Microsoft Windows 10 is here!

Microsoft Windows 10 is here!

Windows 10 Opinion

Microsoft Windows 10 launched today. There has been a greater fanfare for this version of Windows than many before it. Here at CyberGuru, we have seen the launch of Windows 98, Windows Me (also known as Millennium edition), Windows Vista, Windows 7 and of course, Windows 8. There has been many editions and updates over this time. Whilst Windows 95 was prior to our official commencement, we were very much enjoying it as a hobby at that time! It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since this operating system, which was the last operating system with such interest.

Perhaps the reason why Windows 95 had so much interest in it as the introduction of the Start menu. It was it was a revolutionary change over Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 at the time. Similarly, Windows XP improved the “experience” of those who were running Windows 95 and Windows 98. And sure enough, Windows 7 took the baton from Windows XP with many kicking and screaming to keep running it. Windows 8 removed the Start menu and introduced the full start screen, and caused many to turn their back on it.

It is often said every second release of Windows that is seen best to skip, for reasons such as bugs, compatibility and sometimes even one’s desire to upgrade, but often because the “skipped” releases are rushed out the door by Microsoft. So much so, Microsoft’s announcement that this would be the “last version of Windows” is been often reported with this release of Windows. Truth be told, we understand that Windows will still continue to be developed and likely to become a subscription (or “as a service”) product similar to many other products on the market today. We are hoping that Windows 10 is a product that is continued to be developed and maintained well into the future and from the looks of things it is going down this way.

As Microsoft rightly states, it brings the best of Windows 7 and Windows 8 together. It rightly brings back the Start Menu, as well as introducing a new web browser to replace Internet Explorer, known as Edge. Another new addition is Cortana, a personal digital assistant similar to Apple Siri and Google Now. This is not currently in Australia but is anticipated to be available later this year. Some of the other new features being introduced into Windows 10 include Continuum, which automatically adjusts Windows to the type of device you are using, Task View, which allows you to add virtual desktops, and finally Windows Hello, a new way of using facial recognition to log onto your computer.

At a time when many of our clients are considering to upgrade, we are suggesting a considered approach like any new product especially whilst it is still “version 1.0”. If you are using it on a personal tablet device or one that you are happy to experiment on, you may find the new features compelling to move to. However, if you are in an organisation reliant perhaps on legacy or Windows XP Mode applications (those not designed for Windows 7 or Windows 8), is a significant upgrade. To operate effectively, as such we would consider waiting for at least until the beginning of new year before considering upgrading. Most new computers running Windows 7 and Windows 8 will be compatible, however we encourage you to check with us and your Get Windows 10 application before going ahead.

Windows 10 isn’t as big as upgrade as previous upgrades have been. From moving to Windows 98 to Windows XP, or even Windows XP to Windows 7, we saw considerable resistance to change. As Microsoft is offering free perpetual upgrades from Windows 7 and Windows 8 until 29 July 2016, it will be of interest to see whether they achieve their desired take-up of the product and remove the memories of Windows 8 from as many as possible.

New computers with Windows 10 operating systems will become more commonplace over the coming year. A client I spoke to today when I advised it was the launch of Windows 10 this afternoon, said she never wants to move from Windows 7 – but over time this will become a necessity in order to keep operating. In business’ today, we see the take up of Windows 8 gathering more momentum. The opportunity to move straight from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is there, will this put a path in Windows 8 upgrades? Only time will tell.

Here at CyberGuru, we are preparing ourselves and equipping our knowledge and skills to be ready to help our clients with the transition to Windows 10. If you have any questions, require any consulting, support or training, please contact us today.

Ask CyberGuru: Should I update my computer’s hardware drivers?

Ask CyberGuru: Should I update my computer’s hardware drivers?

Ask CyberGuru

In the latest Ask CyberGuru we are asked, “I have recently purchased a new computer. When I bought it, I received a notification telling me to update my graphics card driver. I know that it is important to install important Windows and software updates when they become available, but do I need to also update the computer’s hardware drivers?

Firstly, for those who aren’t aware, “drivers” is a word used regularly in computer terminology. Drivers provide the ability for your computer’s hardware, such as your graphics, network or other component to talk to Windows.

Depending on the manufacturer and model of your computer, there are specifically designed programs to notify you when hardware driver updates are available. Previously, to obtain updated drivers from what was provided with your computer originally, you would use Windows Update or access the relevant manufacturer or the individual component manufacturer’s website.

To answer your question if you need to update your computer’s hardware drivers, it really depends on your need to have the hardware driver up-to-date. We suggest that only if you have a need for the updated graphics card drivers, for instance, if you are experiencing an issue, such as a flickering display, or if your computer is used for entertainment or games, it may be necessary to update the graphics card driver. However, increasingly, updated drivers are also made available as “beta” to help you test it out before it becomes final update. We don’t suggest these, because as the classic (but often true) saying goes, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Sometimes new drivers can introduce further problems.

We hope this answers your question!

CyberGuru celebrates 18th birthday

CyberGuru celebrates 18th birthday

On 15 July, CyberGuru will celebrate our 18th birthday since our commencement. When I just 14 years of age, when I started CyberGuru in 1997 as a hobby whilst at school. Now 18 years on and at 32 years of age, CyberGuru has grown and developed into a well-respected, trusted and reliable Information Communication and Technology (ICT) consulting and training provider for small businesses and not-for-profit organisations across the northside and surrounding suburbs in Brisbane.

I began my business out of my interest in computers and empowering small businesses and not-for-profit organisations to take advantage of them to their full potential. From CyberGuru’s earliest beginnings, I prided myself on providing award-winning, professional and affordable computer solutions. CyberGuru’s mantra is to “empower, educate and enable computer users to do that all is possible, with excellence in all we do”.

I am appreciative that my work has been awarded through numerous accolades over the years, including winner of the Young ICT Professional of the Year in 2012 by the Australian Computer Society Queensland Branch and winner of the Intel Australia On-line Awards Website Competition in 1999. Further, I also been recently nominated (for the second year in a row) for the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards for Young Business Person of the Year.

I appreciate the custom of all of my clients over the years, as well as my family and friends for their support. As I mentioned to some at a networking event of this announcement this week, I am now able to drink! :).

Here’s look forward to the next eighteen years.

Chris Jeffery
Proprietor/Chief Guru
CyberGuru

 

Five tips for protecting your information when entering your financial information online

Five tips for protecting your information when entering your financial information online

Five tips for protecting your information when entering your financial information online

It’s tax time here again! myTax and e-tax, both provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are designed to enable you to quickly and easily complete your tax return online. It is important to protect yourself when completing this as it contains such valuable information. We thought it would be timely to provide tips can also be followed when using secure websites or online systems, such as those of the ATO, financial institution, superannuation or other investment providers.

Here are some tips to protecting your information:

  • Whilst it is secure (which you can confirm by its address beginning with https:// at the beginning of the address), make sure the website is identifying itself correctly and that the security certificate is valid to ensure the connection to the server is protected. You can click on this next to the address in your browser’s address bar. Generally, this will look like a padlock.
  • When you create your password, ensure it is one you can remember but others will not easily guess. Passwords should contain at least eight characters, including letters and numbers, and even combination of upper and lowercase. You can also use special characters, why not make it one with some of those for extra complexity?
  • Only use such systems in a location where you can protect the privacy of your information. We wouldn’t suggest opening your bank account balance on an ATM for all to see, so be careful where you also enter your financial information, to ensure are not being watched by those who may be nearby.
  • Ensure you have an internet security application installed and fully up-to-date firewall, virus and malware updates. You don’t want a “key logger” program recording your tax file number or other information as you type this onto your computer! Similarly, turn off any unnecessary programs which help you remember details (you don’t want it to remember your personal information). Also, don’t forget to log off and save your information securely after completing your session.
  • Finally, if you receive any email messages or phone calls reporting to be from the Australian Tax Office, claiming you are owed a refund, or that you require to make a payment, it is strongly advised to be cautious. Write down the details, such as the name of their person and their contact details and then contact the ATO to confirm it is legitimate.

If CyberGuru can be of any assistance in helping you protect your information through supporting you with setting up internet security, having good password practices, checking your internet security or removing unnecessary programs with your computer, please contact us today.