What is Windows 11?
Microsoft regularly updates their operating system and Windows 11 is their latest offering. Windows 10 was released in July 2015, and before that, we saw Windows 8 and 7, etc. As technology and requirements evolve as does the need for the operating system for your PCs and laptops. Windows 11 is the first version released whereby a new license is not required, it is a free update to your existing version. A bit like Apple and Android phones regularly sending updates to your devices that improve the functionality and security of the operating system.
Is Windows 10 redundant and should I update straightaway?
The simple answer is NO. Windows 10 will continue to be supported by Microsoft until 2025. Allowing a 4-year crossover between Windows 10 and Windows 11. This means that support and security updates will be rolled out to users as normal for this period. Windows 10 is not redundant and can continue to be used without any disruption until such time your organisation decides the time is right to update. As the saying goes if it’s not broken – don’t fix it!
Audit of Existing software and hardware?
Within your business, you are likely to use several third-party software packages, such as accounting packages, CRM’s, auditing, procurement, and monitoring programs. It is important to understand how each of these interacts with the operating system, Windows 11. Just because Microsoft has released Windows 11 and carried out internal extensive testing, it does not mean that these third-party offerings have had the opportunity to ensure they will continue to work as expected. Code and commands in the programming may need to be amended and changed to suit the requirements of Windows 11, which is likely to be rolled out by third parties in time. Without a full understanding of the packages used and what is required in terms of processing, it could potentially cause a huge issue and remove access to your data.
Similarly, hardware is not automatically going to be compatible, whilst new machines are likely to have the processing power and memory to run Windows 11, it is highly recommended that each individual machine including printers, scanners, and copiers are audited to ensure they will continue to work as expected. As Windows 10 is supported for a further 4-years, we can identify which machines will operate as normal and which ones may need to be updated over this period. For example, if you have a laptop that is 3 years old but not compatible, it makes sense to wait until the end of its life before purchasing a new one, rather than simply upgrading the laptop now, when Windows 10 will still work.
What can happen if updated without support from MPR IT
Updating to Windows 11, without a full audit of your software and hardware, could potentially become costly. Not only because you will find that some devices and software packages will not work immediately, but also because you may not be able to operate as normal and your employees may struggle to complete tasks. This can affect your business in the long term, with orders not being processed in time and customers looking elsewhere, whilst the issue is fixed.
With a varying speed on the update to Windows 11, planning the rollout across your business is important to minimalise downtime during the update. This will avoid all devices being updated at once and having no employees able to carry out any business tasks.
Planned update with support from MPR IT
Our team has the experience and knowledge to understand the requirements of devices and software packages, to identify what can and more importantly, cannot be updated to Windows 11. Liaising with you, we can strategically plan the project to ensure minimum downtime for each device, user, department, and company as a whole. The project can be planned to allow for any future upgrades of devices over the next 4 years, to ensure minimum outlay is required. Historically, with the update to Windows 10, we had the experience of businesses updating to the new operating system without expert assistance, causing work to stop as devices and some software programs were incompatible. This meant that in addition to new devices needing to be purchased and installed, the day-to-day business could not continue. Not to mention the cost of calling in expert advice without an agreed SLA.
MPR Testing Windows 11
MPR IT Solutions are currently carrying out internal testing of the new operating system and its compatibility with our own third-party software packages, such as antivirus, monitoring, CRM, and Accounts application. This will ensure that when we make the right decision to upgrade all our own devices, we can continue to support our clients.
As part of this testing, we have identified that in terms of general use Windows 11 does have some different functionalities compared to Windows 10, which once used for a little while, the end-user can adjust quite easily. Right-hand click menus on your mouse have changed and you are now shown icons as opposed to words for actions, such as copy and paste. Overall the general feel for the operating system is very simple to use.
We have also identified that the incorporated Microsoft Teams will only link to a personal account and not a business or educational account. This is likely to cause initial confusion, as you will not be able to log in to your work Teams account, without some minor alterations made by one of our engineers in the setup.
Moving forward, it is expected that as with any operating system, Windows 11 will be regularly updated for security patches and functionality. This is not unusual and will have minimum effect on the day-to-day running.
Contact us for further information
To discuss arranging an audit of your network for compatibility to Windows 11, and an agreed project plan to update your systems please contact our Sales & Account Management Team on 0800 030 20 30 or via email email@example.comRead more
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com or call 0800 030 20 30.Read more
Covid-19 has fast become the hot topic in the media and conversations around the world. Whilst there is still much uncertainty as to how it will affect us as individuals and businesses, it is not something to completely dismiss.
The spread of Covid-19 is likely to increase over the coming weeks. With schools and businesses expected to be affected, be it due to members of staff/pupils becoming unwell or simply due to an external connection to someone that is affected.
This morning (Tuesday 3rd March 2020), Downing Street released a statement detailing various plans for the worst case scenario. Including a prediction that up to a fifth of the UK workforce potentially being unable to work due to Covid-19.
Disaster Management plans have traditionally been put in place for the scenarios where offices are inaccessible. With consideration made due to fire, flood or bad weather. It is unlikely that the current situation of a global contagion has been taken into consideration. Now is the time to consider and review your disaster management plan.
Catch it, Kill it, Bin it!
This phrase, and the recommendation of regular hand washing is promoted widely. Here at MPR IT, we are ensuring that this message is clear to all our staff members, whether they are office based or engineers visiting clients offices. We have also instructed all team members that should they be concerned they may have come into contact with someone suffering with Coronavirus symptoms, they should inform management and seek medical advise whilst self isolating.
Flexible Home Working
In line with the Disaster Management Plan already in place for MPR IT, all staff members have the ability to work from home and continue to support our clients with no loss of service. This is part of a plan that has been in place for many years. The main purpose of this plan is to ensure that our business can continue no matter what.
Office 365 and Cloud Computing
Software packages such as Office 365, and cloud based CRM’s are becoming more common place. Giving access to email and Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Teams, from any location with Internet connectivity. Giving the ability to create and share documents with chosen individuals.
Along with access to documents and files, it is also vital for your business phone lines to be managed. With Hosted Telephone Systems your customers are still able to contact you. Without even having to know you are not physically in the office.
With a range of options and packages to suit businesses of all sizes, we strongly recommend that if you wish to consider the options available to your business, now is the time to contact and discuss with our team on 0800 030 20 30.Read more
Microsoft will be ending support and updates for two of their platforms in 2020. If you are currently using either Office 2010 or Windows 7, it is important to consider your options now.
Microsoft have recently announced that support for Office 2010 will be ending on 13th October 2020. This means that from this date there will be no further extension of updates on this package.
Whilst Office 2010 will still continue to function it does mean that you will be at risk of potentially harmful and serious security risks. We recommend that you look to upgrading to Microsoft Office 365 as a replacement.
MPR IT Solutions are an official Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner and Small Business Specialist. This means we are trained in a number of Microsoft Competencies that directly relate to implementing, migrating and configuring your Office 365 solution. We have vast experience in migrating businesses over to Office 365 and ensure minimal disruption to your daily tasks.
Secondly support will be ending on 14 January 2020 for the operating system Windows 7. Available since 2009, there have been a number of updates since the launch, with the current recommended version Windows 10 now on the market. Please see our earlier blog explaining this.
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.
For more information and to discuss your options to upgrade either of these Microsoft products please contact our team on 0800 030 20 30 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more
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.
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
Microsoft have previously only had apps on Apple ipad and iphone, however they have now launched apps for the Android market. This OWA app means that Android owners can now also take full advantage of the features available and gain access to new exchange features including those announced at a recent conference. For those that don’t know OWA allows access to email, calendars and contact features within Office 365, smoothly synced together.
Many emails are now viewed initially on the phone, with many people on the go, it is therefore of great importance to businesses to ensure that their employees can be kept up to date.
Microsoft first launched this app on the ipad and iphone last year, and this is the next step in the world of communication. All users can now benefit from the close links to Office 365 to view word, excel or power point documents on their phone or tablet, these can also be edited without the need to log on to a PC/laptop. The perfect tool for the busy employee who spends a lot of time on the road or running to meetings. Whilst you need separate apps to Word, Excel and Powerpoint you can easily view a document that has been shared with you via email.
With any Microsoft you can expect new features and regular updates. One of the new features on the OWA app is codenamed clutter, which promises to separate important emails from junk that often fills your inbox. This is not to be confused with junk mail. The average employee will also get emails from friends and family or relating to a personal matter, these will be identified and separated out from business emails, allowing important emails not to be missed. Who likes to open an email inbox with 200 emails when actually only 50 need to be read and dealt with prior to checking out your mums photos! This is likely to be renamed at the time of launch however you get the idea. Several other features are due to be launched in due course and we will keep you updated as they are announced.
Microsoft are clearly listening to the business world and working hard to produce tools to make the work day less stressful, however it does mean that you can’t run and hide away as you can now no longer say sorry I have been in meetings all day and not seen the finance report.
If you are interested to find out how Office 365 can benefit your business please contact us for a free consultation.Read more