Ask CyberGuru: Do I need to upgrade to Windows 10?

Ask CyberGuru: Do I need to upgrade to Windows 10?

Ask CyberGuru

In this month’s Ask CyberGuru, we are asked, “I am running Windows 7 and I have received a notification that Microsoft is ending updates and technical support for it. Is this legitimate and do I need to do this?”.

Yes, this is a legitimate notification which has been delivered as part of Windows Update recently. The message would look similar to this:

Windows 7 End of Life notification

As noted in the support notification, after 10 years of service, Microsoft will no longer offer security updates for computers running Windows 7 from 14 January 2020. As part of Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle, only its Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems will be supported from this date. Any computers running Windows 7 after this date will pose a significant security risk.

Given Windows 7 is used in a significant number of computers today, Microsoft is providing early notification to users to ensure that appropriate measures are undertaken to upgrade to a later operating system. Windows 10 has been on the market for almost four years and become an increasingly secure and stable operating system, making it the ideal replacement for Windows 7.

It is strongly recommended that you upgrade as soon as possible to ensure you are provided with the necessary security updates and technical support from Microsoft as required.

Depending on the age and type of computer, you may be able to upgrade to Windows 10 successfully without issues. If the computer is three or less years old, it is likely it will be able to be updated to Windows 10. Some older or custom-build computers, however, may need to be upgraded or replaced.

Unfortunately, the free upgrade offer which was available when Windows 10 was introduced is no longer available, with Windows 10 Upgrade media costing between $225 to $339 depending on the edition.

CyberGuru can assist through our Consulting solution by reviewing your computer equipment to provide the best advice for your needs, as well as providing any necessary training and support to assist you and your organisation make the change.

For more details, please see this Microsoft Support article (link opens in new window) or feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

One year to go until Microsoft ends extended support for Windows 7

One year to go until Microsoft ends extended support for Windows 7

One of the Microsoft’s most loved operating systems, Windows 7, has extended support close to ending. On 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates and will stop providing assistance those using Windows 7 Service Pack 1.

NetMarketShare (link opens in new window) reports that as of December 2018, 40.86% are still using Windows 7, with Windows 10 close behind on 36.37%. 5.07% are running Windows 8.1.

Introduced nearly 10 years ago, Windows 7 improved on existing versions of Windows including Windows XP and Windows Vista. Microsoft also added many new features we are now take for granted, including touch capabilities, and others we have become more comfortable with, including Libraries in File Explorer.

According to the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet (link opens in new window), mainstream support for Windows 7 ended on 13 January 2015, with extended support ending 14 January 2020. For users running Windows 8.1, support ended on 9 January 2018 with extended support for 10 January 2023.

Over the coming year, we suggest all computers running Windows 7 are upgraded to Windows 10 or replaced with new computers depending on their age and purpose. We are happy to assist clients and advise the most appropriate requirements for their needs.

If we can be of assistance to upgrading you from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and in need of consulting, support or training to help you make the move to a modern desktop, please contact us.

Ask CyberGuru: What is the difference between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home?

Ask CyberGuru: What is the difference between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home?

Ask CyberGuru

CyberGuru is asked, “I am looking a new computer and the different options. I was wondering what the difference is between Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home?”

Generally, Windows 10 Pro devices are designed for business use whereas Windows 10 Home is for personal use. This means that Pro devices often have higher specifications than Home devices.

Oftentimes, Windows 10 Pro devices are used for PC-based servers or advanced needs as they allow for. Windows 10 Pro allows for you to set up Remote Desktop to connect to your computer remotely BitLocker disk encryption, the ability to connect to a domain and Client Hyper-V, allowing you to run “virtual machines” on your computer.

Depending on your set up and requirements, you may not require these functions, or you may already have alternatives in place, so you can use Windows 10 Home. If you already have or decide to buy a device with Windows 10 Home, you can generally upgrade to Windows 10 Pro should your needs change in the future.

For more details on the features and differences, please visit the Compare Windows 10 editions page.

If you have any questions we can answer for you, please contact us.

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.