Windows 10

With the Windows 10 Preview having been available for a couple of months now it would seem to be a good time to look at this new version of Windows and see what if offers business users.

One converged Windows platform
A lot of work has been done in the background over the last few years to converge the disparate Windows Versions (Phone, RT, Home, Pro, Enterprise, etc) to ease development of applications across platforms. This convergence is realised for the first time in Windows 10 where, essentially the same code base is used from the small, thin and light – up to the largest and most powerful laptops, desktops and all-in-one PCs. Windows 10 even scales to industry and ruggedized devices, purpose-built industry solutions, small foot print devices (Internet of Things) and all the way up to 85” touch-screen conference room displays.
This common platform will help users move between devices without needing to learn another user interface and another way of doing things, increasing efficiency and productivity.

Desktop Experience
For many people moving to Windows 8 was a culture shock as the default screen you were greeted by was the Start Screen. Optimised for Touch devices this was a little confusing for a Mouse & keyboard equipped device. Windows 10 builds on the improvements made in Windows 8.1 update by detecting the device type at startup – for mouse and keyboard users, the Windows 10 user experience begins at the familiar desktop. The Start menu experience of Windows 7 has been expanded, providing one-click access to the functions and files that people use most.
Also bridging the gap between the touch-optimized tablet experience and the mouse and keyboard experience Windows 10 allows “modern apps” to run in a window on the desktop – resulting in modern apps seamlessly co-existing in the desktop space alongside desktop apps.

Data Protection
Microsoft have also made progress in helping companies protect their business data. While BitLocker helps protects data as it resides on a device, once the data leaves the device it’s no longer protected. With Windows 10 an additional layer of protection is provided by using containers and data separation at the application and file level – enabling protection that follows the data wherever it goes. Whether the data moves from a tablet or PC to a USB drive, email or the cloud – it maintains the same level of protection. Users won’t need to change behavior, use special apps, or move to a separate, locked-down environment to keep corporate data secure.

Deployment and Updates
To reduce the impact of deploying new devices to users, new dynamic provisioning technologies have been introduced to reduce the need for traditional wipe & reload approach. Businesses will be able to configure off-the-shelf devices, without reimaging – potentially permitting an employee to purchase a new device in a retail store and have it remotely provisioned by the IT department into a standard corporate build.
Windows 10 will be delivered in a way that gives more choice and flexibility to businesses. As a result, a business can pick the speed of innovation that is right for each group of its users, rather than apply a one size fits all solution. Consumers, and opt-in businesses, will be able to take advantage of the latest updates as soon as they are available, delivered via Windows Update. Business customers can segment their own user groups, and choose the model and pace that works for them. They will have more choice in how they consume updates, whether through Windows Update or in a managed environment. And for all scenarios, security and critical updates will be delivered on a monthly basis.
Apps
Windows 10 will also include a single, unified app store to allow for volume app purchases based on existing organizational identity, flexible distribution and the ability for organizations to reclaim or re-use licenses. Organizations will also be able to create a customized store, curating store experiences that can include their choice of Store apps alongside company-owned apps into a separate employee store experience.
So, whether you are just upgrading your estate to Windows 7 or have embraced Windows 8 in your organisation it would appear that Windows 10 will offer some compelling features to look forward to in 2015.

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Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 Update

Along with the usual “Patch Tuesday” updates last week (8th April) Microsoft also released the following updates:

Windows Server 2012 R2 Update and Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355)

These are actually a cumulative update rollup and contain some new features.

Windows 8.1 features are detailed here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/whats-new

These updates should be installed to ensure future patches are received, see this from Microsoft –

Important All future security and nonsecurity updates for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 require this update to be installed. We recommend that you install this update on your Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, or Windows Server 2012 R2-based computer in order to receive continued future updates.

 

End of Support – Are you Ready?

Just a quick post to remind you all the following product are due to end support on April 8th

 

Exchange 2010 SP2 will transition out of support on 8th April 2014

Outlook 2003 will transition out of extended support on the 8th of April 2014

Exchange Server 2003 will transition out of extended support on the 8th of April 2014

Windows XP will transition out of extended support on the 8th of April 2014

 

If you’re not already running or planning to upgrade to a newer version of these products you really should be or your systems could be at risk.