SpireTech Blog - Category: Windows
Microsoft Windows updates, features, tips, and tricks
Windows 7 is reaching the end of its life and support on January 14, 2020. It’s now time to plan your upgrade to Windows 10.
What’s happening to Windows 7?
Windows 7 (as well as Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2) will no longer be supported by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. This means there will be no more software updates or security patches. Continuing to use the operating system could make you out of compliance with industry standards. Microsoft customer service will also no longer be available for Windows 7.
Unsupported operating systems are often targeted by cyber attackers specifically because they no longer receive software updates or patches to fix flaws and vulnerabilities. By continuing to use Windows 7 past its end of support, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
Your organization may also be out of compliance with industry or legal standards if you continue to run on unsupported software or operating systems. Read more...
Update: Microsoft has stopped deploying build 1809 due to reports of lost data. At this time there is not a new release window. More information can be found at this link.
Microsoft Windows runs 87% of the world’s computers.
Windows 10 is the latest version and keeps evolving to bring you the best experience when it comes to your phone and PC.
In October 2018 the latest update to the popular software is rolling out and there are even more changes. But which features are really worth your while and which are just fluff?
Here are five of the most exciting Windows 10 features new in October.
One of the most simplest yet biggest updates to Windows is Dark Mode.
But why is dark mode so popular? There are three main reasons.
Computer technology is no longer a new frontier. In fact, over 85 percent of households in America have at least one computer.
With this tech being so accessible, it’s easy to feel like a computer whiz. However, there are tons of simple, time-saving daily tips and tricks that you may be missing out on.
Did you know that you can privately browse the Internet or save your laptop’s dying battery in the nick of time? And it’s easier than you think.
Curious to know more? Keep reading.
We’ll review some computer tricks everyone should know in 2018. Let’s get started!
1. Scrolling Shortcuts
If you’re perusing a long web page or document, scrolling can get tedious. This is where handy scrolling shortcuts come in.
To scroll down, press the spacebar. To scroll up, press the shift key and the spacebar at the same time. Simple computer tips like this will save you a surprising amount of time and energy while working and browsing. Read more...
used with permission from Microsoft, by Elana Pidgeon
Did you know there’s a new feature in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update to help you easily find what matters to you across your devices?
It’s called Timeline, and it lets you go back in time to past activities you’ve worked on across your devices, so you can jump back into them like you never left. So, if you’re looking for a specific document, image, or video you worked on yesterday or a week ago, Timeline makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for. You can even pick up what you were doing on your iOS or Android device on your Windows 10 PC when you’re ready to get back to it.
Here’s what you can do with Timeline:
- Go back and forth in time. Easily scroll back in time to find things you were working on earlier today or a few weeks ago.*
Microsoft released their latest update to Windows on April 30th and will be pushing it out through windows update starting May 8th. This is the most recent major update after the Fall Creators Update was released last October. Spire Tech strives to be proactive with our VIPsupport clients, so we will be conducting testing, before deploying this update, both for general installation problems and issues with software that was previously identified as problematic with the Fall Creators Update.
Once testing has been completed by our technicians we will determine a schedule to roll out the update to our clients. Managed Services clients who wish to get more information about their update schedule are encouraged to contact their Technical Client Manager (TCM).
With the new update comes new features that Microsoft believes enhances the Windows 10 experience. To hopefully keep from overwhelming you, here is a selection of 3 new significant changes. Read more...
Microsoft regularly releases annual updates to their current operating system, this year it is known as the Fall Creators update (Build 1709).
As more machines are being updated with this release SpireTech’s support specialists have noticed a trend in calls reporting Windows 10 system instabilities.
Some of the concerns that SpireTech is aware of include:
- Update causes Remote Desktop (RDP) to stop functioning
- AutoDesk software becoming unstable after the update and frequently crashing
- Various printer vendors are working to update drivers to support Microsoft’s changes
- Microsoft .Net Framework packages have become unstable and seem to be causing software crashes
- Microsoft Office365 Users have reported being unable to install some other software applications if the Office suite software is running at the time
SpireTech’s VIP Managed Service customers, who have their patches managed by Spire, don’t need to be concerned about these issues as this update patch will be deferred until it can appropriately be applied. Read more...
The Windows 10 Start menu has a new look from previous versions. Specifically, it uses tiles when pinning your favorite apps to the Start menu for quick access. Here, we’ll explain how you can customize your Start menu: pinning and removing apps from the Start menu and resizing and rearranging pinned tiles.
To access your Start menu, hit the Windows key on your keyboard, or click the Windows icon in the lower left corner of your screen.
On the left side of the Start menu, you will see a list of all apps installed on your machine. At the top is a list of your most frequently used apps, and then an alphabetical list below. On the right side is the panel where pinned apps appear as tiles.
Pinning Apps to the Start Menu
To pin app to your Start menu for easy access, find the app in the list on the left side. Read more...
At SpireTech, we’ve noticed an increase in certain types of “Brute Force” attacks on Microsoft Windows operating systems, particularly those allowing Remote Desktop. A ‘brute force’ attack is a repeated automated attempt to gain unauthorized access by guessing at username/password combinations.
What does this mean to our clients? Here are a few key takeaways:
- Obscurity is not security. Using an uncommon port, redirected from a firewall, to a machine inside your network, is not going to prevent your system from being probed by bots and hackers. Instead, use an SSL VPN to add a second layer of security to your network.
- Use truly complex, random, and lengthy passwords. We see lots of passwords that people think are secure, but they really aren’t that great. Also, because your network password is often used for your company email password or Office 365, it opens up yet another vector people can use to try and guess your password.
As many Windows 10 users have found out, the new update procedures can cause massive problems for users. No longer can you delay updates until it is convenient – only reboots. Now windows will run updates as soon as Microsoft decides you need them, and worst of all this latest round of updates seems to be slowing even the most powerful machines down to a crawl while the updates are applying. Hopefully Microsoft will see fit to add control over updates back in.
Here at SpireTech we have firsthand experience with just how crippling it can be to have many of the machines in an office become unusable at once. Last week several of the Windows 10 machines in our office started responding slowly at first, but within minutes we were unable to perform most basic tasks.
Things like the control panel and task manager would take upwards of 10 minutes to load. A little digging revealed that it was the Delivery Optimization process, this process handles the Windows 10 feature that allows it to send and receive updates from other machines on your network. Read more...
How do you manage Internet Explorer add-ons? Perhaps you have an unwanted extension or a pesky toolbar cluttering up your browser. Maybe another program installed an extra toolbar you really don’t need. Or maybe your favorite extension is disabled and you want to bring it back. Here’s how!
Finding where to manage Internet Explorer add-ons is very easy!
- Click on the Tools gear icon in the upper right corner of the program.
- On the menu that appears, click Manage Add-ons.
- On the left, under Add-on Types, make sure to select Toolbars and Extensions.
- On the right is a list of each toolbar or extension and its status (Enabled or Disabled). Select the one that you want to enable or disable.
- More details about the item are at the bottom of the window. Click the Disable or Enable button in the bottom right corner.
- Follow any additional instructions – such as allowing IE to disable or enable any other required extensions used by the one you are changing.