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This week, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 11.  While it offers some interesting new features, we recommend you wait a bit to let us sort out the bugs first.  Our initial testing has revealed a few annoyances that you might want to be aware of before upgrading.

Right now, we can confirm the following:

  1. We will not be upgrading clients to Windows 11 via our normal system maintenance processes.
  2. Even though Microsoft may offer it to you via Windows Update, we do not recommend our clients upgrade at this time because it is too new.
  3. Windows 11 is an upgrade, not an update – and although Microsoft offers the software for free to qualified systems, we reserve the right to charge for work related to these upgrades.
  4. Microsoft will be staging the rollout, and if their data indicates there may be issues with your hardware, it will not be offered to you.
  Read more...

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Microsoft has been working on this for a while, and now it’s generally available.  Basically, it’s your desktop in the cloud.  Instead of VPN’ing into work, or using remote desktop to control a computer at your office,  you can access these resources hosted in Microsoft’s datacenters.  This may simplify things for companies moving to a permanent virtual workplace, getting rid of offices, and still using legacy software or systems. 

We suspect most of our clients will need the Enterprise version, and adopting this technology will require re-architecting and rethinking some of our legacy ways of computing.  Of course, none of this is needed if you are already using cloud-based software or file storage such as Microsoft 365 and SharePoint – but if you have multi-user accounting systems that are on-premise, CAD systems using files off of a server, or other legacy systems – and want to move to a cloud model – this technology can simplify that transition.   

Pricing depends on performance requirements – it starts around $50/mo per user for a mid-level system plus implementation and management costs.   Read more...


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On June 24th, Microsoft announced Windows 11, it’s evolution of the Microsoft Windows operating system. While hard to believe, Windows 10 was released almost 6 years ago, on July 29th, 2015. Microsoft hasn’t officially announced a release date, other than stating it will be “coming later this year”. 

A new version of Windows?! What does this mean for me? 

Windows 11 comes with a new design, new features, and new capabilities described on Microsoft’s website here

But, if you’re happy with Windows 10, or your system does not meet the expected requirements to upgrade (which we’ll get into below), that’s fine for now: although subject to change, Microsoft has stated they will continue supporting Windows 10 until October 14th, 2025. 

If you’d like to upgrade when Windows 11 becomes available, read on: 

Alright, what are the requirements? 

Microsoft has stated that this will be a free upgrade for all users running Windows 10, and the free upgrade will upgrade them to same edition of Windows 11.   Read more...


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Microsoft is transitioning Internet Explorer 11 to End-of-life status.  Internet Explorer became unsupported by Microsoft Teams on Nov 30th, 2020 and it will cease to be supported by Microsoft completely on August 11, 2021.  Microsoft has installed tools to redirect users to the new Edge browser. 

The new Microsoft Edge is powered by Chromium, the same browser engine that powers Google Chrome – and has vastly superior compatibility with websites when compared to the previous version of Microsoft Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer.  

We recommend anyone still using Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 stop doing so now, and switch to a supported browser – such as the new Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.


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We are going to remove Windows 7 systems from SpireTech support effective July 1, 2020.  Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020.  We have been giving everyone some extra time to get those last stragglers out of their networks, but that time is coming to an end in two months.   

Each client primary contact gets a monthly report that includes a system inventory.  If you are still seeing Windows 7 systems in your network, please work to remove them. If you are sitting at a computer still running Windows 7, please request a replacement or upgrade. 

SpireTech has aggressive discounts available from Dell for new systems, please let us know if you require assistance obtaining new hardware or migrating files from old systems.  We are minimizing site calls during the Covid-19 crisis, but we can arrange delivery to your location and perform work remotely.  SpireTech has a flat-fee of $300 per system for labor associated with migrating Windows 7 machines and new computer setups. 

We do not wish to create additional financial hardship for clients.   Read more...


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used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Steve Symanovich

You’re probably no stranger to those little pop-up windows. They tell you software updates are available for your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

You might be tempted to click on that “Remind me later” button. Don’t do it. Or, at least don’t put off updating your software for long.

Software updates are important to your digital safety and cyber security. The sooner you update, the sooner you’ll feel confident your device is more secure — until the next update reminder.

Why are software updates so important? There are a lot of reasons. Here are 5 that show why it’s important to update software regularly.

1. Software updates do a lot of things

Software updates offer plenty of benefits. It’s all about revisions. These might include repairing security holes that have been discovered and fixing or removing computer bugs. Updates can add new features to your devices and remove outdated ones.  Read more...


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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...


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After so many warnings about the end of support Windows Server 2003 (and last year, end of support for Windows XP), it might be easy to think that IT professionals are alarmists. How can the end of support for Server 2003 be that serious? Unfortunately, it is as dramatic as it sounds. It is, literally, the end of support for this Microsoft product: if something goes wrong, there is no help.

Now that support for Server 2003 is over, as of July 14, 2015, these are the three major issues businesses and organizations face if they continue to use Server 2003.

  1. Security vulnerabilities.
    Businesses that fail to migrate to a new version of Windows Server are opening the door to cybercriminals and welcoming hackers. Businesses running Server 2003 are sitting ducks without protection from future attacks, and cybercriminals know it. Microsoft will no longer provide security patches or critical fixes. There is no doubt hackers are already at work preparing attacks.
  Read more...

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W10_Laptop_AUX_Clock-01-500x281

With the Windows 10 update notification looming in the taskbar reminding you that it’s a free upgrade for those who would like it, many are considering taking the plunge and installing Microsoft’s latest offering. The question is, should you update to Windows 10 now?

The answer is: Not yet.

The latest version of Windows has addressed many of the shortcomings of the previous versions: The difficult to navigate and often cumbersome tile based interface of Windows 8 is gone, and has been replaced by the more familiar start menu and desktop.  Their Edge browser is a welcome upgrade from Internet Explorer. Microsoft is offering this upgrade free (for the first year only) to anyone who currently has a copy of Windows 7 or above, and whose system meets the minimum requirements.

Still, we would recommend waiting out the first few weeks at least before installing Windows 10. The biggest reason being drivers and stability.  Read more...


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used with permission from Microsoft

exposed_server2003_eos_thumbYou built your business with your own hands. Running, and growing, your business often means long days and late nights.

Wouldn’t you do anything to protect it?

Microsoft has announced that on July 14, 2015 support is ending for Windows Server 2003. If your business is running on this legacy server after July 14, 2015, you could be at risk.

Your business and your employees could be affected. If your business-critical applications—such as payroll, accounting, HR, inventory, email and CRM—are running on Windows Server 2003, your business is at risk.

Your customers could be affected. Does your business accept credit cards? You’ll be out of PCI compliance if you are still using Windows Server 2003.

SpireTech can help. We’ll identify the applications and workloads that are effected, make recommendations for the target destination—which could be Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, Cloud OS or Office 365—and then plan and manage your migration.  Read more...

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