The Windows 10 November 2019 Update has been released!

The Windows 10 November 2019 Update has been released!

Windows 10 November 2019 Update

Microsoft has just released the newest feature update to Windows 10, known as the November 2019 Update or as 1909, which includes the latest features and security updates.

The Windows 10 November 2019 Update introduces some modest new features include:

  • being able to create a calendar entry directly from the Taskbar
  • integrating Windows Search to as part of File Explorer to include of OneDrive content
  • the ability for third-party digital assistants to be used when the device is locked
  • various general improvements to the user interface

For a full list of new features, please see Microsoft’s website, What’s new in Windows 10, version 1909 (link opens in new window).

The most significant improvement is that it is a very fast update to install for those already running Windows 10 May 2019 Update, as Microsoft is using a new way to deliver the update similar to the monthly updates are issued.

To check if you are able to install this update now, you can open Windows Update and click Check for Updates. It is available for your device, you can select to download and install this. It requires a restart and the update shouldn’t take too long to complete. Depending on your type of your device, it may not be available just yet as Microsoft works through compatibility issues. If you are running a Windows 10 Home or Pro device currently on the Windows 10 May 2018 Update, you will likely receive an automatic update to this.

As part of our computer maintenance service for our contracted clients, we will be implementing this update in the next few months. If you have any questions or would like assistance to perform this update for you, please contact us.

Running a WordPress website? It’s time update your PHP!

Running a WordPress website? It’s time update your PHP!

Running a WordPress website? It’s time upgrade your PHP!

If you have a website, it will likely be running WordPress. Behind this, PHP is a coding language used by WordPress and other applications used on the Web.

What does the upgrade mean to those of us who are not programmers? One of the biggest reasons to make the upgrade is that improves the speed for WordPress, making your website faster to load both for you and your website visitors. WordPress also points out that :This performance increase also means fewer servers are needed to host websites. Updating PHP isn’t just good for your site, it also means less energy is needed for the 1-in-3 sites that use WordPress, so it’s good for the planet.”

Around the time that WordPress 5.2 was introduced in April, WordPress they also announced that they would increase the minimum version of PHP required to PHP 5.6. Since this time, they have advised that the minimum required would increase to version 7+ by the end of the year for ongoing benefits. We would recommend that all WordPress websites are upgraded to the latest version of PHP 7.2 as soon as possible.

Upgrading PHP will require some testing as plugins and themes may require updating to remain compatible. However, given the upgrade will also assist in providing ongoing security and support we believe the upgrade is worthwhile.

CyberGuru will be upgrading all of our clients managed under a Website Maintenance Service as soon as practical automatically and other clients in consultation, however if your website requires an upgrade, or looking for a website hosting provider that can support version the upgrade, please contact us.

Are you ready for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update?

Are you ready for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update?

Are you ready for the Windows 10 May 2019 Update?

It’s been a while coming, but the Windows 10 May 2019 Update is finally on its way to computers around the world.

Microsoft has announced that as the Home and Pro editions of Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803) will reach end of service on 12 November 2019 they will begin updating devices running this as well as earlier versions of Windows 10 to ensure that they can continue to service these devices and provide the latest updates, security updates and improvements.

Every year, Microsoft releases two majority updates for Windows 10, being generally in April and October, however, the latest one, Windows 10 May 2019 update has arrived later than expected.

As per the Windows Experience blog (link opens in new window) article, for those Windows 10 devices “that are at, or within several months of reaching end of service, Windows Update will automatically initiate a feature update; keeping those devices supported and receiving the monthly updates that are critical to device security and ecosystem health”.

Some of the new features introduced in Windows 10 May 2019 Update include:

  • Windows Update itself: Windows will seek your permission before installing the major updates (ie. the next October 2019 Update) and Home users can pause updates for up to 35 days (in seven-day periods up to five times). Microsoft provides greater control as to when you wish to install the update and will no longer do so without your permission. You will have approximately 18 months until it will eventually force the update.
  • Troubleshooters: Windows 10 has increased further troubleshooting options for this update. It will provide recommended troubleshooting guidance if required, as well as assistance when you are in trouble. Of course, we are always happy to help with that! In addition, Windows Security is also improving but we would still recommend internet security software for your computer.
  • Passwordless login: One interesting announcement as part of this update is Microsoft’s promise to remove passwords, by replacing them with a PIN or prompt on your mobile phone.
  • Dark mode (light mode): One popular enhancement we are seeing across many apps and websites these days is to introduce a “dark mode” to darken how the interface appears. This includes the start menu, task bar, Action Centre, notifications as well as other areas. In addition, there is also a “light theme” also.
  • Start menu: Microsoft has also reduced the number of programs appearing on the Start menu, making it easier to remove out-of-box apps which you may not use (such as Candy Crush, Xbox Console and Groove Music). This will allow you to also have a smaller start menu, down to a single column. There are changes to separate Cortana and search also.

Usually in the subsequent months, we receive calls from our clients who advise they have seen a particular change or looks different to what they are familiar with. If you are considering updating to the Windows 10 May Update, you may wish to review the new Windows release health dashboard (link opens in new window) which as advises on known and resolved issues

You will generally receive a notification when your device is ready to upgrade to the latest Windows 10 update, however we suggest waiting until at least a few weeks afterwards to iron out any issues.

If you need assistance to upgrading to this update, or would like consulting, support and training, we are happy to provide for this to small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and individuals. Please contact us for more information.

This article is also featured on the CyberGuru Blog.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update released

Windows 10 October 2018 Update released

Windows 10 October 2018 Update

The latest Windows 10 feature update, known as the October 2018 Update (version 1809) has comes with new features. From our exploration, we have found three that will be of interest, namely the Your Phone app, Snip & Sketch app and the Cloud clipboard.

The new “Your Phone” app is a useful addition to Windows 10, replacing the previous Phone Companion app. Currently, the Your Phone app works predominately on Android phones. In particular, it enables you to access the contents of your phone (namely recent photos) and view and send text messages on your Windows computer. In order for you to access phone and access the photos, you need to access your phone over WiFi. New features have been promised as well as adding these features into iPhone, however this is an interesting start and we hope it is added to over time.

Another new feature is the “Snip and & Sketch” app, providing improvements over the former Snipping Tool in earlier versions of Windows. Snip & Sketch allows for the ability to capture screenshots using the Windows + Shift + S keyboard hotkey, then mark up and share these images. It doesn’t yet have all of the features like selecting the type of snip (although you can crop, and only selective timings are included, but will again, become more useful over time. The existing Snipping Tool will be removed in a later Windows edition.

One long-awaited feature is the Cloud Clipboard. This isn’t set up by default but allows you to copy contents from one device and paste into other. It hasn’t been fully tested by us yet, but we understand that it will enable you to work alongside other recent features introduced into the earlier Windows 10 April 2018 Update, such as Timeline, in order for you to share content between devices.

When the Windows 10 October 2018 Update was first released, Microsoft became aware of some issues. The rollout of this update was then put on hold until these issues were resolved. The Windows 10 October 2018 Update was re-released on 13 November to Windows Update and will be installed onto your computer through the usual Windows Update process. However, you may decide to elect to update now by checking for updates, or wait for it to install automatically, or choose to defer the update until you are ready to do so.

Some of the features removed or planned for replacement in the Windows October 2018 Update have been documented on the Microsoft Docs website (link opens in new window).

If you need a hand with taking advantage of the new features, performing or would like assistance in upgrading to the latest version, please contact us.

Windows 10 April 2018 Update released

Windows 10 April 2018 Update released

Last week, the Windows 10 April 2018 Update was released by Microsoft. Originally known as the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update, the latest release has brought a number of new features to benefit both seasoned Windows users and those starting with Windows.

Microsoft release feature updates twice a year which provide new functionality and a range of improvements to their flagship operating system. In the past, new versions of Windows arrived bearing a year or number but as Microsoft has been said Windows 10 was to be the “last version of Windows”, it is now more often consists of a name, and the version being the year and date (in this case 1803).

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update has provided a range of new features and improvements. A key change is the introduction of Timeline, which adds to the existing Task View feature by providing the ability of going back in time to previous apps and Windows you had running in the past month. You can go back to your desktop in the past using the scroll bar to review and work with the file or website you were using at that time. At this stage, only Microsoft apps are supported.

Microsoft has also improved on the “Quiet hours” feature and renamed this to “Focus assist”. This is effectively a do not disturb feature which allows you to turn off certain notifications except for those you choose (such as for a particular application or people who contact you). You can also set your priority list as to who can contact you, and automatic rules that apply at a certain time.

Another new feature is being able share files via Bluetooth with what is known as “Nearby sharing”. For Apple users familiar with Airdrop, this provides you to share files in File Explorer, Photos and Edge with a click of a button.

There are many other improvements and we suggest you browse the new changes further by accessing the “Tips” section from within Windows 10 to find out more of what has changed.

However, it is important to note that Microsoft removes features that it believes are no longer in use or required. One of these is Homegroup, which was introduced in Windows 7 to improve the ease of which you share files, folders and printers with others on a home network. For a full list of features removed or planned for replacement, please visit Microsoft’s website.

The Windows 10 April 2018 Update is available for download via the Windows 10 Download Assistant, will soon be automatically downloaded and installed on your computer via Windows Update. We suggest ensuring your backups are up to date before installing this onto your computer. If you are not ready to install this yet, we suggest you change your Windows Update settings to delay the installation of this. We can pause this to up to 35 days to provide you with time to evaluate and ensure as many issues are resolved prior to installing on your computer.

If we can help you in any way in transitioning to this new version, please contact us.