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Windows 8.1 Released – New Features

Windows 8.1 is here. Now what?

Restoring respect for the desktop

  • Start me up: The Start button is back in desktop mode, although not the way it was before Windows 8 came along. In Windows 7 and before, a click on Start would have brought up programs and important folders in a list. Now, one tap on Start flips you back to the new tile interface, where you can click or tap tiles to open programs. A long press brings up crucial settings such as the Control Panel.
  • Boot to desktop: You can now start up the machine in desktop mode, bypassing the tiles for a short time. That removes some of the headache for companies that want to use Windows 8 but don’t want to buy a touch-screen monitor for every employee.
  • Windows 8.1 Taskbar

Touch and gesture updates

  • Onscreen keyboard swipes: The onscreen keyboard now includes the ability to type numbers or punctuation marks by swiping up or away from certain keys on the standard “QWERTY” layout, eliminating the need to toggle between numeric and alphabetic layouts. You can also select from suggested words mid-stream using side swipes and taps on the virtual spacebar.
  • Gesture-enabled apps: You can now wave in the air in front of the front-facing camera to get a response. For example, in the new app Bing Food & Drink, a right-to-left wave in “Hands Free Mode” flips through pages of a recipe.
  • Quicker tile organizing: You can tap and hold Windows tiles with your finger to move them. Another couple taps will allow you to resize them in one of four sizes. In the previous version, you had to go back to the mouse or touchpad and right-click on tiles to do this, and you were limited to two sizes.
  • Easier apps access: Finding all your apps takes just a swipe up on your start screen, as long as you don’t do it from beyond the bottom edge. Before, you had to swipe up from the bottom edge, then tap on the All Apps button.

Small conveniences

  • Automatic updates: Apps update in the background, replacing the constant reminders to go to the Windows Store to update the apps yourself.
  • Smaller tablets: Windows 8.1 now has a home screen that looks good in portrait mode on screens measuring 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally.
  • Lock screen access: You can now answer Skype calls or take photos from the lock screen without having to log in. Just swipe down. You can also set other apps like Twitter to send notifications when the screen is locked.

Functional changes

  • Better multitasking: In Windows 8.1, you can run up to four apps at once side by side, double the previous amount, though you need a large, high-resolution monitor to do so (On their own, Microsoft’s Surface tablets are not big enough for more than two). You can resize panes using a slider that moves side to side, instead of being limited to one larger window and one slender one. This is still not as capable as Windows 7 or in desktop mode, where you can open dozens of items in windows that can be resized horizontally, vertically and diagonally. And many app makers have yet to adapt, meaning some apps still appear as a thin sliver, even if you want them to take up half the screen.
  • Global search: Typing while on the tile-based start screen will pull up multiple search results — if applicable — from your computer, the Web and the Windows app store. If you’re searching for a musician, you’ll see a list of popular songs you can play using Xbox Music, and if it’s someone famous (like President Barack Obama) you’ll see biographical details, videos and other information. Before, you had to choose where to search: in apps, settings, computer files or on the Internet.
  • Email update: The standard-issue Mail app now has a “power pane” on left-hand side with folders for updates from social networks like Facebook, messages from favorite contacts and newsletters. Some of these features work only with Microsoft accounts such as Hotmail and Outlook.com, though. A new “sweep” command deletes multiple messages with a couple taps.
  • Better browsing: No longer are you limited to 10 open tabs in the tile version of Internet Explorer. Before, Web pages automatically closed without prompts when you try to open more. You can open as many as you want now. Better yet, you can have two different websites displayed side by side, the way you’ve long been able to before Windows 8 came along.

Fun stuff

  • Xbox music refresh: The music streaming app now optimizes playback over discovery with a layout that has more lists and smaller photos. It also adds the ability to create playlists from any website with a couple taps. When on a website featuring artists, swipe in from the right edge and tap the Share button followed by the Music button. It will create a song playlist based on those artists, which you can then stream for free.
  • Picture editing: A picture editor with pre-set effects comes with the update, allowing for photo touchups, cropping, contrast changes and other features.
  • Xbox One integration: You can pick up where you left off if you start playing a video purchased on Xbox Video on a tablet and then watch the rest on Microsoft’s upcoming game console, Xbox One.

 

Before you upgrade, know what data you can or can’t transfer from a previous installation.

We offer an “Complete Windows 8.1 Upgrade Service” for your complete peace of mind.  If you’re unsure about upgrading to Windows 8.1 or need advice then please call us to discuss this on 0121-561-4477

Windows XP, SP3 & Office 2003 Support to End

Windows XP Upgrades and new Computer options click here

Do you have Windows XP computers or laptops in your business?? If yes please read the important information below.. If not great news you are up to date and we are sorry to have bothered you.
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In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. As per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level.
Thus, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organisation has not started the migration to a modern desktop, time is running out!! To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning immediately to ensure your old desktops have been replaced by April 8, 2014 before end of support.
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It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognised control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common.” And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models.

Get current with Windows and Office.
This option has upside well beyond keeping you supported. It offers more flexibility to empower employees to be more productive, while increasing operational efficiency through improved PC security and management. It also enables your organization to take advantage of latest technology trends such as virtualization and the cloud.
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Small to Medium Business:
There are many options for small and medium businesses considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. Contact us today to understand the best options that meet your business needs.

If your current PC meets the system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8, one option is you can also buy Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro upgrades from us. If your PC does not meet system requirements, consider purchasing a new business PC with Windows 8 Pro.

Contact Chris Lowe today on 0121-561-4477 or sales@idealtechnology.co.uk to arrange a review of your requirements so a plan can be made.

The New Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium

This lowers the cost to only £1.33 per PC per month and for this you get Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Publisher & Access which is tremendous value!

Want to know more about Office 365 for your home or business then just call us on 0121-561-4477 to discuss your requirements.

The newest from Office.

Office 365 Home Premium has the latest version of the applications you know and love, plus cloud services so you can have Office when and where you need it. Just sign in and you can get to your Office files, applications, and settings from virtually anywhere.The latest versions of all our best-in-class applications plus cloud services including Skype and
SkyDrive on up to 5 PCs, Windows 8 tablets, and Macs.1

What it includes:

  • Office for the entire household on up to 5 PCs and Windows 8 tablets, Macs.1
  • The latest versions of: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outllook, OneNote2 Publisher2, and Access.2
  • An extra 20 GB of online storage in SkyDrive (27 GB total) for anywhere access to your documents.3
  • 360 minutes of Skype™ calls each month to phones in 40+ countries.4
  • One convenient annual subscription for the whole household with automatic upgrades included so you’re always up to date with the latest features and services.

Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium 32-bit/x64 – Product Description

Office 365 Home Premium is the best value for an entire household. Get the smartest, most up-to-date applications and cloud services on up to 5 PCs, Windows 8 tablets, Macs and select mobile devices.
Office 365 Home Premium provides Microsoft Office programs with a difference. It features Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Publisher and Access 2013, for use on up to five PCs or tablets. Sign in and open applications, documents and custom settings on any Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC with an internet connection. With this Office suite you can work on your documents at home, in the office, or on your laptop while on the move.

Microsoft® Word® 2013
Get a better view of your documents with Object Zoom for viewing tables and images close up, and a new Read Mode for easy reading. Word even automatically bookmarks your place on your document, so that you can resume reading from the same place, even when using a different PC or tablet.

Microsoft® Outlook® 2013
More than just an email client, Microsoft Outlook features automatic updates from Linked In and Facebook, a weather bar, and an improved search function to enhance your productivity.

Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013
With a collection of new themes, you can be even more creative with your presentations. Switch between slides without your audience seeing by using the navigation grid, and zoom in to provide a closer view of diagrams and images.

Microsoft® Excel® 2013
Choose from suggested charts and graphs to display your data in a visually pleasing way with Excel 2013. Easily change titles and layouts of your tables and apply formatting with a single click.

Microsoft® OneNote® 2013
With tables being converted into Excel spreadsheets and handwriting converted into text, OneNote is a flexible and intuitive tool enabling you to group work of varying formats in one convenient place.

Microsoft® Publisher® 2013
Find pictures on your system easily and work with batches of images that you can drag and drop, swap, or use to create image backgrounds. Enhance your publications with stunning picture and text effects.

Microsoft® Access® 2013
Create custom apps for your business or department, using app templates. Easy app navigation is delivered by the standardized app framework, enabling you to create professional apps that grow with your business.

Have you backed up your data today?

 

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Why are backups important?

Computers fill our life and our work.  They faithfully accumulate our wedding pictures, our company’s books, and the ceaseless emails we get and send.  But, unless you back it up, all that data can be gone like a flash of lightning.

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Backups protect you from hardware failure

Computers are more reliable than ever, so its easy to forget or put off backing up your data. We’ve all done it.

But, computer drives still fail, and usually they give no advance warning.  One minute they’re working fine, and the next minute they’re toast.

And usually, when they fail, it’s impossible (or very expensive) to get any data off of them.

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backup-program-bugBackups protect you from viruses

Some computer viruses will corrupt your data.  Some computer viruses will bog your machine down so much that you can’t login.

If you ever “lose” a computer to a virus, most technicians will advise you to wipe the drive clean and reinstall everything. Backups can be a life-saver in these extreme cases.
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backup-program-car-windowBackups protect you from theft

Thieves are more likely to steal high-tech items such as your laptop or home computer.  These items are in high demand and can be sold quickly and easily.

If you have backups, it’s simple to restore your files to a new computer.  Without backups, your honeymoon pictures may be gone forever.

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Backups protect you from accidental deletion

backup-program-deleteEvery computer has a Delete key, and sometimes it works too darn well.

Have the kids ever deleted things from the family computer so they could make room for the latest zombie killing game?  You know, things like last year’s tax filing or your Quicken folder.

Backups can let you save and organize the really important things, so you don’t have to worry about what the zombie lovers might do with your data.

To discuss any of the above or order then just call us on 0121-561-4477