Windows

Nearly 3 in 10 PCs Still Run Windows XP

By cranbak on April 21, 2014 | Webmaster
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Replace Windows XP for Cheap

Microsoft’s support for Windows XP has officially ended.  Those systems still running XP are vulnerable to hackers accessing data or being turned into a bot-net to spread viruses and malware.  Maintaining an up-to-date anti-virus software isn’t enough to keep a system running XP secure.  It’s time to ditch XP once and for all.  Luckily, there are reasonably-priced options so that you can replace your XP relic without needing a second mortgage.

“Do I have to switch to Windows 8.1?  I hear it’s a big change from XP.”

It’s true that Windows XP users will feel more at home with Windows 7 than with Windows 8 which has some distinct and noticeable differences in appearance and navigation from earlier versions of Windows.  You don’t have to migrate to Windows 8.1 if you’d prefer to stick with a more familiar OS.  New PCs are available from most major retailers with Windows 7, though you won’t have as much selection as if you opt for Windows 8 and Microsoft plans to end support for that OS in 2020.

“Can I upgrade my existing machine to Windows 7?”

The short answer is, probably not.  If your PC came with Windows XP pre-installed, your hardware is likely to be at least 10 years old.  Even if you bought a top-of-the-line machine back then, it’s not going to be worth upgrading compared to buying a new PC.

The system requirements for Windows 7 are listed on Microsoft’s support site.  Compare the specifications listed with those of your PC, which you can find by right-clicking on My Computer and selecting properties. Keep in mind that the requirements listed are the bare minimum for the software to run, but to function moderately well without system crashes you’ll want at least 3GB of RAM (the requirements list 1GB or 2GB depending on your processor type) and 500GB of hardware space (to accommodate the OS as well as your other data and programs).

Spending $100 (or likely more) on the software and more to upgrade hardware isn’t a great investment when antiquated components could conk out at any time.  You can get a basic, low-end new PC for as little as $350 with hardware that will be drastically better than a 10 year old machine.

If you’ve been upgrading your hardware over the years and believe it’s capable of running Windows 7 as-is, your next hurdle will be getting your hands on the software to install Windows 7.  Microsoft is only supplying retailers with Windows 8.1, so you can’t walk into your local office supply store and pick up a Windows 7 upgrade disk.  A computer repair company may be able to get you an OEM version of Windows 7, but since OEM software is intended to be installed on a custom-build machine Microsoft frowns on service providers using it to upgrade.

Installing an OEM product will return your system to “factory-fresh,” meaning no data and no additional programs installed.  Before you install a new OS, you’ll need to do a full backup of your data and track down the installation software (and registration codes, if applicable) for everything you have installed on your machine that you’d like to continue using.

To be fair, this step isn’t much different from migrating your data to a new PC, other than that if you forget to transfer something you’ll still have it on your old PC.  If you backup your files, format your hard drive and install a new OS, there’s no way to go back a retrieve any information you forgot to backup.

“Can I get by for less than $500?”

For the hardware itself, absolutely.  A basic desktop tower running Windows 8.1 with 4GB or more of RAM and a 500GB or larger hard drive can be found for under $400, a laptop with similar specifications will run about $50-$100 more.  While online retailers like Newegg and Dell tend to offer the best prices, budget systems can be found at retailers like Costco or Best Buy.

If you’ll need professional assistance to get your data migrated, programs installed, and the new machine set up on your network, it will set you back more.

“Is there any way to get off the Windows train?”

Absolutely, but it may not be entirely painless.  There are some pretty amazing open-source Operating Systems that are completely free.  One option that basic users may find appealing (due to its polished appearance and compatibility with a large number of programs) is Linux Mint.  If you use your computer primarily to surf the net and update your Facebook status, making the move to Linux could be pretty painless.  With an open-source office product (like OpenOffice), you won’t even miss Word and Excel.

However, if you’re a hard-core Windows user who depends on a variety of Windows software, moving off a Windows platform could be more challenging.  Before you jump in and download Linux, make a list of the programs that you use regularly and determine if they’re compatible with the open-source OS, or if you’d be able to make do with the nearest compatible alternative.

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Replace Windows XP for Cheap


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Andrea Eldridge is CEO of Nerds On Call, which offers onsite computer and laptop repair service for homeowners and small businesses. Based in Redding, Calif., it has locations in five states. Contact Eldridge at www.callnerds.com/andrea.

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By cranbak on April 16, 2014 | Webmaster
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Microsoft Dev Center Open For Universal Windows Apps and Windows Phone 8.1 Apps

“The Windows Phone Dev Center roll-out has begun and you should start seeing updates and new features later today.”

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By cranbak on April 15, 2014 | Webmaster
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PC Numbers Down In First Quarter – Economy, Windows XP Support Blamed For Decline

Fewer PCs were shipped in the first quarter of 2014 when compared to the same period last year but the numbers, though down, are still better than analysts had projected.

Overall, 76.6 million units moved in the three months, that’s down 1.7 percent over the first three months of 2013. However, as reported by Gartner, the severity of the decline eased compared with the past seven quarters.

That ease can be linked to the end of XP support by Microsoft.

“All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter,” Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in a press release. “Among key countries, Japan was greatly affected by the end of XP support, registering a 35 percent year-over-year increase in PC shipments. The growth was also boosted by sales tax change. We expect the impact of XP migration worldwide to continue throughout 2014.”

Numbers reported by the International Data Corporation were slightly different with a statement issued Wednesday stating 73.4 million units were shipped. Regardless of the difference, the XP factor was also pointed to as a contributing reason to number changes.

Loren Loverde, vice-president of Worldwide PC Trackers, pointed to the economy as also playing a role in the decline.

“The economic front seems to be gradually stabilizing and/or improving,” she said. “However, this has been a slow process, and it is unlikely that sovereign debt issues will be resolved soon or that growth in emerging markets like China will return to prior levels.

“On the technology front, the transition to more mobile devices and usage modes is unlikely to stop, although the short term impact on PC shipments may slow as tablet penetration rises – as we’ve begun to see in some mature regions. The net result remains consistent with our past forecasts – in particular, that there is potential for PC shipments to stabilize, but not much opportunity for growth.”

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PC Numbers Down In First Quarter


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on April 11, 2014 | Webmaster
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Windows 8.1 Update, The Start Screen, Desktop and Other Enhancements Roll Out April 8

Windows 8.1 Update is compulsory if you want to continue getting regular updates.

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By cranbak on April 8, 2014 | Webmaster
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Tuesday Last Day of Support for Windows XP

Attention all Windows XP users: Tomorrow is the last day you will receive support for your software.

With Microsoft pulling support of the 13-year-old product there will be no more security updates and those who cling to Windows XP could well be in for a lot of headaches.

Tim Rains, director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, said once security updates for Windows XP stop, it will become risky to use the outdated software because it will be more vulnerable to hackers and other cyber-criminals.

Via www.netmarketshare.com

Via www.netmarketshare.com

“The importance of upgrading from Windows XP cannot be overstated,” Rains said. “We truly want people to understand the risks of running Windows XP after support ends and to recognize the security benefits of upgrading to a more modern operating system — one that includes the latest in security innovations, provides ongoing support and can in turn better protect them.”

According to computer expert Andrea Eldridge, CEO of Nerds On Call, those who are still running XP need to upgrade — now — to avoid being left vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

And, based on NetMarketShare stats, that is a lot of people — approximately 29 percent of computers users worldwide.

Eldridge said Windows 8 offers a number of benefits such as vastly improved security features, a super-fast boot up time and the constantly updated tiles of the Metro home screen.

“If you are hesitant to take on the more dramatic change of moving to Windows 8, consider upgrading to Windows 7. You can purchase a brand new PC and opt to have Windows 7 installed instead of Windows 8,” she said.

top-photo

Microsoft image

“Windows 7 is a great, stable OS that is much safer than XP when it comes to malware vulnerability and it looks and navigates very much like XP. The main drawback is that it can be a bit of a resource hog, so just make sure you get a machine with a lot of RAM (at least 4GB).”

Microsoft announced last month a free transfer tool to help Windows XP users make the switch to a newer operating system. The free data migration tool, dubbed PCmover Express for Windows XP, comes to Microsoft customers courtesy of a partnership between the Redmond software firm and Laplink, a Bellevue, Wash. company.

The tool copies users’ files and settings from their Windows XP PC to a new device running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

PCmover Express, which normally costs $29.95, is available for download via WindowsXP.com

Windows XP was released in 2001 and, although Microsoft originally planned to give it the axe back in 2010, its wildly unpopular replacement — Vista — convinced the company to hold off on discontinuing support for the older OS.

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Tuesday Last Day of Support for Windows XP


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on April 7, 2014 | Webmaster
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Microsoft Launches “Cortana” Personal Digital Assistant On Windows Phone

“Powered by Bing, Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behaviour and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something.”

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By cranbak on April 3, 2014 | Webmaster
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Windows Licensing Now Free on Smartphones, Small Tablets

Microsoft has finally opted to give away Windows licenses for free — but only for Smartphones and tablets less than nine inches.

The Redmond software giant has made billions of dollars off of its Windows desktop software, but not so much for the mobile version.

By making licensing free, more Smartphone manufacturers will be able to make Windows Phone devices and small Windows-based tablets.

Nokia devices and services executive vice-president, Stephen Elop shows three new Nokia phones, the Lumia 930, the Lumia 635 and the Lumia 630, all built on Windows Phone 8.1.

Nokia devices and services executive vice-president, Stephen Elop shows three new Nokia phones, the Lumia 930, the Lumia 635 and the Lumia 630, all built on Windows Phone 8.1.

“To drive adoption of your applications and get your applications out there for more customers, on phones and tablets with screen sizes less than nine inches we are making Windows available now for zero dollars,” operating systems group executive vice president Terry Myerson said while speaking at Build 2014, Microsoft’s developer conference in San Francisco.

During the conference, the company also announced new developer opportunities on the Windows platform with a shared platform across devices, a single toolset, uniform infrastructure across the Windows and Windows Phone stores “and a clear commitment to interoperability.”

Nokia, whose handset division will soon be part of Microsoft, announced three new Lumia Smartphones for Windows Phone 8.1: the flagship Lumia 930, the Lumia 635 and the first dual-SIM Lumia 630.

“The news today shines a light on continued Windows innovation in ways that benefit our customers, partners and developers alike,” Myerson said.

“Our commitment is to make Windows more personal and accessible to individuals, and to ensure a vibrant ecosystem through closer collaboration with our industry partners.”

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Windows Licensing Now Free on Smartphones, Small Tablets


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Nadella Discusses Benefits of Windows, Company’s Future

Microsoft is all about innovation these days and, if CEO Satya Nadella has his way, the firm will be the company developers are itching to build for.

Nadella took to the stage at Microsoft’s annual developers conference Wednesday for a Q&A session to address developers’ concerns and explain why Microsoft is the company to watch in every dimension, both hardware and software.

When asked by an Android developer why he should consider using Windows, Nadella offered up three compelling reasons.

Surface Pro

Surface Pro

Microsoft, he said, has a “challenger mindset” which means the company plans to continually push for bigger and better things. Secondly, the company will “create the broadest platform opportunity in terms of sockets for you,” Nadella said, adding that Microsoft is “going to bet on that platform ourselves.”

Nadella also addressed a question on being competitive in the tablet market — a market currently dominated by Apple’s iPad.

Although Microsoft’s Surface tablet has been a flop thus far, Nadella is not giving up on it. Instead, he plans to “continue to innovate in driving what I think is the most productive tablet out there in the marketplace.”

“And especially in combination with Office, as we build out these native applications for the new platform, you will see us continue to strive to make Surface the most productive tablet out there in the market,” he said.

“We want our users to think about the Windows family of devices and the consistency of the user experience, and then from a developer perspective it’s the developer consistency, and that’s how we get very competitive.”

Nadella also answered questions about the firm’s vision for the future.

In the immediate future, Microsoft’s focus will be on mobile and the cloud, Nadella said.

“Our goal is to really build platforms, create the best end-user experiences, the best developer opportunities and IT infrastructure for this ubiquitous computing or mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

To read the Q&A session in its entirety, click here.

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Nadella Discusses Benefits of Windows, Company’s Future


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on April 2, 2014 | Webmaster
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Microsoft to Offer Windows OS for Free to Indian Phone Companies

Microsoft is inching ever closer to making its operating system free in a bid to better compete with Google and its hugely popular free operating system: Android.

Microsoft had been in talks with Indian phone companies since last year to “produce affordable Windows Phone devices,” the Times of India is reporting.

According to the article, Microsoft has agreed not to charge its usual licensing fee for the Windows Phone OS.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has also announced a low-cost version of the Microsoft Office suite dubbed Office 365 Personal.

“It’s designed for an individual, allows for one PC or Mac and one tablet to be connected to the service and will be available for $69.99 USD/year or $6.99 USD/ month,” said Chris Schneider in a post on the Office Blog. “We recognize that there are households of all shapes and sizes and we’re committed to delivering the right Office for everyone – whether that be one person or an entire household.”

Office 365 Personal is slated for release this spring as is the revamped version of Microsoft Office 365 Home, which supplies five desktop and five mobile licenses for $99. It will include 60 minutes of Skype calls per month and 20GB of Microsoft OneDrive storage space.

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Microsoft to Offer Windows OS for Free to Indian Phone Companies


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By cranbak on March 17, 2014 | Webmaster
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