Windows 10 – Need to know

Windows 10 – Need to know

News Windows

It looks like Microsoft has a winner on its hands with Windows 10. Over 75 million computers have already been upgraded. Not only will it be replacing the operating system on your personal computer but businesses are likely to pull the trigger and upgrade from the good ol’ Windows 7. Let’s take a look at its most important features:

It’s a FREE Upgrade (with a small catch)

Microsoft wants everyone to install Windows 10. To help this along it will be a free upgrade for a year (until of July 2016) for all Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 computers. The upgrade will come via a Windows update. You will see a small white Windows icon in the lower right taskbar (near the clock). Just click on it to register (takes under a minute) for the upgrade (downloaded in the background). You will need 3GB of free space on your system.

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The Start Menu and Desktop are back. 

Windows 10 automatically switches from desktop mode to tablet mode depending on if a keyboard is attached to your device. An updated start menu will now be shown instead of the Metro tiles in Windows 8. This is really an improvement that all desktop users were asking for.

Virtual Desktops.

Current desktop cluttered with icons? No worries, you can now have multiple desktops (e.g.one for business apps and one home).

multiple-desktops

Goodbye to Internet Explorer.

Microsoft new web browser is called ‘Microsoft Edge’. It has many modern features found in other browsers such as Chrome or Firefox. Internet Explorer will still be around if you need it though (but you might need to dig around to find it).

New Personal Assistant.

Microsoft’s Cortana integrates right into Windows 10. It (She?) lives on the taskbar and will help with all your search needs. Think Google Now or Siri but integrated and personalized. Go to a restaurant’s web page and Cortana will show the menu. You can even say “Tell me a joke”.

This is the last “version” of Windows.

Going forward Windows will receive rolling updates as fixes and new features are added. No more service packs. This is basically the same model as Apple.

The above items are some of the biggest updates in Windows 10. There are others welcome features such as being able to log in via your face (Biometrics), full integration with OneDrive (cloud storage), Universal Apps, Xbox streaming, and a few others.

If you or your business has any questions about Windows 10 or need some assistance with planning and implementing a smooth rollout, please give us a ring.

-Tim

Top 10 To Do List for 2014

Top 10 To Do List for 2014

Uncategorized

Everyone loves a Top Ten list so we though we would join the bandwagon. Below you will find a list of things to do as we start the new year. These items will secure you from hackers, speed up your systems, and make your IT life just a little better.

1. Get Rid of Windows XP..Right Now..Seriously..We’re Not Joking.

If you have seen our past articles you know that after April Microsoft will no longer release any security fixes for XP (end of support). The bad guys are stockpiling exploits to unleash once support ends. Bottom line,If you have a button that says START in the lower left of your screen you will probably be hacked.

2. Switch from the Big Blue ‘E’.

Do you use Internet Explorer to browse the web? If so, stop doing it. Switch to alternative browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox. You will be more secure, have faster response times, and be able to use extended features. If you use Chrome for example you can sync your browsing data, bookmarks, etc. with any other device that uses Chrome (smart phones, tablets, etc.).

3. Drink some coffee but ditch Java.

HTML5 is now the standard and most websites don’t use Java anymore. It is full of security holes and has many other issues. Removing Java may cut your risk of malware infection by more than 50%. Click here for removal instructions. Make sure you remove all versions.

4. Upgrade to the latest Adobe Reader.

Adobe reader allows the viewing of PDF files but it is also one of the top 3 programs exploited by malware. Keeping it up to date is key. Luckily the latest versions do this automatically for you.Click here to install the latest version. NOTE: Uncheck the installation of McAffee before clicking install now.

5. Test your backup solution before the disaster.

Your files are backed up and secure right? Are you sure? When is the last time you did a test restore? We didn’t think so. Take 5 minutes out of your day to restore some business critical files from your backup solution (tape, disk, cloud) just to make sure your data is really being backed up. Wireguided does offer a business grade cloud backup solution if you are still backing up to tape or a USB drive stuck under your bed.

6. Test your UPS (battery backup). Don’t have one, buy one.

The batteries on a UPS die just like any other battery. Most have a simple button you can press to test it. Press the button and if it beeps you should be good. Other models may have a red light when it is time to replace. Winter storms mean power outages. Power outages mean crashed computers.

7. Switch to laser printing and save money.

Did that $70 inkjet printer just cost you over $300 in toner? Laser printers can now be purchased for under $200. The toner lasts much longer, the printers are built better, and the paper will not smear. There is really no use for an inkjet anymore unless you have extra money to burn.

8. Change your passwords the right way.

How many passwords do you have? 3,4,5,10? The more passwords you have the more insecure they are. A simple way to manage your passwords is to have three levels. One for web sites that are looking for an account but have no personal information (e.g., news websites, games, etc.). One for social media sites and sites you order items from (e.g., Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). And the most secure for banking and other sites with personal information. To make a secure password that is easy to remember make sure it is at least 8 characters long. Think of a phrase and pick the first letter of each word. Add a number at the end or in between the letters and there you go. Add a special character and you have a secure password you can remember. Or you can just go here.

9. Clean up the junk in two clicks.

If you have a PC go and download the free version of CCleaner and run it. If your machine is over a year old you should see improved performance. You may also want to go to your installed programs, sort by installation date, and remove items that are no longer needed or installed without your knowledge.

10. Shutdown your computer when not using it. A reboot couldn’t hurt either.

Many people never shutdown or reboot their computers. We have seen users keep machines on for months. This is bad for many reasons such as wear and tear on the machine (fans do not like spinning non-stop) and power cost (a high end machine on non-stop can cost as much as $600/year). The top reason from an end user point of view would be that shutting down and rebooting a machine cleans it up and helps keep things stable. Think of how you are when you get no sleep. Now look at your machine  you have kept on for months and wonder no more why it is acting strange.

Conclusion

We could have added many more but these should be a good start. Follow these steps,make sure your antivirus is up-to-date, don’t click on zip attachments from ‘UPS’ or the ‘IRS’ and your 2014 should be a happy one. Please feel free to share this article.

-Tim

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Wireguided 2.0 is Here!

Wireguided 2.0 is Here!

Cloud News

[slogan]After 12 years in business it was time for an upgrade. We have put into place improvements in every area of our business to make sure we continue to provide the best IT services for our partners.[/slogan]

Billing Improvements

    Invoices will now be sent monthly – You spoke, we listened. Invoices for managed services will be switched from quarterly to monthly starting with your next invoice.

    We now accept credit cards You can now pay for anything via credit card. There is no difference in price and a portion of the fees we pay go to support the Disabled American Veterans. Optional auto-payment is available to make remittance even easier for our managed service clients.

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►    Online invoices We recently switched to a much improved accounting system so you may now view the status of all your invoices online.

Cloud Upgrades  

►    New cloud services We are now able to offer industry leading cloud based anti-virus from Symantec and phone service from Nextiva.

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Symantec Cloud Antivirus Console

    No more long term contracts for cloud services – We successfully renegotiated new terms with our cloud partners (e.g. online backups). After the end of your current cloud service contract it will automatically be switched to month-to-month. Auto payment by credit card will be required.

    We are in the cloud– All our internal services are now cloud based to improve our ability to communicate with you no matter what. We no longer fear Nor’easters.

Management Enhancements

    Improved executive report – Our newly designed executive report (which will be arriving shortly) now includes updated recommendations based on the latest version of our 150 point best practices infrastructure audit.

IR Sample
New Executive Report Sample

►    Upgraded Desktop Support We have migrated to a greatly enhanced remote desktop support system. Improvements include support for Macs, fully encrypted connections, chat function, whiteboard, user notification, faster response times and the ability to access any Internet connected system.  We can even turn on computers (if supported).

    Faster Proactive Maintenance With our improved system tools we are rolling out faster software updates then ever before with less user interruption. In fact, we just upgraded three critical applications for all our clients in just two days and nobody noticed a thing.

►    Enhanced System Management – With our upgraded software we can better manage your infrastructure. Improvements include faster software updates, better cloud service integration and the ability to monitor the health of systems outside the office (laptops & home based systems).

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Management Console Sample
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