Technology Advisor Blog

Are You Still Using Windows 7?  It's Time for a Change!

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 5/13/19 9:59 AM

HourGlassAre you still running Windows 7 or Server 2008 in your office?   Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 on January 14, 2020. Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that they can focus their investment on supporting newer technologies.

This is a standard part of the Microsoft product life cycle. After January 14, 2020 technical assistance and automatic updates that help protect your PC and Server will no longer be made available for these products. Your systems will no longer have security protection and will be out of compliance for all major security compliance requirements (MA Data Security Law, HIPAA, etc), so it’s extremely important to be aware of this deadline and start the planning process now.

For everyone on a managed service plan with Ekaru, the operating system report is included in your monthly report, so that’s a good starting point to look at which systems will be affected.  Many newer systems can be upgraded in place and you don’t need new hardware. Older systems will need to be fully replaced.

As a general rule, if the system is relatively new you can upgrade the operating system in place, so your cost is just the license cost for Windows 10 and a small amount of labor.   Our general guideline is that a system less than 3 years old, that has i5 Processor (or better) and solid state drive would fine to upgrade in place.   For an older system that has light usage needs it may also make sense to just upgrade the operating system in place.   Older systems should just be replaced.   In business, after a system is five years old, it's time to replace in general.   There's not point in putting more money into an old system, and your business will be held back by the slower performance of an older system. 

Note that in the early days of the release of Windows 10, many systems were sold as Windows 10 systems, with "downgrade rights" to Windows 7, so you may be lucky and already have a Windows 10 license.  Typically we would start the upgrade and then if a new license key doesn't need to be activated, you will be all set.  In our experience, we can typically tell in advance from the Serial Number, but it hasn't been 100%.

Other cost factors to consider are your Microsoft Office licenses and other line of business applications you may have that can't be transferred to a new system, or won't run on Windows 10 (Office will be fine, but some line of business applications may not).  We want to work with you on planning to help minimize surprises.  You may need to run older applications in "compatibility mode".  An "OEM" license for Microsoft Office can never be transferred to a new system, so you would need to purchase a new license, or consider moving to Office 365, and we we would advise you to factor in this cost to the process.  Also, note that we can now provide hardware on monthly subscription basis, so this may be a fit for many businesses. 

All of these factors are why it's not always just a simple answer as to upgrade in place or replace.   

Sometimes there are activation issues with Microsoft licenses, so we generally plan on a window of two hours to do an upgrade in place.  Typically the upgrades are much faster than this, but if there are license activation issues and we need to contact Microsoft, it may take longer.  

For Server 2008, the system will need to be replaced, or it may be time to consider moving the the cloud.  

We’re advising everyone in our community to have a Windows 7 / Server 2008 end-of-life plan in place by June 15.  

Tags: Microsoft, cybersecurity

Windows 8 - Where is everything?

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 12/4/12 12:56 PM

Windows 8 Startscreen 610x381If you're a superuser on Windows 7, you may feel a bit lost on Windows 8. Bob has enthusiastically been using Windows 8 for a few weeks now, and he recommends getting re-familiarized with the good 'ol keyboard shortcuts.  These are the standard shortcuts that work across all Microsoft Windows platforms, such as Ctrl+P to print, etc.

The new interface for Windows 8 marks a major change in how Windows has looked for over the past ten years.   You can arrange your icons any way you want, and rest-assured, everything is still there.  You may be confused at first when you look for "Documents", but don't worry, all your documents are still there.

Using keyboard shortcuts can help you get around until you get used to how to do things.   There are 23 new keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8.  The new word is "charms".  The old conventional start menu is gone, replaced by the new Charm Bar - this is the universal toolbar in Windows 8. All the standard Windows shortcuts also work.  For the entire list of Windows shortcuts, visit the Microsoft web site.  A couple of useful shortcuts:

  • Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+start typing: search your PC

  • Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+C: open the charms

  • Ctrl+plus (+) or Ctrl+minus (-):  zoom in and out

  • Esc:  Stop or exit the current task

  • ALT+F4:  Close the active item

  • Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V:  Copy and Paste - always useful!

The people most familiar with Windows 7 may be the most lost, and beginners will probably be most comfortable with the graphical interface, but don't slow down!  Start exploring, and tell us what you think!  

Tags: Microsoft, Keyboard Shortcuts, Windows 8

It's Here! Windows 8 (Beta, at least) - Take a Look!

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 3/1/12 3:02 PM

Windows8The Microsoft Windows 8 consumer preview was released yesterday and the initial reviews look good.  You can download the beta release at the Microsoft Web site, or just get a tour.  ZDNet's Ed Bott has been testing Windows 8 on a tablet and calls it "the most important software release in almost two decades." In general, the tech reviews have been very positive.

If we look back at past Windows releases, Windows 95 was a huge event, Windows XP had long term staying power, Windows Vista was a disaster, and Windows 7 sparked a major refresh cycle for PCs.  Windows 8 now hopes to bridge the gap and unify desktop and tablet computing.

You'll be able to touch, swipe and zoom.  You'll be able to purchase Apps from the Microsoft Store, and you'll be able to access your files, photos, and music from wherever you sign in.  There's no more "Start" button and everything looks pretty different!  Check Ed Bott's post on ZDNet for a tutorial on how it all works.

It all looks very cool, but time will tell if it's just "too different" for folks, or if the market wants to hang onto Windows7 for a lot longer.  Possibly it will wind up being a lot more about mobile than the PC.  Read more on CNET.

Have you checked out Windows 8?  Tell us what you think!

Tags: Windows 8 Consumer Release, Microsoft

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