Tag: Microsoft

Software
What does it mean when Microsoft discontinues a product?

As an I.T. administrator any time a product is announced to be discontinued a slew of emails come in asking me “what do we do!?” It may seem like you’re being bullied into upgrading but that’s not at all the case. Any company has to cycle out old products to focus on new products. That’s all they’re doing. They support products as long as possible but there comes a time when they must refocus their efforts on bigger and better things. On the other hand when they start popping up notices every time you turn on your computer, that’s a bit more invasive.

It was sad to see the once great Windows XP operating system lose support back on April 8th, 2014, but even 3 years later I still see it frequently in use. Is that a concern? Well, yes and no. It really depends on how it’s used. I wouldn’t suggest using your Windows XP system to surf the web any longer. Fewer browsers are supporting updates, anti-virus solutions are slowly moving away from supporting XP and as a result it’s slowly becoming obsolete and more of a security risk in business environments. However, some smaller companies that depend on software that’s tried and true on their XP systems sometimes experience large costs associated with being forced to upgrade. With proper precautions these systems can still be safely utilized. For starters up to date anti-virus is a must. Content filtering is also a good idea just to prevent idle hands from visiting dangerous places on the internet. Whether it’s an operating system or software, just because it’s being discontinued doesn’t mean you have to upgrade immediately. They’re not going to automatically uninstall it from your system, they’re just not going to offer any further updates nor offer answers to any questions you may have about that particular software. Take the upcoming End of Life for Microsoft Office 2007 on October 10th, 2017 for example, the last major update was back on October 25th, 2011. Likely every possible question you could have about Office 2007 is already answered somewhere online. So, although Microsoft is saying they’re discontinuing the product in a few months, it has not needed much support for several years now.

Once discontinued a product will eventually become obsolete. That’s the point at which upgrading does make sense. As I said earlier, XP’s browser options are diminishing which makes surfing the internet difficult. Forget about Internet Explorer 8, you’d have to use FireFox to view most websites these days on a Windows XP system. But, eventually no browsers will offer a good web experience on XP, making upgrading to a newer OS a necessary decision. To sum it all up, don’t concern yourself too much about End of Life notices. Don’t brush them off completely, but you have plenty of time to figure out an upgrade plan.

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Computer Skills for the Workplace

 
Want to impress your employer but you aren’t that computer savvy? There are a few things that can make a big difference on your work performance.

Typing

A fast typing speed is really appreciated by employers. Practice makes perfect if you aren’t that great at typing.

TheTypingCat.com is a good place to test or improve your skills.

Email and Internet

Knowing how to navigate browsers and your email is very important to be able to do your work effectively. It is good to take the time to test out things and see what buttons do what, to help you get a good feel of your browser and email client.

Microsoft Office

Workplaces usually use Microsoft Word or Excel for information, and as long as you can use these programs everything can run smoothly. Most people need to take classes to be skilled in Microsoft Office programs, but as long as you can understand the basics of how each program works you can get better over time.
 

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