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Category: Windows 10, IT News, Software, Uncategorised.

Windows 10 DevicesMicrosoft’s new Windows 10 offers improvements over previous versions, and some great new features. Which of these are significant for you will be determined by how you use your computer and what for. The update mostly went smoothly when it was rolled out, but a few problems have been reported by many users. These include loss of internet access, no printing options, loss of access to e-mails, web browser issues, crashes, incompatibilities etc.

Not everyone has experienced problems, but there are millions of computers out there, running many different apps and programmes, so they’re not all going to react the same way.

Many of the errors have a workaround by now, but they can take time and effort to resolve, and some issues are going to remain until third parties can catch up and deliver new drivers.

Those who ARE experiencing problems are certainly helping the rest of us – as they report such glitches, Microsoft will create “patches” (fixes) for them and push them out to computers where Windows 10 is already installed. Those who update later then, are going to get a version that has many, if not all, of the glitches sorted out.

Waiting a while to update also gives the manufacturers of software drivers the time to prepare. Software drivers are the bits of software that allow your computer to talk to devices you connect to; for example printers. You should ideally search for drivers for these devices before you upgrade to ensure Windows 10 compatible ones are available. Even devices that do have updated drivers, have been causing issues for some people. If a device stops working you will need to uninstall your existing drivers and then locate new compatible drivers.

Do backup all important files before a big upgrade like this so that if anything does go wrong, you can recover the important things.

In summary…

Becoming an early adopter is often not a good idea because even a few weeks can make a difference as Microsoft, and third party driver developers, will have been able to sort out many glitches as users report them.   After all, the free upgrade offer lasts a whole year. Why not wait until Spring?

To get on the latest, fastest operating system does seem appealing and “free” does sound good but it should not be recklessly jumped at as you need to consider if it will work with all your other bits of software. The fact that it can be installed though windows update and retain settings etc does however make it sound like a reasonably hassle free upgrade path.

We’d look to wait until it’s been out for enough time for us all to be confident that Windows 10 will be trouble free, so maybe some 3-6 months after its launch (which was at the end of July).

We would, however, encourage you to register, any time from now, on each computer for the free upgrade. That can be done by clicking on the icon in the system tray of each computer. The beauty of registering is that you’ll then be able to upgrade anytime without having to pay, whereas by not registering the free period expires after 12 months from launch.

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Category: Cloud Computing, IT Support, Mobile Computing, Software.

The PC Support Group Managing Director, Phil Bird, shares his 5 technology trend predictions for UK small businesses in 2013.

1. 4G will move up the business agenda

At the end of October 2012 the next generation of mobile telecoms was launched in eleven cities with EE’s 4G network. After the Ofcom 4G auctions at the start of 2013 other operators will start to roll out their networks and the new technology should cover 98% of the country by the end of 2014. 4G will offer true mobile broadband with speeds equal to or greater than fixed line. People will be able to work more ‘on the move’, able to access the internet and their business systems from anywhere. For small businesses this flexibility could be the key to increasing productivity and efficiency.

2. System monitoring and “self-healing” systems

In a tough market businesses need to think smarter and be more efficient. Key to this is moving to proactive IT support, where the latest technology allows you to work on systems before they go wrong, to send alerts flagging potential issues and to even create self-correcting routines. This is clever ‘new generation’ IT support helps deliver greater “up time” and drive increased productivity.

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windows7

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Category: Business, IT Support, Software.

Windows 7 burst onto the scene in August, 2009 and since then uptake has been gradual. According to analyst firm Forrester Windows XP still accounts for over 59.9% of market share for business use.

Windows XP was released in 2001 and is reaching the end of its life-cycle. In fact Microsoft has announced that it will discontinue XP support in 2014. Windows 7 has established itself as a stable operating system and can run the latest software, including Internet Explorer 9 (XP cannot run IE9).

If you are still running Windows XP (or the dreaded Windows Vista OS) here are a few reasons you should consider making the upgrade to Windows 7 Professional.

1.  Performance –Windows 7 was pitted against XP in 25 speed benchmark tests. Some of these tests included moving files, running various software, booting up, and shutting down. Windows 7 came out ahead in 24 of those tests.

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Category: IT Support, Software.

The launch

Windows XP was launched to an excited press on 25th October 2001 and has been one of the longest standing Windows operating systems. It has undergone three major upgrades and is still present on many corporate networks and Home PC’s today.

Windows XP popularity

With every version of Windows since Windows 3.0 there have been problems and Windows XP was no exception to this. To be fair, it is an immensely complicated piece of software that must work with thousands of computers, printers, scanners and other devices. What was key to its success was the critical stability of the operating system within a couple of years and this was attractive to large companies looking to support many computers. In addition it became a standard loved by most Home Users looking to replicate what they had used within the work environment.

Windows Vista – The not so perfect product

January 2007 was the Windows Vista launch and it was greeted with a lot of negative press and in particular from the business world. It had significant incompatibility problems, was painfully slow and offered nothing to tempt a happy Windows XP user . With the recent launch of Windows 7, it appears that some larger users are finally prepared to drop XP – time will tell.

To keep or not to keep

Due to the lack of continued support, XP is not really a viable option for the long term (particularly for larger businesses). In addition, all new PC’s purchased in the near future will only be sold with a Windows 7 license.

Saying that, a lot of people still have Windows XP and are reluctant to purchase a shiny new box when their needs don’t warrant it. Unfortunately Microsoft has continued to add more and more baggage to the core system and the specification of yesteryear will no longer provide an optimum experience. The key requirement is therefore memory; and for reasonable performance, it is recommended that your PC has a minimum of 1GB of RAM and for optimum performance, 2GB.

Along with some system optimisation, this should provide your humble PC with a few more years of life yet.

Web Browser Selection

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Category: Business, Home Computing, IT News, Software.

What is Browser Choice?

Due to a recent agreement put in place with the European authorities and Microsoft all users of Microsoft Windows are being offered a free choice of which browser they wish to have installed as the default. Whilst you have this Browser choice today, it does make it a simple operation for even the novice user to change.

What does it apply to?

This applies to all versions of Windows from Windows XP SP2 onwards (which is probably 98% of the currently installed windows base).

So how does all this happen?

The Browser Choice Update, as it is affectionately being called, will automatically be installed on your computer with “Windows Update” and should automatically prompt you with the Launch Screen at the next restart. As is usual with wide-scale updates, the actual update is staggered over a number of weeks so don’t panic if it doesn’t appear immediately. After downloading the update and restarting your computer, you’ll automatically be shown the Browser Choice screen (see below), and you can then select and install the browser(s) you want to use.

The Browser Choice update doesn’t add or remove any programs from your computer. If you’re using Windows 7 and Internet Explorer is your default browser, the update will unpin the Internet Explorer icon from your taskbar although Internet Explorer will still be available from your Start menu, and you can choose to pin it back on your taskbar.

The actual installation is really a matter of following instructions.

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Category: IT Support, Software.

Perhaps a strange topic for an IT support blog… or is it?

There are many ways to become more efficient at work and I’m not going to start giving you lessons in productivity, time management or measurement. My solution is based around a simple solution that was inspired from when I used to visit London and watch the dealers at work trading currency, shares or commodities. Dual Screen!

What is Dual Screen?

Effectively it’s where you plug two monitors into a single computer so that you can view more information at the same time. The two screen actually behave like one large screen so you can open up a window and then drag it across onto one screen leaving you to open up another window on the other. If you often work with different software at the same time and find yourself getting frustrated with the wasted time of opening and closing windows then this could be the perfect solution for you.

What do you need? Here’s the techie bit… you need to purchase and fit a secondary graphics card. If this means nothing to you then just contact your local computer support company (like The PC Support Group) and they can sort it out.

How much will it cost?

You can purchase a decent graphics adaptor for £20 – £50 although beware that you can spend up to £400 (this is for the latest and greatest gaming adaptor and for normal work is not required).

What about the screen?

In my own case I have a 24” screen alongside a 19” screen giving me a great set up. I use the large screen for my main tasks and the smaller for secondary tasks such as leaving my Outlook email open.

Is my computer capable of doing this?

Windows XP or Windows Vista are both suited to the task and can work out of the box with dual screens. After that all you need is a simple graphics card (and we can always help you help you out with advice, purchase or fitting if required).

Here’s to more work in less time… leaving more time for play! Or perhaps just more work!

Angus Kerr – Computer Support Edinburgh

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Category: Software.

Everybody can benefit from good IT software, but in the current economic recession they cannot always afford it.

The PC Support Group, office and home IT specialists, has devised some great tips to help the nation get their computers equipped with the best programmes without spending a penny.

Most of us are cautious of free internet tools, but the professionals at The PC Support Group guarantee that if we choose the right sites they can be even better than the paid-for alternatives.

The nationwide company, who offer customers full service technical support from the backroom to the boardroom, recommend users should only download programmes, suggested by a trusted source. Here are its top five freebies..

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