month, we’ll cover some of the new features you can look forward to in Windows 10. In the meantime, are you thinking about what the next step beyond Windows 7 is for your business? Have you left Windows XP behind for good (we certainly hope so!). Are you interested in moving to Windows 8.1? Colden Company is ready to help you with these questions and many more. Call us at (888) 600-4560 or email us at info@coldencompany.com, or see us on Facebook or Twitter to get your Microsoft tools in top shape.







Keeping Windows XP is Costing You Money

Posted on: May 31st, 2012 by jiml | No Comments

It’s no secret to businesses using Microsoft’s venerable Windows XP that Microsoft will be terminating extended support for the operating system on April 8, 2014. Termination of extended support means that there will be no monthly patches for security problems, bugs, etc. In short, as of April 8, 2014, the Windows XP you’re running will be the Windows XP you’re running forever – unchanging and no longer protected.

An IDC study (commissioned by Microsoft) suggests that organizations can save money by moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. The study, “Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea,” is available for download on Microsoft’s website. The study discusses the benefits associated with a move from Windows XP to Windows 7 and presents a case for the many reasons why remaining with Windows XP is no longer a good business decision. The study takes into consideration both IT operational costs and selected end-user operational costs, such as time lost to malware, time taken to reimage/repair a PC, reboot waits, downtime, and time waiting for help desk support. The paper then aggregates the costs associated (ongoing support and maintenance, IT staff or professional services costs, etc.) and calculates the return-on-investment (ROI) associated with the deployment of Windows 7 to replace aging Windows XP PCs.

IDC estimates that the annual cost per PC per year for Windows XP is $870, while a comparable Windows 7 PC costs only $168 per PC per year. That is a potential savings of $701 per PC per year for IT and end-user labor costs. Most importantly, the study estimates that over a three-year period, organizations that move from Windows XP to Windows 7 will have a 137 percent ROI. It’s true that there will be capital expenditures (capex) and operational expenditures (opex) during the upgrade process, which IDC acknowledges as “Challenge: It takes money to save money” in the report (p. 11). However, IDC also acknowledges “Opportunity: Cost savings are forever” as well (p.11). The report optimistically states that “once an upgrade is completed, and the operational costs are lowered, those lower operational cost benefits continue to accrue into the future with no further direct capex investment.”

Windows XP is already two generations behind Microsoft’s current workstation operating system technology. With the release of Windows 8 later this year, Windows XP will be a decade old and three generations behind current technology. Many businesses are running the aging operating system on aging (or already well-aged) hardware that performs substantially below the level of current hardware or is prone to failure. It’s time to improve your business’ technology and user productivity through an investment in more modern technology. IDC sums up the report nicely by stating “Organizations that continue to retain a Windows XP environment not only are leaving themselves exposed to security risks and support challenges but also are wasting budget dollars that would be better used in modernizing their IT investments.”

Don’t waste another dime; upgrade your aging hardware to more-capable systems and your aging operating system to Windows 7 and protect your business. For assistance with this or any other IT-related problem, please contact us at (888) 600-4560, email us at info@coldencompany.com or see us on Facebook or Twitter.







Two-Year Countdown to End of Support for Windows XP and Office 2003

Posted on: April 13th, 2012 by billp | No Comments

Microsoft divides its support lifecycle into two phases: “Mainstream” and “Extended.” In the Mainstream phase, software receives free security updates, bug fixes, new or improved features, etc. In the Extended phase, only security updates are provided.

Windows XP and Office 2003 are currently in Extended support until April 8, 2014. After that date, they’ll cease receiving even security updates, leaving anyone still using that software vulnerable to viruses, malware, etc. that are designed to target remaining weaknesses.

Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be in Extended support from now until April 2017.

Upgrade Today: Two-Year Countdown to End of Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 (Windows for your Business Blog)

If you’re still running Windows XP or Office 2003, now is the time to start planning your upgrades. Windows 7 and Office 2010 are mature and reliable products that are ready to support your business needs. Or are you ready to take your business into the cloud with Office 365? Do you want to plan a migration to any of these products? If so, contact us for help at (888) 600-4560, info@coldencompany.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter @coldenco.

How to protect personal data on devices you plan to sell

Posted on: March 30th, 2012 by billp | No Comments

A recent study shows that it’s almost impossible to get rid of personal information from some devices, even if you follow the manufacturer’s directions for wiping the device clean. BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows 7 devices are reported safe as long as you follow the manufacturer’s directions for securely wiping them, but Android and Windows XP are another question. If you’re not sure if you’re safe, contact us for help.

How to protect personal data on devices you plan to sell (Los Angeles Times; March 29, 2012)