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Windows 10 is the next generation of Microsoft’s device OS that adapts to the devices you’re on and what you’re trying to get done, with a consistent, familiar, and compatible experience that enables you to be more productive.

Future Features

Here is a quick introduction to the first highlighted key features of Windows 10 that are included in the released Technical Preview. This is a sneak peak, and not an exhaustive list of final product features. But what might we be looking forward to?

  • Expanded Start Menu: The familiar Start menu is back, providing one-click access to the functions and files that people use most, and includes a new space to personalize with favorite apps, programs, people, and websites.
  • Apps run in a window: Apps from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop programs do. They can be resized and moved around, have title bars at the top allowing for maximizing, minimizing, and closing with a click.

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used with permission by HP Technology at Work

Windows-Server-2012-LogoDo you feel like you spend as much time evaluating new technologies as you do performing your job responsibilities? An over-exaggeration for sure, but carefully choosing network and computing technology obviously helps to determine whether your business operates as efficiently, productively or competitively as possible. That said, what’s the deal with Microsoft® Windows Server 2012?

Introduced last September in Datacenter, Standard, Essentials and Foundation editions—the latter two specifically targeted at small businesses with a maximum of 15 and 25 users, respectively—Windows Server’s sixth release has received mostly favorable reviews for its installation options, user interface, task manager, IP address management and active directory. It’s also received high marks for its inclusion of Microsoft’s newest Hyper-V, resilient file system (ReFS) and Internet Information Services (IIS) 8.0, as well as its overall scalability.

Naysayers lament the elimination of the popular Windows Small Business Server, Windows Home Server and Microsoft Exchange from the new lineup.  Read more...

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I own two tablet devices.  I have had an iPad for years, and a couple of weeks ago I was given a Windows 8 tablet (a Lenovo Thinkpad 2).  I purchased the keyboard dock for the ThinkPad, which also came with a nice optical pointing device that is very similar to the old IBM notebook trackpoint device.

The big difference is that the Windows-based tablet can run Office and Outlook, which are my main applications.  Unfortunately for Microsoft, that’s where the difference ends.

Perhaps a little explanation of Windows 8 is in order: There are two interfaces available – the traditional “desktop” (Windows 7 style) interface, and a new Windows 8 touchscreen interface (previously known as “Metro”).

The touch-style app selection on the Windows tablet is inadequate.  While you can load and run many of the desktop applications you are used to on your windows tablet, there are several apps that I use regularly on my iPad that are simply not available for the Windows tablet.  Read more...

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win8_trimA little over a month ago, my notebook crashed with a corrupted hard drive after an improper shutdown.  I decided to take the plunge and go to Windows 8 instead of re-installing Windows 7 and all of my programs, because I had a good backup of all my data files, but alas – no drive image.

At the same time, I decided to upgrade to an SSD, which increased performance substantially, and breathed some life into my relatively old laptop that is long past its expected usable lifespan of 3 years.

The trick to make Windows 8 behave like Windows 7 is to install the free “Classic Start menu” add-on, which causes Windows 8 to boot into desktop mode and gives me a start menu just like I’m used to.

I had a few issues with AutoCAD and graphics drivers for my ancient video card, which I was able to obtain drivers for.  I had an issue installing AutoDesk Inventor, which I was able to fix by logging on as a local system administrator (rather than a domain admin with cached credentials).  Read more...

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MSFT_logo_Web_smallThe release of Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8, does not appear to be going very well. Recent studies show that its sluggish adoption by PC users is making it less popular than Vista at the same point in time after its release. Arguably, there are quite a few economic factors that may be at play, but it’s hard to imagine that customers can’t find a reason to buy as Apple still manages to sell out their gadgets over the holidays. Windows 7 adoption, on the other hand seems to still be on the upswing. Users have found enough confidence in Windows 7 to convert old XP machines as evidenced by data taken by Net Applications – the decline of XP use appears to correlate with the increase in Windows 7 use.

Net Applications monitors websites for thousands of multinational businesses; data collected by them is largely considered a staple source for calculating market share.

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Microsoft is getting ready to finally pull the plug Windows XP permanently.  XP came out eleven years ago on October 25th, 2001. After years of success, on April 8th, 2014, support for the operating system will cease.

It has been a longer road than it was intended to be. Pushback from users that didn’t want to upgrade was so strong that in 2010 Microsoft extended the duration of downgrade rights (the ability to apply a current license to a previous version) from the standard 18 months to the full life-cycle of Windows 7. The dated operating system is so beloved (or perhaps, entrenched) that Windows 7 has only managed to overcome Windows XP in market share this past August.

If you have Windows XP deployed in your environment, this should be a warning to make upgrade plans now. The time from start to finish, planning through approval to deployment, can be months apart, especially for large environments.

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Just want to keep you all up to date on our progress with Server 2012 testing: We’ve acquired some more hardware to continue our evaluation of Server 2012. Our lab environment includes two servers connected to a shared external SAS drive array, which allows for expansion of disk storage and server failover.  Each server runs Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition, and shares the disks in a pool between the servers.

One of the most exciting features promised by Server 2012 is automatic server failover of virtual machine (Hyper-V) servers.  We’ll get to that in a future edition, but for now our evaluation has focused on the storage layer.

One of the most exciting things about Server 2012 is Storage Spaces. This new feature adds a lot of function to how the operating system can interact with and manipulate storage. It adds a virtual layer to provide high availability and clustering features with fewer hardware requirements.  Read more...

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For a long time only third party software existed to connect two networks via an encrypted connection (called Virtual Private Networking, or VPN). Microsoft introduced a built-in version of this technology into Windows Server, and its use became widespread.

This functionality is incorporated into many office networks to allow remote users to get access to the office while at home or on the road. Security researchers at the Black Hat computer security convention recently released information that Microsoft’s VPN was old, outdated and needed to go for the sake of people who think they are secure. CloudCracker released a blog detailing, step by step, the authentication process and how it could be compromised. They also released tools on the internet to allow users to crack captured VPN authentication data in under 20 hours. This affects us and our clients quite a bit. We’ve already begun working out plans to rethink who needs VPN access, and how we deploy it.  Read more...

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Microsoft has released a taste of its new operating system, Windows 8, to the general public. After an earlier preview only available to the developer community, and a new logo face lift, the consumer preview is available for download. A lot of additions are available with this new version. One feature getting a lot of buzz is built-in cloud storage with Microsoft’s Skydrive to be able to access pictures and documents from anywhere. The ability to make some files public or private will appeal to home and office users, alike.

The star of the show is the new “Metro” interface that Microsoft has a lot riding on. Metro, an interface more akin to the style of Windows Mobile and is more suited for tablets, is the keystone for the success of Windows 8. Microsoft is adding it’s own Windows Store to the new OS to compete with iTunes and Google’s mobile app storefronts, and will be the only method of adding new application icons to the interface.  Read more...

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Microsoft is getting ready to unveil their new operating system, Windows 8, to the beta community. There has already been a lot of controversy surrounding the direction they are taking. Users that have seen the results of Microsoft’s labor are wondering what happened to their desktop. The interface has several options, the “Metro” look of brightly colored tiles used by their phone OS, or the classic windows 7 look.

Microsoft hasn’t done very well in the mobile computing market. This aesthetic choice is definitely a move to pick up some attention among tablet users as other companies, like Apple and Google, have left everyone behind in almost cartoonist fashion. While some are frustrated with this new interface, others are happy to see a lot of the usual desktop clutter gone. The most difficult change for either camp will be the lack of the iconic “Start” button that became the springboard for most users since Windows 95. Though Windows 7 did a lot to win back the trust lost over Vista’s pitfalls, the tech community is still a little gun shy.  Read more...

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