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Category Archives: Windows XP

Microsoft Office is going mobile

Tablets with Windows 10 installed received a boost recently with the unveiling of the new Office Mobile applications. The mobile versions of the iconic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications are specifically designed for use on tablets. The “touch-first” interface allows users to easily edit documents while on the go. The best news of all is the fact that Office Mobile apps are free for users of Windows 10.

One of the biggest complaints about trying to edit a Microsoft Office file from a tablet is usability, or lack thereof. That has all changed, at least for Windows 10 users, with Microsoft’s recent release of Office Mobile apps. The tablet-friendly versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote have been built from the ground up to improve touch functionality.

Even if you don’t have Windows 10, you still might be intrigued about the potential of having Office apps that are touch-friendly. Here are some of the new features you can enjoy when using Office Mobile apps.

Word

Microsoft Word Mobile has all the tools and features of the PC version including more nuanced tasks like being able to track changes and add footnotes. The Read mode, a mobile exclusive, improves the way documents appear by making them flow better on the smaller screens of a tablet while also letting you zoom in and out with a simple tap of the screen.

Excel

Recommended Charts is the prominent feature of the Excel Mobile app. It allows you to quickly show off your data using a stylish chart or graph with only a few taps. You will also find that reordering columns, adding formulae, changing chart types and the majority of Excel’s other core functions are easier than ever before.

PowerPoint

Of course Office wouldn’t be Office without PowerPoint. The mobile version of the app allows you to edit slides with new touch gestures. This makes it easy to insert and edit pictures, tables, shapes and SmartArt. But the real star here, and of the entire Office Mobile setup, is the Presenter View. This mode gives you full control over what your audience sees on the big screen during a presentation while still letting you view your speaker notes on the tablet.

OneNote

Windows 10 comes installed with OneNote, so you’re probably already using it. Tablet users will notice that changes made by anyone working in the notebook are automatically saved and synchronized for everyone to see.

The release of Office Mobile apps is just one of three big launches to come from Microsoft in 2015. Both Microsoft Office 2016 and Office Mobile for phones are slated for release this fall. Yet, while these tablet applications represent marked improvements for Windows 10 tablet users, they are probably not quite enough to warrant the switch from other operating systems just yet. In fact, even if you’re in love with the idea of having user-friendly, mobile versions of Office, you might want to hang on in there – it’s likely Microsoft will release them for iOS and Android in the near future, too.

Want to know what hardware and software is best for your company? Want to increase productivity in your office? Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how to do it.

This entry was posted in General Articles A, Microsoft Office – News & Tips and tagged Excel, Microsoft, Mobile apps, Office, Powerpoint, Productivity, Tablet, Windows 10, Word. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Updates in Windows build 10149

While there have been rumours circling online about Microsoft’s plan to kill the Windows Phone altogether, the tech giant’s latest release for the Windows Insider Program – where users can sign up for an early build of the Windows OS – proves otherwise. Here we’ll take a look at the new Windows build 10149 OS, a preview to Windows 10, and see if it’s worth installing or if you’re better off waiting.

Microsoft Edge

The first thing you’ll notice in this build is a brand new browser, Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge is set to replace Internet Explorer as the default web browser on Windows 10 PCs, smartphones and tablets. It is integrated with Cortana and OneDrive, and also includes annotation tools, reading mode, and the option to browse websites in either mobile or desktop view. Do note that Microsoft Edge has a new app ID, meaning favorites, cookies, history and reading-list items that you saved in the Project Spartan app will be lost after upgrading.

General UX improvements

Among the many refinements in this build is the clear and crisp Start screen. Visuals and icons such as volume controls are updated and are more responsive to use, and the navigation bar can now be hidden. Microsoft has also fixed issues like text notifications not appearing for incoming messages, as well as apps that couldn’t be installed or updated.

Cortana refinements

The Windows build 10149 sees Cortana’s Notebook in its final stage, with combined Profile and Settings experience. You can now send an email by saying everything at once – such as who you want to email (you can give the names of multiple recipients), the subject of the email, and what you want your message to say. And with an Internet connection, you can also make corrections with your voice – though this only works for US English right now.

Flash to flashlight

One of the most popular requests of Microsoft from its users was to add a Flashlight “quick action” to allow you to turn your phone’s camera flash into a flashlight, and that’s exactly what they’ve added. To enable this feature, simply open Action Center and expand Quick Actions.

Improved Photos app

The update to the Photos app includes new capabilities such as support for animated GIFs (which works with phones with at least 16GB of RAM). Links to your saved photos, screenshots, and camera roll are also available on the Albums page.

Overall, the Windows build 10149 looks to be an important turning point for Windows 10 Mobile. It is faster and more stable, and comes with plenty of improvements that enhance practicality for everyday use. To try it out, make sure you’re part of the Windows Insider Program by signing up here. Looking to learn more about the benefits of Windows Phone? Contact us today; we’re sure we can help.

This entry was posted in General Articles C, Mobile Phone – Windows Phone and tagged windows 10 os, Windows build 10149, windows insider os,windows insider program, windows phone. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

Windows 95 “Start Me Up” commercial

In the early ’90s Microsoft surveyed people on what they didn’t like about Windows 3.1. The most common answer was “Everything”, but more specifically a large percentage said they “Just didn’t know where to start.” So, they came up with the Start menu to give those people a leg up. They also licensed the Rolling Stones’ anthem Start Me Up for their ad campaign. That’s right… Windows 95 could make a make a grown man cry.

So what did Microsoft really pay The Rolling Stones to use “Start Me Up” as the soundtrack for the advertising campaign that launched Windows 95?

Rumors over the years have pegged the price at anywhere between $8 million and $14 million, although that range has been dismissed as way too high by those supposedly in the know. Now retired Microsoft chief operating officer Bob Herbold has set the record straight in an interview with the Puget Sound Business Journal posted on TechFlash.

Since I was ever-so-slightly irritated by being forced to listen to an audio clip that accompanies the story to get the answer, I won’t make you do the same: Microsoft paid Mick and the boys about $3 million, according to Herbold.

What to do when your PC slows down

What to do when your PC slows down

When your Windows  PC slows down, often it is a result of applications are installed and used. Whether you are using a word processor, writing a spreadsheet, surfing the internet, playing games or anything else, hard drives fill with temporary files that do not always get removed when no longer needed. Hard disks can succumb to this wear and tear over time, and this article will teach you how to fix that. Read on to learn of ways to help keep a PC running smoothly when this PC slows down.

164_A_HardwareYou just got back from lunch and are settling down into your office chair. You open up your planner to check your schedule, and then wake your PC from sleep. Time to check emails. But wait, something’s wrong. You’re…waiting. Your computer is moving as slow as a brontosaurus and the problem appears to go deeper than internet speed. What happened? When a PC slows down strikes, there can be a number of culprits. Here are a few ideas to alleviate the problem, so you can get back to business in no time.


restart_logo_complete_black1Restart

The most obvious but often overlooked fix is to simply restart your PC. Many people get into the habit of leaving their PC on 24/7 and, instead of turning it off, just leave it in sleep mode when they’re not using it. However, restarting it is like vacuuming a carpet or mopping a floor. If you let either of them sit for a while, a lot of temporary gunk builds up. A simple restart can help clean your computer up but, unlike with household chores, you won’t get dirty in the process.


uninstallUninstall new stuff

Did you recently install new hardware or software? If you did, this could be causing your slowdown and, if you don’t need it, it’s worth uninstalling it. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Control Panel’s Programs and Features section.
  2. If you think a driver is slowing you down, open Device Manager and double click the new driver.
  3. A dialog box will open. Click the Driver tab followed by the Roll Back Driver button.
  4. If that button is grayed out, it means the problem isn’t with that driver. If not, you can continue with uninstalling.

Using the Device Manager, you can also uninstall new hardware.


hard_disk_fullFree up hard drive space

A lack of hard drive space can slow your PC down as well. To run your system smoothly, it’s recommended you have 15% hard drive space free. Having this extra space gives room for temporary files and swapping.

If you don’t have the space, you may need to purchase a new hard drive or transfer some of your files and programs over to an external one.


npktaqSearch for the bloated program that’s eating your memory

Another potential problem could be a dysfunctional program that is using up too much of your PC’s memory. To see if this is the source of your problem, go to Windows Task Manager and click the Processes tab. Then look in the CPU or memory column. Either of these will show you if there’s one program that’s eating all your memory.

To solve this problem, click on the program in Windows Task Manager; and then hit End Process. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary fix. You’ll have to uninstall this program and replace it with something that will run more efficiently.


computer-virusScan for viruses

Both viruses and malware can also slow down your computer. To check if you’ve been infected, run a system scan. If you do have malicious software on your PC, and your antivirus software hasn’t effectively detected or removed it, contact a local IT Services Provider who will be able to clean your computer and free it of potentially harmful malware. They can also advise you to a reputable solution to avoid future issues.


Want more tips on how to resolve PC slowness and other computer issues? Worried you may have been infected by a virus? Get in touch with us today for help and advice.

This entry was tagged computer, fix, hard drive space, Malware, memory, PC slow, repair, restart, uninstall, Virus.

Windows 7 features for better usability

young businessman looking at computer screenWhen it comes to the most widely used operating system, Windows 7 is at the top of the list. In addition to its functionality and business-oriented programs, Windows 7 has many useful features that are unknown to general users who only care about word processing and Internet browsing. These features are very handy and they are right under your nose! Check out these Windows 7 features that will help improve your business performance.

Snipping Tool

While there are many simple screen capturing programs out there, Windows 7 has its Snipping Tool to make screenshots easier. With Snipping Tool, you can take 4 types of screenshots – free-form, rectangular, window, and full screen. So when you come across a great scene in A YouTube video or want to share some screenshots with your friends, simply use Snipping Tool to get the job done. You can even showcase the important parts with the highlight pen function, and you can save the picture in HTML, JPEG, GIF, and PNG formats.

Extended calculator

Calculator has always been a basic but crucial application on smartphone devices and computers. Even if you’re already relying on specific software to analyze data, it’s always handy to have a simple calculator program nearby to help you with the math. Everyone knows that Windows 7 has a calculator, but this specific calculator has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. Under the View tab, you’ll find a bunch of powerful unit conversions, including scientific units. It can also do special calculations for programmers and for statistical needs. Don’t take our word for it; go check it out for yourself.

Sticky Notes

Tired of pasting post-it notes all over your computer screen? Sticky Notes allow you to record texts to virtually remind you about important tasks or events. Run a search in the Start menu to find this feature in the Accessories folder. You can create as many notes as you like, color-coded for your convenience. Have an important meeting coming up? Use the red notes. Want to list places for your holiday plans? Put them in the bright yellow one. This tool works well for those who have a busy schedule and always need something to remind them what’s going on.

Taskbar Pins

If you need to access certain programs or folders on a daily basis, then pinning it to your taskbar can be a real time-saver. Simply click and drag your programs to an empty space on the taskbar to keep them close at hand. While you can’t place a folder on the taskbar, you can pin it to the Jump List, accessible via right-clicking on the leftmost folder near the start menu.

You might already be familiar with some of these simple yet effective tools, but it pays to be reminded that you can use them to assist you with your everyday tasks.

Want to learn how to integrate Windows 7 to boost your business productivity? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

Mac and PC differences: Part 2

Hardware_July07_CNow that we’ve looked into the differences between Mac and PC in terms of operating system, software and specifications, let’s continue to dig deeper in determining the differences between the two rivals. It is vital that you look into all aspects before deciding which one you want to go for since you’ll likely be using it for many years. This includes models, availability, security, customer satisfaction, and of course price.

Models

Apple offers five computer lines comprising of the Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac and Mac Pro. This limited selection is not a sign of weakness but a part of the company’s ‘less is more’ approach to marketing.

PCs have a larger variety to choose from, with industry giants such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, who offer numerous configurations of both desktop and laptop models. This can be beneficial in helping you find a specific computer that meets your needs.

Availability

When it comes to third party retail stores, Apple is more selective than PC manufacturers about where it sell its products. As of April 2014, Apple has 424 retail stores in 16 countries and an online store available in 39 countries. However, Macs are still not available at many stores that sell PCs.

PCs are the most numerous and popular computers out there, and can be found at every store that sells computers, except for Apple stores. This makes it easier to find PCs, especially if you don’t live near an Apple store.

Security

With the vast majority of computers running on Windows, most attacks focus on PCs. Malware like Trojans, which trick users into installing the software by pretending to be a useful program, or botnets, are common to PCs, but rarely harm Macs.

This doesn’t mean that Macs are 100% secure. As Macs become more popular, threats are increasing. Nonetheless, a Mac user is still less likely to be a victim of successful attack than a PC user.

Customer satisfaction

Recent surveys conducted by PCWorld and PCMag revealed that personal users choose Mac over every single brand of PC available. Businesses on the other hand still prefer to stick with PCs.

While Apple does score high on many surveys, especially because of the value placed on face-to-face service, there are a number of PC manufacturers that offer a comparable service. Also, there are more smaller repair shops that offer unrivalled customer service.

Price

One of the most cited differences between a Mac and a PC is price. Generally speaking, Macs are more expensive than PCs due to their preference of building products around higher-end computers with more costly components. The cheapest Mac computer is the Macbook Air which starts from USD$899, while various models of PCs can be found at a much lower price.

Mac and PC both have strong and weak points. It’s best to try both and see which is the better tool for you and which will cover your business needs. If you are looking for a new system, contact us today to see how we can help.

The difference between Mac and PC

It’s undeniable that Macs and PCs have been locked in a battle for many years. PCs were once the go-to computer, mainly due to users wanting to use Windows and the fact that many essential programs only worked on Windows. But over the past fews years, an increasing number of programs have also been released for Mac. Because of this, many people are starting to wonder what exactly the difference is between the two systems.

Design

Apple prides itself on its iconic design while PC design depends on which company is making them. Even with the first Macintosh, introduced in 1984, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and monitor were housed in one single unit thus reducing the number of cables necessary and creating a sleeker look. This design forward view has carried throughout the company’s history and modern Macs are sleek, light, and designed to look cool.

PCs on the other hand, don’t come from one single manufacturer like Mac so there are countless designs available on the market. If you don’t like the design from one manufacturer you can simply look to others. With Mac, if you’re not keen on their design, you’re out of luck.

Specifications

While both Mac and PC have similar internal parts like RAM, hard drives, and graphics cards, their speed and capacity varies. Macs generally outperform PCs because of better hardware optimization, but tend to skimp slightly when it comes to RAM, hard disk space, and USB ports. PCs offer a wider range of customization, and you can add almost any parts you want.

Connections and optical drives found on Macs and PCs are different too. Mac offers standard selection of features including a Superdrive, audio in and audio out, USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and Ethernet. PCs on the other hand offer comparable features but with added bonuses like Blu-Ray players, TV tuners, touch screens, and HDMI ports.

The main difference here is that with Macs you have generally limited customization options, while PCs usually allow for a much wider range whilst supporting different kinds of hardware.

Operating System

Most PCs today come preinstalled with Windows 8.1 while Mac runs OS X Mavericks with users having the option to upgrade to the new OS X – Yosemite – this fall. OS X is generally thought to be more user-friendly, while Windows PCs generally see a more comfortable user base and a higher number of programs that work with the OS.

However, with the increasing adoption of virtual desktops and cloud systems, the idea of a separate OS being better is quickly falling to the wayside. This is especially true if you use a virtualized desktop solution where you connect to a server which delivers your desktop.

Software

One of the biggest reasons as to why Mac hasn’t captured a larger share of the market is due to the lack of software for its OS. This is most obvious in business computing where many applications are standardized for Windows but are not available on Mac. That being said, the major programs businesses use on a daily basis are all available for Mac too, so it’s more the customized software you will need to look into.

User interface (UI)

While many computer users will proclaim one or the other superior when it comes to user interface, or UI, this is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Highlights of the UI in Mac include Launchpad which is a screen full of app icons for easy access, hot corners that can be customized for various types of views, a dock featuring your favorite apps, full screen mode for apps, and spaces that create as many desktops as you like to help minimize clutter.

With PCs UI, highlights include a touch-friendly interface which contains live tiles or rectangular boxes on the screen that represent an app and which is refreshed with the latest app content. Above all, Windows has the familiar desktop which almost every computer user is comfortable with using, and may even prefer.

There are more components that set Mac and PC apart. Find out more next month where we will dig into security, selections and customer satisfaction between the two.

Security flaw hits Internet Explorer

Security_May13_BFor many businesses, the browser is one of the most important pieces of software you can install on your computer. It not only provides access to the Internet, but also to a myriad of other systems, including email, documents, and more. Many Windows users stick with Internet Explorer (IE) because it is automatically installed on all Windows computers. However, those who use this browser should be aware of a recent security flaw.

What exactly is a zero-day flaw?

A zero-day flaw is a security vulnerability that is taken advantage of by hackers on the day it is discovered. In other words, there are zero days between the discovery of the vulnerability and people taking advantage of it.

The way most software programs work is if a user finds a security flaw, they will usually inform the developer who will then develop a fix and release it in a patch that users download. The problem is, sometimes it is a hacker who discovers this vulnerability. Instead of reporting it, they start to capitalize on the flaw, exploiting it to attack other users before the developer becomes aware of it and has a chance to fix it.

The IE zero-day flaw

In late April, news broke that a zero-day flaw had been discovered in Internet Explorer’s code. The flaw affects IE versions 6-11 – essentially every supported version of the browser. Hackers had found a previously unknown flaw that allowed them to gain the same access rights as a user.

How it worked is that the hackers sent emails to users with links to a website that hosts a malicious code. These emails were largely phishing in nature, meaning they aimed to get the user to click on a link in the email. Some of the subject lines used in attacks included:

  • Welcome to Projectmates!
  • Refinance Report
  • What’s ahead for Senior Care M&A
  • UPDATED GALLERY for 2014 Calendar Submissions

In these emails there was a link to a website that hosted a code which could then be executed if the user visited the site using IE. When executed this could potentially expose the user’s system. Once vulnerable, the hackers could install malicious software without the user’s knowledge.

How do I guard against this exploit?

The good news is that Microsoft has released a patch that fixes this exploit. This has definitely been welcomed, and what is really interesting is that Microsoft has actually released the update for XP users as well – this coming after the cessation of support for XP.

To guard against the exploit you should firstly update the version of Internet Explorer that you are using. The easiest way to do this is to go to the Internet Explorer website and download the latest version – version 11 – of the browser. Version 11 can run on both Windows 7 and 8, so the vast majority of users should already be running this latest version.

If you are using an older version, Microsoft has pushed the patch out via both IE’s automatic update feature – so restarting the browser should install the update. The other option is Windows Update. Simply running the Update program and installing the updates should ensure that the latest version of IE is installed.

For Windows 7 and 8 users, you can do this by:

  • Opening the Control Panel on your system.
  • Clicking on System or Performance and Maintenance followed by System.
  • Selecting Automatic Updates from the menu in the window that opens.
  • Following the instructions in the new window that opens.

Once installed, you should restart your computer if you aren’t asked to do so. If you noticed that Automatic Updates was already ticked, try restarting your computer and this should install the updates.

If you are using XP, you can visit the Microsoft Update website using Internet Explorer and following the instructions.

Aside from updating your browser, you should ensure that your anti-virus and malware scanners are up to date and scheduled to scan your system on a regular basis. Be sure to look at all emails closely as well, if one seems a bit dodgy, or you receive one from someone you don’t know, it is best to ignore it and delete it right away.

Businesses who are using XP should seriously consider updating because Microsoft will not be introducing security updates in the future, leaving your systems at greater risk of attack. At the very least, it may also be a good idea to switch to another browser like Firefox or Chrome, both of which will work on XP and are updated regularly.

Worried that your systems are not secure enough, or still running XP? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Upgrading from XP – your choices

Windows_May06_CMicrosoft has seen many important milestones, and back in April the tech giant celebrated yet another with the cessation of support of possibly the most popular operating system ever – Windows XP. If your business is still using systems with XP installed, it might be a good idea to upgrade. A common problem to face then though is selecting which new system you should upgrade too.

Should I actually upgrade?

There have been a number of articles in the news focusing on whether XP is really worth upgrading from, especially since some of the major governments still use XP. Elements of the UK, Dutch, and even US governments still use XP on a large percentage of computers and are not really looking to upgrade. Instead they are looking into paying Microsoft to keep up support.

In fact, one news report noted that the UK government paid Microsoft USD 9.1 million for further support of public sector systems running XP. News like this could give business owners the notion that If the governments are sticking with XP, that means they can too.

However, the vast majority of businesses likely don’t have the money in their budget to warrant continued coverage from Microsoft, if that option were available. The other point is, Microsoft probably won’t agree to this continued support either because they are likely more interested in businesses upgrading instead. What this equates to is the fact that, ignore it or not, your business is going to need to upgrade.

What are my upgrade options?

If your systems are still running Windows XP you have a number of upgrade options available to you. Here are four:

1. Windows 7

Windows 7 is by now the most popular version of Microsoft, and is in fact the closest system to XP. Because of this, it’s the preferred choice for business owners and managers. It is also ideal because the hardware requirements are generally lower, so businesses running older computers will likely be able to run Windows 7 without the need for costly upgrades. Another positive is that Microsoft has said they will continue support until 2020, the knock-on with this is that software developers will also continue to develop programs that support this version.

The issue with Windows 7 is that any new computers purchased from stores will likely come preinstalled with Windows 8, so it will take an extra step or two to downgrade new systems. Luckily, an IT partner, like us, can help with this.

2. Windows 8

Windows 8 is the newest version of Windows and represents a bit of a departure from the traditional layout of Windows XP and 7. With a new, modern tile based layout, it can be tough for some users to get used to the new system. While the more traditional desktop is still there, it’s not the OS of choice for many businesses.

That being said, Microsoft has moved to a more regular update stream, with changes and features being updated and changed on a near yearly basis. This could go a long way in helping employees get more out of the OS and even increase overall productivity.

The biggest advantage of Windows 8 is that it is generally easier to find and implement. This is because almost all new PCs will come with it installed, especially when you buy computers from large retailers.

In order to get the most out of Windows 8 however, you may need to upgrade your hardware because it may not be able to run the OS effectively. If you plan to replace all of your hardware, than Windows 8 may be the most viable solution.

3. Linux

Linux is an open source operating system that has numerous versions, like Ubuntu, that are almost all free. One of the biggest advantages of these systems is that they are more secure than Windows – largely because they don’t support the same file extensions (.exe) as Windows.

Linux is a good option for users whose needs veer toward the simple side, or who would prefer not to upgrade hardware – Linux can be installed on almost any system. If you really only just use email or your browser, these systems could be a viable option. That being said, there are limitations to this system. The first is that there aren’t as many programs available. So, if you have a specific program that was built for your business it may not work with Linux.

The second disadvantage is that the systems are generally harder to operate and maintain than Windows. When using in business, or migrating, you will likely need the help of an IT team or partner who can not only help you navigate the numerous versions of Linux but also carry out the migration and maintenance of your systems.

4. Mac

Another option that is quickly becoming popular with many smaller businesses is to move to Apple’s Mac computers. Macs offer a generally stable and secure platform that is also easy to use.

The main downside of migrating to Macs is that you are going to have to buy new computers, as OS X, the operating system used by Macs, requires specific hardware. Another downside is that while the popular software programs like Microsoft Office are available for Mac, you will need to purchase the Mac version. Other programs may not be available. or supported by this system, so it is advisable to consult with an IT partner like us before migrating.

If you are still using Windows XP, you should look to develop a migration plan as soon as possible. We can help you with this by getting to know your needs, budget, and existing systems and then recommending a new system that will best meet your needs. Contact us today to get started.

Time to leave Windows XP

Windows_Jan21_BComputers are an essential tool for businesses around the world. The vast majority of these systems run some version of Microsoft Windows, like XP or Windows 7. Windows XP, which is still being used by almost 26% of computers connected to the Internet in the US, is one of the most popular operating systems ever created. One major issue though is that Microsoft is no longer supporting it.

What exactly does the end of support for XP mean?

On April 8, Microsoft officially released the last patch for Windows XP and metaphorically pulled the plug on support for Windows XP. This means that technical support, updates and bug fixes for the operating system will no longer be offered by Microsoft. If your business has XP installed on computers you will likely face three major problems:

  • Increased security risk – Because Microsoft is no longer supporting XP with security updates, systems running this operating system (OS) will become more vulnerable to security issues. And because Microsoft isn’t fixing these issues, systems running XP are now easy targets for hackers who will without a doubt be developing malware that specifically targets and exploits these systems; putting your data and systems at risk.
  • Decreased productivity – Since Microsoft announced that they will be cutting support for XP, many Windows based developers have also stopped supporting it. This means that new software and hardware will likely not be supported by XP and not work effectively, if at all. This will lead to decreased productivity as employees struggle to achieve tasks on systems that no longer work, or programs that are now running too slow.
  • Increased operating overheads – Finally, in order to keep your systems running you will need to invest more capital. Finding software and hardware that works will become less affordable and correcting security issues and malware intrusions may come at a higher cost.

In other words, if you have not started to look into migration, the April 8th deadline should have been seen as the strongest determinant that it is time to move on and upgrade.

What should I do if my systems still run XP?

If your business has computers with XP, or you still have XP on your computers at home, there are a number of steps you should take.

1. Update XP

On April 8, Microsoft released the final patch/update for XP. It is worthwhile ensuring that you update all computers and systems running XP by downloading the latest patch from Microsoft.

Don’t be tricked into believing that your computer is secure however, you can bet that security faults will be found and exploited in the near future, if not already.

2. Ensure your antivirus is updated

This is an important step to take for all businesses, especially those running XP. An up-to-date antivirus or malware scanner that is set to run on a regular basis can be a big help in protecting systems. It is important to note that while antivirus scanners do help, they will not be able to keep legacy (older) systems completely secure, especially if the developers of these scanners turn their attention to viruses affecting newer operating systems.

It is essential that you have a strong scanner that is kept updated, even if you are currently in the midst of an upgrade or are planning to upgrade.

3. Use Firefox or Chrome

Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s browser that comes with every version of Windows. There are many companies using this browser but you need to be aware that just like XP, Microsoft doesn’t update older versions of Explorer.

In fact, the latest versions of Explorer aren’t even compatible with XP, so you are likely using an older version of Explorer which could be less secure. What you should do is use another browser like Chrome of Firefox. Both of these browsers receive updates on a regular basis and are generally more secure that older versions of Explorer.

4. Prepare for updates and upgrades

The tips above all focus on what to do if you are currently using XP. However, these are more like half-measures; ways to keep your system secure and your computers running in the short term. What you really need to be doing is planning to upgrade existing systems to newer versions of the OS.

An example might be to use Windows 7, which still receives updates and offers many of the same functions and features of XP. It might also be a good idea to look into upgrading your hardware as older versions may not support many of the newer programs.

While it may seem costly to upgrade hardware, there are a number of benefits to this. First, most hardware which businesses require in order to operate is relatively affordable and IT partners like us can help you find the best, most affordable options for your business.

Secondly, almost all new hardware, like computers, laptops, and monitors, are far more energy efficient and can serve to reduce overheads.

Finally, investing in upgrades will go a long way in preventing security breaches and malware infections which are costly to prevent and fix on older systems. This could lead to reduced recovery costs should an infection occur.

5. Back up your data

Before you upgrade, or even begin to look into this, you should back up all of your data so that should anything happen eg., a security breach or system failure, you have your important business files backed up and secure.

If nothing else you should…

Contact us. While it may not seem like a feasible idea to upgrade at this time, or it you think your systems are secure, it is still advisable to contact us and check, and stop using XP if you still are. We can help ensure your systems are upgraded and migration is smoothly successful without breaking the bank.

Get in touch today to learn more.

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