Windows XP and Office 2003 support is ending!

Windows XP and Office 2003 support is ending
Microsoft XP – Going, going, gone!

From 8th April Microsoft will no longer support the Windows XP operating system and we suggest anyone still running XP on their PC or laptop should upgrade now.

What does “end of support” mean?

Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for XP. There will be no more “Microsoft updates” and if you run into a technical issue then Microsoft will not help your IT provider or support desk to solve the problem.

Why the urgency to upgrade?

Microsoft is continually updating your XP software with security patches to block vulnerabilities exploited by hackers and script-kiddies. However, after April 8 Microsoft will no longer provide these updates which means every day that passes by your system will become more exposed to Internet nasties.

What are the other implications of sticking with XP?

Apart from the increasing vulnerability of your computer to security threats, some of the other implications include:

  • Support ends for compatible software products – You will find that other software, such as your antivirus product, might no longer be supported or updated.
  • As a side note, support for Microsoft Office 2003 also ends on April 8.
  • You may face compliancy issues – Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements.

Which Windows operating system should you upgrade to?

The two popular choices are Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. You should upgrade to Windows 7 if you want an interface that looks similar to XP or upgrade to Windows 8.1 if you want the best performance and latest features. Contact us for more details on the differences between the versions.

How do you upgrade?

Upgrading your software is only free if you are subscribed to Microsoft’s Software Assurance program (which incurs an annual fee). For most businesses you will need to purchase the Upgrade license version and depending on how many PCs you have you might benefit from discounted pricing as part of Microsoft’s Open License program.

To learn more about the end of XP you can visit the Microsoft website or contact us. To review your upgrade options please drop us a line.

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Don’t risk a blackout

Don't risk a blackout

We have all been there. Working hard on your important document and the power goes out. Here are some simple tips to prepare yourself for the next black out:

1. Make sure you are “auto-saving” your work

Programs like Word and Excel will auto-save your work at regular intervals. If the file is really big then this feature can slow down your computer but most of the time it is a very handy way of minimising lost work. Learn about how to set up “auto-save” here. For programs that don’t auto-save you will need to get your fingers used to regularly pressing Ctrl+S (to save your work) and be sure to back up your files often.

2. Laptop batteries come in handy

The battery in your laptop comes in handy during a black-out. You may not be able to access the Internet (if your server or router is off) but at least you can save your work, then keep working offline. Try to remember this next time you are deciding whether to buy a PC or laptop.

3. For your server, PC or network device – invest in a UPS

Think of an Uninterruptible Power Supply (“UPS”) as an external battery for your PC, server, router or switch. With a starting price of around $200 it stays charged when the power is on and it sits between the power point and your computer. The UPS will kick in as soon as the power goes out and like any battery it will eventually run out but the purpose of a UPS is to give you enough time (anywhere from 5 mins to an hour) to save your work and perform a clean shut down of your system. More expensive UPS products will notify you when a blackout occurs and the UPS will shut down your server without you even having to lift a finger – ideal when you are not at work.

4. Power surges and brown-outs can be worse than black-outs!

Power surges and brown-outs (aka power fades) occur every day and you don’t even realise it. Over a period of time these regular occurrences will damage your computer and you might need a replacement power supply or other internal hardware (hopefully not the hard disk). Many UPS devices will stop this from happening by regulating the power and protecting your computers. A UPS that provides decent battery life and regulates voltage will set you back closer to $500.

We recommend APC UPS devices for their reputation as being a very reliable product. Please contact us for more information.

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