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Upgrade to Windows 10 – A How-To Guide For Busy People

The highly anticipated Windows 10 is finally here. It has been several years since the last time Windows released a new version, and Windows 8 wasn’t well received. The interface issues with Windows 8 probably make you wonder if it’s worth the hassle again. If you decide to proceed with the upgrade (if you are a current CS customer please make sure to let us know before you begin) here is a quick How To guide.

  1. Check System Requirements to make sure your device is compatible.
  2. Backup your data!
  3. Go to the Download Windows 10 If you are on a 32-bit version, then you need to download the 32-bit tool; if you’re on a 64-bit version then get the 64-bit tool.

Tip:

If you need to check your Windows version:

Right click on My Computer or This PC in File Explorer ->

Go to Properties ->

Find it under System – System Type.

Upgrade to Windows 10 - Check Windows version 1

Upgrade to Windows 10 - Check Windows version 2

  1. Run the 32-bit tool or 64-bit tool, and select the Upgrade Your PC option. Windows 10 will begin downloading.
  2. Select Keep Personal files and Apps to ensure that you will have your files and applications in place after the upgrade.
  3. The installation will start and reboot automatically as needed.
  4. You will have a chance to customize system settings, depending on your preferences and needs.
  5. After the upgrades is done, you can enjoy the new Windows 10 immediately!

Tip:

If you need to restore previous Windows version:

Go to Settings – Update & Security ->

Choose the option “Go Back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1”.

 

Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview Has Been Released

Microsoft just recently announced the release of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview. It builds on the release of the Windows 8.1 Preview which was released in June this year. It comes with additional security, management, mobility and more virtualization features that are well suited for business. The preview can be downloaded from TechNet. During the announcement, the company also confirmed the rumors that the life cycle support policy for Windows 8.1 would be the same as that for Windows 8. The support would end on 10th January 2023.

Customers would be given two years to move to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 after the update has been released. This time-frame is seen as ample enough to allow all their customers to move to Windows 8.1. After the end of that period, the company will no longer provide support for Windows 8, but will only provide support for Windows 8.1 and above.

The preview featured many new features that will definitely generate a lot of buzz. The additional enterprise features that have been included in the list include;

– Start Screen Control. IT departments will now be in a position to control how the layout of the Start Screen on company issued devices will appear. They can control the layout to ensure that key apps are easily accessible by users. The control also makes it possible for IT departments to prevent users from customizing their Start Screen. This will help ensure consistency and uniformity in the work place.
– Windows To Go Creator enables IT departments to create a fully manageable Windows 8.1 desktop that can be on a bootable external USB drive. The drive can easily be used to support bringing your own devices to work, and at the same time, can be given to corporate staff without necessarily compromising security.

– Direct Access enables users to connect via a corporate network without having to launch a separate VPN like it was before. IT administrators can also keep the remote users’ PCs up to date by applying all the latest software updates and policies.

– BranchCache. Employees who work in branch offices will no longer have to download content multiple times from the Wide Area Network. This is because Branchcache caches websites, and files them along with any other content from the central servers locally on the hosted cache servers or the PCs.

– Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Users will enjoy a rich desktop experience and will have the ability to play 3D games. It will also be possible to use USB peripherals and to use some touch enabled devices across all types of network whether LAN or WAN for the VDI scenarios. This has been made possible mainly because of enhancements in Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft RemoteFX.

– Applocker: With this feature, IT department can control the apps and types of files that users run on their devices. This will make their devices more secure while also increasing the security of the data the device holds.

– Windows Enterprise Side Loading: It is now possible to side-load Internal Windows apps on domain joined PCs with tablets that are running the Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

The release date of the full version has not yet been announced by Microsoft but it will not be later than August.

What is Windows Blue?

Hint: It’s not a paint color.  There are a lot of rumors swirling about what Windows Blue is.  Thus far, we can conclude that it’s not a service pack.  Windows Blue will be closer to what Mountain Lion is to Apple’s OS X.  We know this because since XP service pack 2, Microsoft has decided that any update that introduces new features is not a service pack.  As of right now, no one really knows what it is.

What can you expect?

There’s not much that’s official yet.  However, we can speculate on a few things.  One is that it’ll allow Windows to run on tablets that are smaller than 10.1 inches diagonally, Windows 8’s current limitation.  There should new built-in apps.  One that was shown off was a new video editing app called Movie Moments.   Expect new charms, such as one that will let you seamlessly switch between audio and video.

What not to expect.

It probably won’t replace Windows Phone 8 since Microsoft has decided to take the opposite path as Apple.  Apple currently uses the same operating system for its tablets and phones.  It probably won’t replace Windows RT.  RT runs on low power processors in order to increase battery life.  Blue would ruin that aspect.

The rumor mill is saying that Windows Blue will come out sometime this year.  We’ll be keeping an eye out.

Pick a Windows, Any Windows

Pick a Windows, any windows.  Microsoft has really put a plethora of choices out there.  For Windows 8, the three big ones are Vanilla, Pro and Enterprise.  If you’re on Windows 7 or XP (If you’re on Vista you really should) and considering making the switch, which one should you chose?

It all comes down to what you want.

Vanilla

In terms of software, Vanilla usually refers to the unaltered version.  It’s the one with no bells and whistles, you know, vanilla flavored.  On the whole, Windows 8 has a lot flash to it with its charms and apps and such.  However, has received upgrades on the back-end.

It has more security, optimized for faster booting times, and amalgamated storage spaces.

That being said, if you’re on Windows 7, a move to Vanilla Window’s 8 probably would be a lateral move.  You paid for Windows 7 when you bought your computer, no need to pay for it again.

Pro

Pro sounds impressive.  It sounds…professional and it has the features to back up its name.  If you’re on a Windows Server, Pro allows you to centrally manage your network.

For the laptops and tablets you take on the go, Pro has BitLocker.  This feature can encrypt your hard drive.  BitLocker is quick, as it only encrypts drive space that is currently in use rather than securing everything in sight.

Also, for those looking to give out IT support, Windows 8 Pro has remote access features.  Although any computer hosting Windows 8 can be accessed remotely, only those touting Pro can be in the driver’s seat.  When it comes to technical support, giving is defiantly better than receiving.

Enterprise

Engage.  Wait, wrong blog.

Enterprise, is, and always has been the heavy-weight of the Windows family.  Enterprise is really aimed at medium-large business.  Features like Windows to Go, which allows Windows 8 to be booted from a USB drive, is only useful with a Bring Your Own Device Office with security concerns.

There’s DirectAccess which allows outside machines to behave as if they are on an internal network.  Not really useful unless you have an internal network and have employees that wish to work from home.

To help boost efficiency, Windows 8 Enterprise also has BranchCache which helps streamline bandwidth usage.  Websites and apps that constantly accessed via the Internet can be cached for peer-to-peer usage.  For example. one guy can download the list that everyone needs to use, and using BranchCache all his co-workers can look it up without having to tap into the all important  bandwidth.

Chose Wisely

There’s not much more to say than get what you want.  It should also be noted that there is Windows RT, but you can’t buy it.  It only comes pre-installed on Microsoft Surfaces.

Enough Apps: Will Windows RT Survive?

Analysts say that for the near future, Windows RT will stay afloat.  Most of this positive outlook comes from the fact that RT rolled out with 9,000 apps.  Tablets, Microsoft’s Surface, live and die by their app stores.  The restrictions to their size simply dwarf any hardware that can be shoved into their handheld frames.

However, 9,000 apps, 5,200 of which are available to US users, are not enough to stave off the tech reaper forever.  The Surface has only been the on market for less than a month, not enough time to see if the tablet will outlast HP’s Touchpad and RIM’s Blackberry PlayBook.  Those two failed tablets were essentially dead on arrival, but the Windows RT and its source, Windows 8, are just out of the gate.

Microsoft rolled out with huge cheeks for app developers.  But will it be enough?  Only time will tell.  For now, we will simply have to suffice with the slightly substandard, but innovative hardware of the Surface.

If you’re planning on upgrading to Windows 8, be sure to have enough IT staff on hand.

Something Windows 8 This Way Comes

As you may have heard, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 is coming out October 26th.  This release has a little more weight to it than previous Windows releases.  It’s a cutoff point for Microsoft on both the hardware and software front.  For example, the new Internet Explorer which has a vast market share will not be compatible with Windows Vista or XP.  Windows 8 will also have a full x86 tablet version which will support touch screens.  The down side is that the new operating system will boast the Metro interface.  It’s different and people don’t like different.

Microsoft has even added a few incentives to switch over to the new system.  First is price.  To upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 will cost 15 dollars and from Vista or XP it will take 40 dollars.  That’s pretty good deal, if you have a mind to switch.  Another incentive are the apps.  Microsoft has been offering up to sixty thousand dollars to developers to make programs exclusive to Windows 8.  And with the Surface on the way, Microsoft needs to show it can still innovate.  Hopefully, the upgrade won’t be an IT support nightmare.

The Gravity of the 80-inch Touch Screen

They say bigger is better, so the 80-inch made by Sharp must be the best touch tablet ever.  Well, maybe the 80-inch by Steve Ballmer might be better.  Windows 8, in theory, should support a touch screen of any size if has the right graphics driver.  That could be a game changer.  Smart boards already exist in class rooms, but image if it could also connect to the internet and cloud hosting services.  A computer is something that you derive information from, but a touch screen is something you interact with.  Just by the nature of its use, a touch screen is more personal.

The major advantage of having such a large touch screen is connectivity, not with the internet, but with other people.  Last week, I was sitting in a meeting with my laptop outputting to an LCD screen.  We all had spreadsheets open, but I was going over the data specifically on mine.  My co-workers commented on the data, and wanted to offer perspective by using their own data.  It became a bit of a mess.  They wanted point out things and cross reference.  We had to pass the cable around so they could show what was on their computers.  With a large touch screen they could have just gotten up and drew away.

That whole situation may make an 80-inch touch screen an overpriced toy, but a little bit of play mixed in with work is a dynamite concoction.  With Windows 8 support this kind of innovation, it may help Microsoft gain the “cool” edge over its competitor Apple.  Even though Microsoft controls almost 90 percent of the OS market, there’s nothing quite like escaping the dullard preconception of yourself.

Scratching the Surface

Microsoft recently announced the release of the ‘Surface’, a laptop-tablet hybrid this Summer.  The Surface will come out with two distinct versions: one will run Windows RT which is optimized for tablet features and battery life, the other model will run a full version of Windows 8.  It’s the software giant’s first major foray into the laptop market, but will it be a success? It depends what Microsoft’s motives are.  Is just a business tool, a pivot point in the industry, or is it something else entirely?  That, all depends on the features.

The Surface will boast a full sized USB 2.0 port. It’ll also have an micro SD card reader. However, the most talked about feature is the kickstand, which allows users to prop the screen up. The second most talked about feature is that the Surface will have a 16:9 aspect ratio on a 10.3” screen that will support full HD.  Now the big question, should I order one for my business?

Well, I was on your IT team, I would say, I don’t know.  There are too many missing details about the Surface, chief of which is price.  How much this piece of technology will set you back has not been released, nor has the internal hardware list.  But it does have a keyboard, which gives a huge usability leg up on the iPad.  One member of the Surface development team said that the touch keyboard allows users to type at 50 words a minute.  With more and more offices converting to laptops only, this tablet could be an easy take-on-the-go machine, especially since it’ll have the full blown Metro system.  The user interface is not for everyone.  Windows Eight has the Metro system which has a bunch of tiles that display information and icons.  If you take the time to configure them, you can have the all the information you want at a glance.  All-in-all, I can’t recommend it either way.

iPads at Work

If you use a tablet at your job, chances are, it’s an iPad. In fact, according to a recent report by Good Technology, the chances are, very, very good. A full 97.3 of tablets activated by enterprise users over the first quarter of 2012 are iPads, up slightly from 94.7 percent the previous quarter. In contrast, a recent analysis of overall tablet sales showed Apple with a somewhat less intimidating 61.4 percent of the market.

Good — which offers IT support to help companies implement “bring your own device” programs—based the report on the use of mobile devices among its customers, which include half of the Fortune 100 and other big players in industries like finance and healthcare. It found that, overall, the number of its customers deploying mobile devices grew 50 percent over the past year, while the number of devices used by the average company more than doubled.

When it comes to smartphones, Apple was still the first choice, though not by quite such an impressive margin. It represented about 73 percent of the smartphone market.

Smartphones remain considerably more popular than tablets, at least for the moment. The iPhone was the single most-activated device overall, with more than half of the market. Android devices—almost entirely smartphones—represented just over 20 percent of the market.

On another note, if you’re using any kind of mobile device at your job, there’s a pretty good chance you work in financial services. That industry accounted for 36.1 percent of mobile device activations over the quarter, followed by business and professional services with 17 percent and healthcare with 7 percent. IPads were disproportionately popular in the Life Sciences industry, which Good said likely reflects use by lab workers and sales staff at pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

While Apple seems to be blowing other companies out of the water in the enterprise space, Good notes that it can’t rest easy. The first Windows 8 tablets debuting later this year, and new Windows phones like the Nokia Lumia just barely out now, are likely to shake up the market considerably.

A New Tablet Contender: Windows 8

At the World Mobile Congress, Samsung unveiled a new tablet which runs on Windows 8. It’s poised to become an actual contender against Apple’s iPad, which currently dominates with 57 percent of tablet market. Windows 8 brings an impressive array of tools to the fight including: better functionality, Skydrive capabilities, and backwards compatibility. Microsoft has an up hill battle, but it may be able to gain an edge in the business arena.

Functionality will be key for Microsoft if they wish to break Apple’s hold on the tablet market. While the iPad totes brand recognition and a large library of apps, it does have the connotation of being a toy rather than a tool. It’s a similar dichotomy that the iPhone has with the Blackberry. Microsoft can get down and be all about business. The Windows 8 user interface will use the Metro system which was introduced when the Windows Phone made its debut in 2010. This system displays tiles that depict information like temperature and stock prices. They are constantly updated to keep the user informed on changing situations. It would be interesting to see if apps are created for IT support services and other customer service industries to keep track of open and incoming tickets. This is just one of a whole host things that Windows 8 can do to appeal to the business sectors. They’ll have to work that angle to compete. If the Apple commercials with Justin Long teach us anything, it’s that Microsoft never be as cool.

Staying on top of being productive, the Windows 8 client will also have Skydrive. Skydrive is a cloud service with over 10 petabytes of storage space. This service will permeate the PC version as well as the mobile. Thus, data gathered in field can seamlessly be accessed at the office without any lag time. Microsoft is also pushing for all its apps to use Skydrive. It’s clear that this move is to match iCloud’s quest to make all electronic devices become one.

The final piece of the puzzle is backwards compatibility. Tablets running Windows 8 will be able to run Microsoft Office programs in their fullest form. This could be deal maker for small to medium businesses. For example, an accountant at the main office can go to an off site vendor and run Excel to keep the books with all its features. Windows 8 also supports mouse and keyboard use, unlike the iPad, so anywhere can become a convenient office.

Android may have fallen flat on its back. It has only sold about 12 million units compared to 48 million units of iPad sold last year alone. The door is wide open for a new contender and Microsoft seems ready. The days of bygone eras have returned. Windows 8 appears to be a business oriented construct to duke it out with iPad’s suave demeanor.