So, your company has decided to migrate from Windows XP and Office 2003 to Windows 8 and Office 2013, respectively. The problem is that you haven’t used either Windows 8 or Office 2013 yet. How do you prepare for the transition? Well, migrating to the latest in Microsoft technologies isn’t always the simplest task; however, Microsoft does attempt to make it as easy as possible. One of the ways in which they try to simplify things is through their Enterprise Agreement program. Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) has many perks, such as 24x7 support and the “step-up” licensing capability. However, the key (and often unused) benefit of the EA agreement is training.
From the previous example, migrating from Windows XP and Office 2003 to Windows 8 and Office 2013 will require plenty of training. This is true not only for technical support staff, but also the end users. Microsoft has you covered with training vouchers through the Enterprise Agreement program. These training vouchers provide the ability to set aside training days on all sorts of technologies based on the amount of licenses that are covered with Software Assurance. From there, your Software Assurance benefits manager obtains the training vouchers, which can be used for online or instructor-led classes. Once you have the training vouchers, you are free to choose from a list of available courses and schedule the training.
With tools like these at your disposal, there should be fewer reasons for not upgrading to the latest Microsoft technologies. If you have any questions about what the latest and greatest Microsoft technologies can do for you and your business, then contact the experts at Trigon and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s latest iteration of the desktop operating system. This is to be the operating system to unite all the Microsoft devices. With Microsoft looking to get their slice of the emerging markets of tablets and smart phones, Windows 8 ties in the desktop experience to the same type of interface found on the mobile devices. Microsoft utilizes the Metro interface to raise the comfort level moving between the devices. The Metro interface makes the touch screen usage of the operating system easy, but you need a touch screen interface to truly see the value of this. Windows 8 does bring forth other improvement though; such as improved security, device interconnectivity and the most commented one we hear about, the faster start up time.
The prevailing question is… does your business need Windows 8?
The answer is no, at least not yet...
After reviewing and using Windows 8, we can’t help to think that Windows 8 is the next Vista. Yes, Vista was a working operating system, but it never caught on. There wasn’t a compelling drive for businesses to move to Vista. With XP working great…why change? Businesses have embraced Windows 7, it works well and companies are productive with it. Windows 7 is what Vista should have been. There isn’t a drive to move to Windows 8 due to failures or incompatibility issues with Windows 7. Add in the retraining that the staff will have to go through to be comfortable and productive with Windows 8 and it may not be worth the effort. You may want to wait to move to Windows 8 if you’re using Windows 7 in your environment. If you have XP, then an upgrade is absolutely essential.
Of course, you will need to move to Windows 8 at some point. Windows 7 will be dropped as a supported operating system by Microsoft eventually. There will be applications that will work best with the Windows 8 technology and applications whose device interconnectivity adds productivity. From a support viewpoint, there are some suggestions and risks to consider if you are looking at moving your business to Windows 8.
- Timing: Start planning for your migration to Windows 8 in your business by first determining how long you can use Windows 7. Some small to mid-sized businesses might not need to move to Windows 8. We have worked with many clients who never deployed Vista in their environments, and upgraded to Windows 7 only when it was necessary. Keep in mind that most new desktops and laptops ship with Windows 8 installed already. You can downgrade to Windows 7 at no charge if requested. If you have a Windows XP environment, now would be a good time to move up to Windows 8. Plan it out as the impact of a failed upgrade could have a profound effect on your business.
- Training: As Windows 8 is a very different interface, make sure to identify the person in your environment who is most comfortable with using this new interface. This may be the person with a Windows based smart phone. Deploy the new operating system to the company a few days ahead of time. This will help make the change less shocking and identify any issues with your current applications may have with Windows 8. Conduct end user training sessions or have “cheat sheets” available for those repeating questions such as “where is my start button?” or “how do I log off?”
- Compatibility: Make sure you are aware of what applications are compatible with Windows 8. If an application is compatible with Windows 7, you should be okay. But if you are moving from XP, make sure you verify your critical systems are compatible with Windows 8.
At Trigon, we are currently evaluating the case for an upgrade to Windows 8 on a case by case basis for companies of all sizes in the Philadelphia and Central Pennsylvania markets. There is no particular “rule of thumb” on whether an upgrade should take place or not. However, through careful analysis, Trigon can help you make a determination if an upgrade is worth it. A smoother deployment leads to reduced downtime, increased trust in the migration, and better office morale. Contact us to discuss an upgrade and how it may affect your business today!
Do you have a tablet that you already enjoy (iPad or Android)? Or are you waiting on the much-anticipated Windows 8 tablet? According to the http://news.yahoo.com/microsoft-windows-8-tablet-unveiling-said-slated-monday-183444492.html website, you may not have to wait much longer. Microsoft has indicated that it will be making a major announcement this coming Monday, June 18, that many believe will be the opening for the Windows 8 tablet.
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is already available for download and trial, so if you want a “sneak peak”, you can take a look at it. Not all of the functionality is there yet, as it is just a pre-release of the Operating System, but it does look nice. I have tried it myself and it takes a little getting used to, as there is no “Start” menu that previous Windows Operating Systems have all had. The video that you can browse does give some basics on moving around the new system, so it is well worth the few minutes watching the video.
As far as tablets go, I am sure that Microsoft is going to be giving the current tablets on the market a run for their money, as the Metro interface introduced with Windows 8 brings dynamic content to the home screen. This means you won’t need to flip through apps to see the most recent things happening. For instance, you automatically see you have new E-mails available, without even needing to open the mail app to view. You can also tell at a glance other updates that are happening as they happen, so there won’t be a need to open the app unless you want to see the full content.
So what about you? Do you have an iPad or Android and really love it? Or do you want to get the new Windows 8 tablet at the first opportunity available? Are you interested in other mobility solutions you would like to know more about? Contact Trigon to discuss the Philadelphia IT Mobility Solutions that are available.
The release of the new Windows 8 platform is quickly approaching. Microsoft has done their best to blur the boundaries between desktop, notebook, and tablet with some innovative and interesting new features for both the corporate and home consumer. The Start menu and Desktop (which are still accessible) have been supplemented with the Start screen that looks as if it would be as much at home on a high end smartphone or tablet as on a high powered desktop. For the home consumer the Windows store (much like the iTunes App store or Android Market) offers consumers a portal to purchase apps, from games to news to productivity tools, to make the Windows experience better. The new Windows To Go gives corporations the security of the office network for the home based employee. The entire operating system is contained on an encrypted flash drive that “boots” into a full version of Windows 8 that contains all of the corporate data and access that would normally be granted to the resource receiving the drive. The trick on this little gem is that the internal drives on the host machine are put into an inactive state. No data can be transferred from the Windows 8 Guest OS down to the host machine. Similarly if a user attempts to access the data contained on the drive by booting into their own system first, the To Go drive cannot be accessed. I think Microsoft has pulled out all the stops on this baby right here and I can’t wait to get my hands on a final production copy. For a full listing of features check out the Windows 8 consumer preview product guide.
If you'd like to find out more about Windows 8, or how it can help your business, contact Trigon today!
Microsoft just recently released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the delight of many people, excited to get a hands on look at some of the new features in their newest version of Windows. Me being the curious person that I am decided why not check it out. I downloaded the ISO file from the internet, burned it to a dvd and popped it in my computer. Starting off the installation process was pretty quick and painless. Now I opted to plug in a spare hard drive and install Windows 8 onto that so I could keep my Windows 7 drive since this is just a beta after all, however Microsoft does offer several ways to install and will walk you through each step of the way.
Once the installation was complete I was introduced to the new Windows Metro start screen. I’ve never used a Windows phone which has had the Metro UI for a while now so this was all new to me, but it is pretty easy to navigate. If you’ve never seen Metro before then basically the best way to describe it is your screen will have many tiles that either provide information such as the weather or allow you to launch applications like Internet Explorer. Since Metro brings about a new look and feel most current apps are not designed to conform to it so Microsoft has kept the traditional desktop for those applications not able to work with Metro. The applications designed to work with Metro though are designed to use your entire screen and are not enclosed by a Window. Also interestingly enough there is no option to close apps in Metro, instead when you switch from one app to the other that app gets suspended similarly to the way apps work on mobile devices.
So far I’ve been personally enjoying the way Metro works. The full screen metro apps look really nice and underneath metro is just Windows 7. My only concern is that I can’t see business adopting Windows 8 if Microsoft doesn’t provide some means of disabling Metro. Like I said above I think it will be great for home users but Metro in my opinion might get in the way of productivity since users will now have to switch between two user interfaces in order to access their applications and data. On the whole I am looking forward to the release of Windows 8 and am looking forward to seeing the changes made between now and the release version. If after reading this article you’re feeling adventurous then head over to here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/consumer-preview and download Windows 8 Consumer Preview. If you have any questions about how Microsoft products can help you increase the productivity of your business then contact us and allow us to assist you
In yet another valiant effort to get people off Windows XP and onto Windows 7, Microsoft is finally ending its “extended support” for the decade-old PC operating system. Unlike Apple, however, when Microsoft puts its foot down, it gives users 1,000 days to get out of the way. The company won’t officially stop supporting XP until April 8, 2014–a year and a half after Windows 8 is expected to roll out. The company will not issue any security patches after this date.
While there are plenty of home users still running XP, Microsoft’s big concern is the large number of businesses that haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 7. Despite its lenient timeline, the Redmond giant is so desperate to get people off XP that it now routinely insults the OS, posting up an entire video called “Is Windows XP Good Enough? Really?” which we’ve embedded below.
To scare those concerned with the bottom line, Microsoft quotes a Gartner report as well, which indicates that “more than 50 [percent] of organizations that do not start deploying Windows 7 by early 2012 will not complete their deployments before Windows XP support ends, and will incur increased support costs.”
Is this truly the end, old friend? We've had some good times together. A few laughs, a handful of tears. But you've always been there for me, XP.
Maybe that's the problem. Maybe Microsoft made the OS just a little "too" well. Why else would folks not want to leave for the vast unknown of Vista, 7, and eventually Windows 8. If everything works swimmingly, why would you ever want to leave in the first place?
The problem is that Microsoft is ready to move forward with new technologies and their endless supply of users aren't quite willing to hold hands and make that jump as well. Apple got into similar stickiness when they left the PowerPC section of their users. Further down the line, they cut support for OS 9 completely when the transtition was complete to OS X.
Granted, Apple's OS userbase was miniscule compared to Windows and still is, really. Microsoft is in a tighter spot thanks to the millions and millions of liceses that are out and about. Somethings you just have to rip that band-aid off and hope the best. Good thing Trigon is around to pick up the pieces, am I right?
- by Joe, "I Don't Need No Stinking Christmas Carol Reference". Figaniak
With Windows 8 not to be expected to RTM (Release to Manufacturing) until at least April 2012, there sure has been a lot of anticipation and hype brewing south of the latest article's comment boxes. People have been referring to the new OS, previewed on June 1st at the D9 Conference, as an "iKiller". Comments ranging from "I will sell my (insert iProduct) to get one of these." to the typical "Windows sucks, Apple rules!" it's definitely too early to tell just how this OS will be received by the consumer world. With that being said, there will always be biases towards a particular brand, so random comments by "haters" can't be taken too seriously.
The 'Building "Windows 8" - Video #1' video released by Microsoft shows a Windows 8 tablet with some pretty interesting features, while backing itself up with smooth flowing graphics and a touch interface. A number of features shown in the video and listed in numerous Microsoft articles follows:
Windows 8 will be geared towards desktops, laptops, and tablets.
Windows 8 is designed with and impressive touch interface.
+Works equally well with keyboard and mouse peripheral input.
+Virtual keyboard shown off in video has touch support, as well as split keyboard support for thumb input when holding with two hands.
+Browser is fully optimized for touch browsing in Internet Explorer 10.
Tile based, always up to date, Start Screen replaces previous Windows Start menus.
+Windows Desktop, Explorer, and Start Menu remain intact behind initial Start Screen.
+Previous Windows apps such as MS Office will have full support and be fully integrated as well as being compatible with existing Windows 7 PCs, software, and peripherals.
+Apps will be web-connected and web-powered and have access to full power of the PC.
+Multitasking will be as easy as snapping or resizing an app to the side of the screen.
In the most recent build, support for SMS (Short Message Service), was found.
+Would allow for Windows 8 based devices to send and receive text messages.
Also found in the code was some sort of pre-feature licensing.
+Possible allowing Microsoft to provide users with a 'barebones' version of Windows 8 and then advise users to purchase and add features in the future when necessary.
From the Microsoft's video, it was clear that when this OS is in full swing it can and will definitely give iOS a run for its money. In the video, Microsoft clearly shows it's moving in the right direction with its simplistic look of the Start Screen coupled with the power and features of the PCs we've come to know and love. This interface looks sweet and they aren’t sacrificing looks for power and productivity, that's a given.
It seems that Microsoft is looking to make Windows 8 'the OS to have', announcing support for ARM architecture and SoC. Not only should we be seeing desktops and laptops, but with this added support, Windows 8 tablets and phones in the future, utilizing the processor's low-cost and low-power consumption.
There are also talks about native 3D monitor support in one of the latest builds. It seems Microsoft is clearly thinking into the future and preparing their technology for the long run, which is great! It's better to be over-prepared than under, and Microsoft is trying to prove that with this latest up-and-coming OS.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what other accoutrements will be heading to Windows 8 to accent all these new features Microsoft is pumping into its big hit of 2012.
(This article originally appeared on Technorati.)
This is my next:
We had a gut feeling Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky was going to show off Windows 8at D9, and that’s exactly what he took the stage to do. While Sinofsky showed a very early preview of the future operating system (yes, we’re talking wires hanging out of the box), it’s extremely clear that the new OS is a melding of Windows 7 and Microsoft’s Metro UI. The “start screen,” which works a lot like a layer running over regular Windows, is tile based and will provide easy access to applications. Sinofsky hammered home the point that these were just apps running over Windows and that you could always return to your regular desktop. That said, the entire OS has been designed for touch input and includes a revamped keyboard.
Microsoft has finally showed their hand for the tablet space and it thankfully has taken much of the Metro UI from Windows Phone. However, they aren't cutting the Windows cord just yet.
The overall design of the Tablet OS is fantastic. It's taken from the Metro-inspired design of Windows Phone and looks ideal for tablet use. However, this is nothing more than a shell covering the same Windows Vista/7 operating system.
Microsoft has trumpeted the fact previously that they were able to get Windows 8 running on ARM, meaning that the OS could run on low power devices. The tablet version of Windows 8 shows exactly why MS thought this was a big deal. Not only do they have an OS that looks built from the ground up for tablets, but Windows 8 is always there, hidden in the background if you need it.
Is this the right move for Microsoft's future? They certainly think that there are enough legacy users that will want to run Windows apps on a tablet, no matter how they are designed. Apple has expected and encouraged designers to build new apps for different form factors, but it doesn't look like MS has that kind of hope for their own developers. If you want to run a Microsoft app on a tablet to run Excel, they aren't going to build a brand new version - they want you to run the Office 2010 version that was made for a desktop. Will users want to use something that was made for a mouse and not the tap of a finger?
We'll find out in 2012.
Microsoft Corp. today announced at 2011 International CES that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures, including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA Corp., Qualcomm Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. On the x86 architecture, Intel Corporation and AMD continue their work on low-power SoC designs that fully support Windows, including support for native x86 applications. SoC architectures will fuel significant innovation across the hardware spectrum when coupled with the depth and breadth of the Windows platform.
At today’s announcement, Microsoft demonstrated the next version of Windows running on new SoC platforms from Intel running on x86 architecture and from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments on ARM architecture. The technology demonstration included Windows client support across a range of scenarios, such as hardware-accelerated graphics and media playback, hardware-accelerated Web browsing with the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer, USB device support, printing and other features customers have come to expect from their computing experience. Microsoft Office running natively on ARM was also shown as a demonstration of the potential of Windows platform capabilities on ARM architecture.
Hooray? What does it all mean?
The long and short of it means the next version of Windows will be perfectly acceptable to run on a smaller device. More than likely tablets. Right now, in its current form, Windows 7 is a total mess on a tablet. It just wasn't built for it. I'm talking in both design and hardware requirements. Have you ever used Windows 7 on a tablet? It's pretty gross.
I have a VNC app on my iPad that can remote into the laptop in my office. There is a lot of tapping, tapping again, and then tapping a little closer. It's very difficult to use Windows on a touchscreen. Even if you had the perfect hardware specifications, it's a little hokey.
Microsoft announcing that the next version of their OS will run on the ARM architecture says a few things. For better or worse, it means that Microsoft thinks their desktop Windows UI is the way to go on the tablet space. It also means they've finally decided to take this space seriously. I expect the next version of Windows to have some graphical changes not just for desktop usage, but also tablet.
ARM will allow Microsoft to package their OS on a small form factor, with (hopefully) none of the drawbacks. No slow down, no overheating, etc.
Personally, I think Microsoft should have their Windows Phone 7 UI ported to the tablet. It's slick, it's new, and it would work well on a tablet. It remains to be seen if Windows 8 will do a better job. Are you using a tablet right now for your business? Let us know if we can help you with your tablet enterprising needs.
Windows IT Pro:
Like the rest of the world, I was perplexed at Steve Ballmer's response in a recent interview at the Gartner Symposium where he cited the "next version of Windows" as the riskiest product coming up. While talking about a product that's still 2 years away can feel a bit out of place (like seeing Christmas decorations on sale in October), I'd like to take a look at a few of the more supported rumors about Windows 8 and which, if any, of them could add up to the riskiest product in Microsoft's portfolio.
What does it all mean, Basil? Yes, I just fit an Austin Powers quote in this post. Beat that!
So what DOES it all mean? What could be so risky with Windows 8 that even Steve Ballmer has to point that out? I mean, he put out the Kin and didn't think to mention that was risky. Let's be honest, here. Let's go through some of the finer points of the IT Pro article and see what we can come up with.
A purely hosted OS. With Google planning the Chrome OS release by the end of this year, some Internet commentators have suggested that Microsoft could release Windows 8 as a purely cloud-based where everything would be accessed through the Internet.
Yowza! I'm on record, somewhere, saying that Chrome OS will be a dud. Sure, Grandma would love to check their Facebook and that's about it, but regular folk like you and me need Apps. Sweet, glorious Apps! None of this HTML5 stuff. At least not for the next 5 or so years.
New App Store model. In the past few months, Microsoft has leaked that Windows 8 will have an App Store model similar to iTunes. The idea here is that you will be able to go to a dedicated place to search for applications for Windows, and you'll have the confidence that those solutions are vetted and compatible with your Windows system.
Apple just recently announced they are going this exact route with the Mac App Store. It will be similar to the iOS App Stores with the exception being that you can still download apps from the developers website if you wish. But to the new Mac owner, this is a huge boon. To the non-techie, non-developer people that just want to go to one place to update all their ups with no fuss, no muss, why not let Microsoft take care of the update process for all of your apps? Does anyone not realize how simple it is to update apps on an iPhone or iPad? Silly simple.
Electronic distribution only. This one is kind of interesting—what if Microsoft released Windows 8 only as an electronic version? This would save them a bit on distribution costs, but overall shouldn't affect the system too much.
I'm all for this one. Microsoft should lead the way in terms of digital distribution. "Hey honey, what are you doing over there?" "Oh, nothing. Just clicked to update to Windows 8, fool!" Boom! That's what I'm talking about. I've wished that MS would have taken a more digital route with their 360 games instead of catering to GameStop and the like. When a new game drops I should be able to hop onto the XBOX Marketplace and download it to my system. Why can I not do this?
Those are just a few of the reasons why Windows 8 could be "risky". Rest assured, we'll be ready to pwn all risk associated with the new OS, so be sure to give us a buzz.