Posts Tagged: ‘Microsoft’

Danger Ahead If You Are Still Using Microsoft Server 2003!

upgradeOn July 14, 2015, Microsoft ended support for their popular Server 2003 product range. The original Server 2003, the Small Business Server and updated Windows Server 2003 R2 are included in this end of support process. These Microsoft products support file and printer sharing, centralized desktop application deployment and secure Internet connectivity. Each of these products were aimed towards the small to medium-sized businesses.

Since Microsoft ended its support for Server 2003, they will no longer provide software patches or issue security updates. This is the case for any version of Server 2003. Continued use of Server 2003 constitutes operating your business on a dangerously outdated piece of equipment. It is no longer serviced and the manufacturer no longer provides parts for this product. You are putting yourself and your business in jeopardy if you continue to use this product and the risks will only escalate over time.

Why Would Anyone Continue to Use Server 2003?

Do you understand the risks of continuing to use Server 2003? Geeks On Call encourages you should take this situation seriously or your business could be negatively impacted resulting in significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Server 2003 migration plan.

  • Compliance Issues: Continuing to use a non-supported software can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications. Your business can be seriously impacted via public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its computer systems. This situation places customer information at risk and creates compliance problems for your business. This is turn will lead to legal issues that can seriously damage your business’ reputation. Is it worth it?
  • Security Risks: Security threats to your business should be one of your biggest concerns. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, both your personal and business data is vulnerable to spyware and harmful viruses. It’s very likely that malicious viruses will be unleashed when Server 2003 is no longer supported by Microsoft.
  • Upgrade Expenses: Everyone worries about costs and expenses. If you think an upgrade will be too expensive, then we suggest you think again. Most likely, the upgrade will cost less than the problems that will arise if you don’t upgrade.

What Are The Alternatives to Server 2003?

  • Office 365 –Microsoft offers a cloud hosted version of much of the server software product. Additionally, it can function with the full range of Office software that includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Email Outlook. Plus, if you subscribe via a monthly service structure you can avoid purchasing new hardware and also minimize on site running costs. These costs include rent, security, electricity and air conditioning.  A smooth migration to Office 365 requires professional technical management and ongoing administration, but IT support can more easily be outsourced.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 – Windows Server 2012 R2 delivers a long list of improvements compared to Windows Server 2003. It’s a steep learning curve to move directly from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2. Users are advised not to make an interim upgrade to Windows Server 2008. Back in January 2015, that product was also removed from mainstream support. That isn’t a solution.
  • Microsoft Azure –Microsoft developed Azure for IT integrators to host their server infrastructure centrally and control locally. Then software applications can be deployed and more easily managed on an individual basis.

Geeks On Call advises you to take this situation very seriously. If you need help developing a migration plan, Geeks On Call’s technology professionals are here to help.

Are You Ready for Windows 10?

Posting Date: 07/21/2015  |   Filed Under: Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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Microsoft will be releasing their newest Operating System on July 29, 2015. Perhaps you have noticed a Windows 10 notification on your current system and wondered about it? Now what? What does it all mean and what should you do?

Microsoft announced that computers running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 after July 29. This upgrade is free, plus the offer is available over the next 12 months.  Users who are eligible will receive a system icon and popup on their screens.

Microsoft is moving to a “Windows as a Service” model with this latest release. This means that your new operating system will be updated regularly, plus you will never need to go through another major upgrade like this again. Windows 10 will be Microsoft’s last Operating System although this OS will continue to be upgraded and development will be ongoing.

Windows 10 Arrives on July 29, 2015

Immediately after July 29, 2015, users will receive notification regarding eligibility for the upgrade. However, the real question is should you upgrade? Many industry experts are very confident about the stability of Microsoft’s new operating system. Through Microsoft’s Windows Insider program, end-user testing has been unprecedented.  Feedback from a significant number of these professionals has already gone into the development of this product. With that said, none of this guarantees that your upgrade will go smoothly. Remember, all software upgrades come with a degree of risk.

Suggestions Regarding Windows 10

Our general recommendation is to initially hold off on this upgrade. We suggest that users wait to upgrade until there is a sufficient number of worldwide users testing the new OS. This is a sensible precaution so that any bugs that slipped through testing will be addressed.  There will be a consensus on performance after a few weeks of the initial upgrades. Remember, there’s no rush because the free upgrade offer will be available through July 29, 2016. Some of your applications or peripherals may not work properly with this upgrade. Software and drivers will need to be updated by many manufacturers to ensure their products are compatible with the new OS. For example, QuickBooks has been identified as a potential problem as Intuit does not have Windows 10 on their list of supported Operating Systems.

Windows 10 is also introducing an entirely new browser called Microsoft Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer.  This promises some challenges and compatibility issues with the web based applications you are already using. This is another reason to wait it out for several months before upgrading to the new OS.

Should You Upgrade to Windows 10 – Now or Later?

Windows 10 is considered to be a blend of the best of Windows 7’s look and the enhanced applications with the multi-device functionality from Windows 8.1.  Consider the following reasons for waiting to upgrade:

Better Performance:  Decidedly faster boot-up time while also offers better hardware acceleration. Plus a host of other tweaks means that the general navigation feels faster. Mobile device battery life lasts longer because the power management has also been improved.

File Management: Some of the most commonly used tools are utilized in finding and managing your files. Efficient file management is fundamental to any good operating system. A new Share ribbon now makes it much easier to move files between different apps. Tasks such as copying and moving are grouped into one window for easier file management. Transfer speed is shown in real time plus operations can also be paused, where previously they could only be cancelled.

Search Features:  Windows 10 greatly enhances Windows 7 search features. Useful search functions quickly look for matching programs and documents as you type. It also provides quick access to core features and chosen programs. It’s both effective and simple. Users can click on a search box that also separately displays Windows Store apps and a web search. Results are now presented in a more organized manner.

Sleek Design: If you were reluctant to move to Windows 8.1 because you didn’t like its look, then you may be very happy with the update. Windows 10 delivers flat windows and bold colors, but retains the old comfort of the Control Panel and Computer Management interfaces that still uses the old icons

Touchscreens and Tablets: Windows 10 really is a vast improvement over Windows 7, and this is especially true for operations on touchscreen devices. Windows 10 works smoothly across a range of devices, making it much easier to switch between a desktop, hybrid laptop and a tablet.

Cost: We don’t know the cost of a standalone copy of Windows 10, but the big news is that it is free when you upgrade from either Windows 8 or 7 during the first year of Windows 10’s availability. Remember, if you decide that Windows 10 really isn’t a good fit for you, you can always return to your previous version of Windows.

Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and request a consultation to evaluate your specific situation and how this upgrade will affect you.