Microsoft announced in March 2015, it’s plans to drop to Internet Explorer. The next major update would be re-branded and re-named as Microsoft Edge.
In the 1990’s Internet Explorer was the essential tool for accessing the internet, but later faced a battle with Firefox and Google, which is now probably the most widely used option.
Internet Explorer 10 along with previous versions have not been supported since 2016, with no new further updates. Whilst Internet Explorer 11 continues with security, compatibility and technical support for Windows, 7,8 and 10. See here for information on the end of life for Windows 7 in October 2020. https://www.mpr-it.co.uk/microsoft-support-ending/
Microsoft is now actively encouraging users to upgrade to Edge, ahead of support ending 17 August 2021.
Most importantly the Microsoft Teams web app WILL NOT be supported on Internet Explorer from November 2020. With over 75 million people currently using Microsoft Teams – now is the time to upgrade your browser.
All remaining Office 365 apps will continue to be supported by Internet Explorer until the service ends in the Summer of 2021.
Failure to update to Microsoft Edge ahead of these timescales may result in non-connectivity, along with increased security threats and no on-going support from Microsoft.
Microsoft Edge is very easy to update, depending on your organisation’s administration settings. Most users will simply be able to download the file and install. However, if you experience any issues MPR IT Support Helpdesk are available to assist our customers. Email the team on email@example.com with a brief description of your requirements and a ticket will be automatically logged for you.
Benefits of Microsoft Edge include:
- Faster Browsing
- Extended Battery Life
- Additional Security Protection
- More control over your personal data
See the Microsoft service page here for full details: https://microsoftedgewelcome.microsoft.com/en-gb/
To contact MPR IT Solutions for support on this please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 030 20 30.Read more
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 was the fifth version of the Windows Server operating system. Released to market in September 2012, and shortly followed by it’s successor Windows Server 2012 R2, in October 2013.
All Microsoft products and packages follow a fixed lifecycle policy. At the end of life Microsoft will no longer provide support or security updates for their products. These dates tend to be pre-determined from the day of launch, clearly setting out expectations from the start.
Mainstream support on Windows Server 2012 ended in October 2018, with extended support available until January 2023, however Microsoft has since extended this until October 2023.
|Type of Support||Mainstream||Extended||Beyond|
|Request to change design||Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Security Updates||Available||Available||Not Available|
|Non Security Updates||Available||Available||Not Available|
|Self Help Support||Available||Available||Available|
For full details on the different levels of support please see Microsoft here.
What this means for your Windows 2012 Server OS
October 2023 seems a long way off, and realistically it is over 2 years until the extended support comes to an end. However there is plenty to consider in looking to upgrade your Windows Server 2012 operating system.
Existing hardware and the compatibility to new operating system
Newer operating systems often require additional memory and processing speed to work effectively. Older servers may not have the capacity to cope with a newer operating system due to the advancement of technology in recent years. Simply installing a new operating system without fully establishing your hardware capability will most likely mean that your existing server and software may not work. This can cause a loss of data and your staff being unable to carry out their tasks.
Existing packages and software compatibility
Most businesses use a variety of software packages from third parties, such as accounting, customer relationship and design software. These third party packages are written to be compatible with the available operating systems at the time of their own launch. By upgrading your existing operating system, it is possible that third party packages will not be compatible to your new operating system. An in-depth review of all the software packages that your organisation will ensure that the correct upgrade is implemented. If they are not carefully considered, the upgrade may mean that your employees are unable to use software that is vital for their role which can be detrimental to your day to day work.
Current and emerging market options
The technology market is constantly evolving, depending on your unique requirements and the packages/software there are a variety of options available when it comes to replacing your server. These include cloud, onsite or hybrid servers. Before any decision should be made on the type of server you need, we strongly recommend an in-depth consultation to evaluate the type of server best suited to your needs.
Finally, and probably one of the most important to consider is the budget. Depending on the type of new server hardware or operating system upgrade this can be a costly project. With forward planning on the upgrades required you can identify the budget and put this in place in advance. It might be that you need to plan the project to take place immediately or in the future. MPR IT Solutions will ensure that following the audit and consultation of your requirements, the costs involved will be clearly explained and set out.
Time scale – don’t leave till last minute
October 2023, is a long way off, however the project to upgrade an operating system or migrating to a new server can be time consuming.
If you are looking to upgrade your server or operating system we strongly advise that you do not delay in considering your options. For more information and to discuss your requirements contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 option 1.Read more
Windows 7 software has been available since 2009, and Microsoft will be ending support for this on 14 January 2020. This means they will no longer provide any updates, patches or general support to the software. Whilst you will be able to continue to use this version of Windows, you will be vulnerable to security risks. With the constant threat of Cybercrime, it is vital that you consider the options available to upgrade to Windows 10.
If you are using Windows 7, either on a personal computer or at your business, now is the time to consider upgrading to Windows 10. However, before you make the move, it is imperative that you consider any 3rd party software programme installed on your pc/laptop and hardware such as printers, scanners etc. as these may not be compatible. You will also need to consider the hardware resources available, as Windows 10 is a powerful operating system and therefore requires a large amount of RAM installed. Our team of experts can audit all of your software packages (e.g Sage) and hardware (e.g RAM, printers and scanners) to ensure these are compatible and where they may not be. To upgrade without taking this into consideration, you may find that it becomes time consuming and more costly to rectify the issues.
Why Upgrade to Windows 10?
Windows 10 was released by Microsoft in July 2015, and is now one of the most common used pieces of software on the market. With many similarities to previous incarnations, it is very user friendly and easy to navigate with a number of enhanced functions.
- Cortana – Windows 10 comes with Cortana, a voice-activated personal assistant. Cortana can set reminders, inform you of the weather, search the internet and much more.
- Live tiles – Customisable, live tiles on Windows 10 allows you to have a personalised experience. Just about anything can become a tile, from websites to apps and the tiles can then be resized and moved around as required.
- Continuum – For a seamless user experience, Continuum lets you carry on working from desktop to tablet and back again. This helps to create a modern, flexible and fluid working style as expected by today’s workforce.
- OneDrive – OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service which is built into Windows 10. It lets you sync files across PCs and OneDrive devices.
- BitLocker – BitLocker helps you keep your files safe while BitLocker Go gives you the same functionality while you’re on the move. It features:
- Sign in with face or fingerprint – a fast, secure way to sign in
- Lost or stolen device – remove confidential business information immediately
- Windows Information Protection – control how employees use business data
- Windows Defender Antivirus – protects you against malware threats
Windows 10 combines the Windows you already know and adds great improvements you’ll love. Technologies like InstantGo1 let you boot up and resume quickly. And Windows 10 has more built-in security features than ever to help protect against malicious software.
Contact our team today on 0800 030 20 30 option 2, or email email@example.com to discuss the requirements for upgrading to Windows 10.
Office 2007 was launched a decade ago, and included the Microsoft products – Excel,Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and One Note. Since its launch there have been significant advancements in connectivity and productivity for many companies. This means that the majority of companies have left Office 2007 behind, and moved to Office 2016 or more likely to Office 365, however there are a few companies still using Office 2007.
Most Microsoft packages are only supported for 10 years and therefore it is the turn of Office 2007, to receive the end of life treatment. Meaning by the end of October 2017 there will be no further:
- Technical support
- Bug fixes for issues identified
- Security fixes for vulnerabilities released
In addition to the end of life support coming to an end, it is important to note Outlook 2007, will no longer connect to Office 365 mailboxes. Therefore users of Outlook 2007 will not be able to receive or send emails.
Microsoft are now urging users of the 2007 version to consider upgrading to the latest offerings. There are a number of advantages to this, not least the fact that support will be ending in a few months time. During 2017, there has been a number of global cyber attacks. People using packages that are no longer supported by Microsoft are at greater risk.
Earlier this year, in an unusual step Microsoft were pressured into releasing a fix for the Wanna Cry virus on Windows 2000. Despite having stopped supporting the package in 2010, they still had a larger number of users, who were subsequently affected by the virus. It is highly unlikely that they will make this move again in the future and are already publicising the end of life for 2007 package, with recommendations to urgently update software. The most popular choice for businesses these days is Office 365. Please see our page on Office 365 for full details on this product.
MPR IT Solutions has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in supporting companies in making the change to Office 365. We have worked with a number of companies to ensure the transition is smooth, & there is minimum disruption to staff. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your options to migrate to Office 365 – whether you are currently using 2007 or another version of the Office Suite.
Wanna Cry Cyber Attack – Over the last couple of years, I have spent several hours if not days reading articles on cyber crime and hacking as part of my role here at MPR IT. If you follow us on social media you will also see how this is a hot topic for us and we quite often post news stories of hacks and how you can protect yourselves, I have also written a few blogs on the subject (all of which can be found on our website). So, the breaking news on Friday and all over the weekend of the hack affecting over 150 countries around the world, with some 200,000 machines affected this wasn’t entirely a shock for me. All too often I see stories of both large corporations and small one person business being hit by hacking or ransomware.
As a company that takes pride in providing the best support and advice to our customers, our priority is prevention rather than cure, although we do unfortunately have experience on the cure as well. Our key guidelines for protecting your systems are pretty simple:
- Ensure you Operating System is the most current and up to date – Microsoft release patches and updates regularly. This particularly virus is targeted towards out of date, older systems. Please ensure your system is fully up to date. If you have any concerns please contact us and we can check this for you.
- Many virus’s are spread through email attachments – NEVER open anything from someone you don’t know or aren’t expecting. If you are unsure about an email or attachment, call MPR IT or the company where the attachment has come from and enquire as to whether it is legitimate.
- Ensure you permanently delete any emails with attachments that you do not need, or where you don’t know the sender.
- Make sure that you have an up to date Anti Virus – MPR IT can check this for you if you are unsure how up to date this is or if you don’t have anti-virus we can provide anti virus software to your company.
- NEVER share passwords with anyone and make sure that passwords you do have are always different. PASSWORD1 is surprisingly still a popular choice – it’s not a good idea as very easy to guess.
- Back up your data daily and store a copy off site securely as well on site. The worst that can happen if data is backed up is that you lose one days’ work, and not everything.
The virus ‘Wanna Cry’ that hit the world on Friday, and spread over the weekend is mainly targeted at Government departments. Where systems are older and the networks are very large, this allows it to spread so quickly, we are therefore not expecting for this to affect many of our customers, however please be assured that our team are prepared and ready to deal with any issues that you may experience.
To our customers with a contract that includes workstation monitoring, we have already rolled out emergency patches to any potentially affected machines. If you do not have a contract that includes workstation monitoring please contact us and we can look to update any patches or we can review your contract to include workstation monitoring should you wish.
Please take this simple advice and pass to your colleagues and get the message out on how to avoid potential cybecrime hacks and viruses. Hopefully one day soon I won’t be spending so much of my time reading articles on cybercrime.Read more
by Nicki Dowsett in Mac OS X 10.11
Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan
A new version of the operating system for the Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan was launched at the end of September however the new update causes Microsoft to crash and as yet there is no time frame for a fix.
A thread on the Office for Mac Support forum and also reviews from experts has revealed a mass of problems surrounding Outlook, Excel and Word. Though Outlook appears to be causing the main issues. Some apps will crash whilst in use and others will be affected as they are coming out of sleep. As soon as one crashes the others follow suit. Some reports are that it only occurs when 2 or more Office 2016 apps are run simultaneously. Any Office 2016 apps that you utilise for your day to day tasks will be affected by this and we therefore strongly recommend that if you run Mac systems do not upgrade at present. It would appear from reviews this was possibly a known issue during the beta testing of the OS back in July.
Within the forum there is a suggestion from Microsoft Program Management to update a newer release, which will apparently attempt alleviate some of the issues, however not entirely, to ensure you can work effectively please contact our Helpdesk if you are experiencing problems. We have 3 potential options for a work around until the new update is released.
– You can use the OWA or MacMail email for the time being until a fix is released.
– Depending on your Office 365/Microsoft subscription you may be able to use Office online
– Alternatively we can roll back your operating systems to your previous version
If you have already encountered this issue please contact us to discuss how best to work around this issue until an update is released to fully rectify the issues.
As yet Apple have not suggested any kind of time frame to issue a fix for OS X 10.11 and other than constantly re-booting your Mac and waiting for it happen again. This is obviously extremely irritating and frustrating when you are trying to work to a deadline.
Having reviewed the Mac forum there are also a number of concerns regarding the update and the length of time it takes to install as well as the actual performance of the OS X 10.11. With any upgrade of OS system be it Mac or Windows there are always teething problems with compatibility of existing 3rd party systems and hardware. It appears this is no exception.
Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns on this issue.
You may have seen our recent blog about Microsoft Lync changing to Skype for business. This was effectively a re-branding of the current service offered for instant messaging and video calling for the office. At the time it was said there would be further updates.
Skype has recently announced the next phase of the re-branding, and these programs look to be promising tools for businesses. With three new programs currently being launched for Technical previews from the 1st of July. These programs will be part of the suite of Office 365 apps and will require users to use Office 365.
The first and probably the most effective will be Skype Meeting Broadcast, this will work as a similar product to GoTo Meeting. This program will allow users to hold meetings with up to 10,000 people in a browser. This will be beneficial for companies that want to hold a company meeting or Town Hall Meeting, without the hassle of travel for all staff members and finding the space big enough to hold everyone. Saving a business time and money. It will also allow businesses to hold Webinars with clients on a large scale, so not just viable for internal contacts but also external.
The second is Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN Conferencing. This function allows for users of Skype for Business to hold a meeting within Office 365 via land line or mobile. A great additional tool to the Skype Meeting Broadcast for anyone not able to connect via a browser. This is currently only being previewed in the US but should be available in the UK in the near future. Something for us to look forward to.
The third part of this phase is Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling. This program will allow users to effectively use Skype for Business as a traditional phone system. You will be able to receive and make calls via Skype in the traditional manner and to manage these calls with the option to place calls on hold or transfer to a colleague. This is currently only on preview in the US and will use voice technology of Skype for Business and will run on the Azure OS. They expect this to be available worldwide by the end of 2015. It will require a configuration option to allow users to use existing phone lines to link in with the Azure OS and phone systems so will involve an amount of set up to be operational. However this is an interesting step forward in terms of communication.
At this stage of preview/testing period the trials are only available to selected end users, however it is promising to see a new phase already in the pipeline such a short time after the re-branding of Lync to Skype. Microsoft are clearly planning to move a step ahead in terms of programs and tools to assist businesses work more efficiently with less travel and time spent away from the desk, whilst still having a small personal touch of video conferencing.
Personally for us here at MPR we prefer to meet our clients on a face to face basis as we find this is the best way of keeping in touch with our clients, however there will always be occasions when a simple phone call is not enough and the advantage of the video conferencing will be beneficial with clients that can’t get away to meet us. Additionally the instant messaging feature is great to ask a quick question which may not need a full email or phone call. With Skype for business a video call can allow you to share your screen and present documents, this is a great tool for us when offering support to our clients.Read more
Windows 10 is the final planned revision
Microsoft have recently announced that the well-known Windows operating system will have no further major revisions after version 10. Rather than any major new changes Microsoft will continue to provide updates in an “on-going manner”.
In a statement at conference in Chicago a Microsoft development executive stated that “Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an on-going manner” adding that they expected a long future for Windows. They will not be launching a Windows 11 at any time in the future and as yet have no name for this platform. They have deliberately avoided the name Windows 9 and jumped straight to Windows 10 as a way to emphasis the break in successive stand-alone versions of the OS. They have however admitted that working in this way has caused concern and issues for its customers.
Following the tradition of launching a new system every 3 years when the developers would sit down and create a whole new OS based on what was current at the time and quite possibly out of date of the customer needs by the time it was launched they feel this a better way to move forward, by constantly updating the existing OS it will break this cycle. Giving Microsoft the opportunity to tinker and amend the software to test new features and gauge the reaction of the customers.
In the statement Microsoft spoke of how this is a positive step but do admit this is not without risk. Whilst Windows will not be hugely revised this will continue to provide updates and new features it will improve the way in which they can continue to provide support.
Windows are currently offering a ‘Free Windows upgrade’ to some customers, and whilst it may appear good in principal, combining the best of Windows 8, similar in layout to Windows 7, it aims to work across all platforms – PC and tablet. However it is not as good as it sounds. Microsoft are offering this ‘Free’ upgrade to existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade within a year of its release. Microsoft state that once a qualified device is upgraded to Windows 10, they will continue to keep it updated for the device lifetime, keeping it more secure and introducing more features and functionality for no additional charge. However there are some exclusions more notably Windows Enterprise on version 7/8/8.1, for the average user it does sound to be good to be true. We all know to be wary of anything that sounds to good to be true and here is why!
As the last numbered version of Windows, it is expected it will become a subscription service, so not Free. This is likely to cause upset with many customers having to commit to a paid service in addition to any initial out lay. With a seamless migration to Windows 10 it will be a new beginning and the OS will continue to evolve. With the short time between previous launches it is widely believed that the users may be pushed to pay a subscription in 2-3 years.
Another reason to not take the free upgrade is Nagware, many people in the IT industry are aware to never take the first upgrade to any OS due to bugs, and subsequent following patches. No matter how many times Windows suggest you install the new version of Windows you do not have to install and use straight away. Patch KB3035583 on existing Windows, is officially described as an update to enable additional capabilities when new updates are available to the user. However in reality this Nagware creates 4 folders on Windows 7 and 8 designed to push adverts to the release and urging you to upgrade. This a very strong strategy from Microsoft, this patch has been upgraded as an important update to current OS systems and means it will install automatically, it is believed that Windows 10 users will also see the same treatment when it becomes fully available.
Finally, another and possibly the most costly reason not to take the Free upgrade. A year ago, Microsoft announced the Windows 8.1 update 1 upgrade, and at the same time announced that it will become the new servicing baseline for 8.1, so that the next security update would be dependent of the 8.1 update. This meant that you had only 30 days to complete the updates otherwise your security notifications would cease. It was only a four week notice period, and without the update you could be at risk, eventually Microsoft relented and extended this to 120 days. Meaning you had more time complete the updates however your OS was possibly insecure for 4 months, so you had no option but to complete the update. It is currently unknown if this will be the same situation with Windows 10, however as it has happened before it cannot be guaranteed. Windows 10 is expected to launch in the coming months and they remain very quiet about future pricing and any fine details any future upgrades.
Microsoft may yet surprise many in the IT industry, with its ongoing silence regards to the pricing and fine details, many have reacted to this as a bad thing. Microsoft need to clarify these points and this will encourage users to complete the update. As with any new platform there is always uncertainty and until released there will always be questions and rumours. In the meantime remember nothing in life is free.
For more information on the best platform for your business please contact us for a free consultation on our IT Support in Ashford and Kent.Read more