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Windows 8.1 Update 1 released, Official MS Support for XP Ends

Today marked two important milestones for business Windows users – the release of Windows 8.1 Update 1 (KB2919355), and the official end of Microsoft support for Windows XP as of April 8th. If your company is still actively using Windows XP, contact us to learn more about what this means for your office’s computers.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 includes some relatively major changes – concessions for folks not using the operating system with a touchscreen. Most notably, the “Start Menu” has been more widely embraced – something MSFT has been reluctant to do, and an option business users have been demanding. Now, even when modern ‘metro’ style apps are in use, the taskbar remains visible. For multi-tasking business users, this feature was sorely missing.

taskbar-improvements-windows-8.1-update

As well, there are updates for the metro style interface – bringing some of the ‘hidden’ right sidebar features (such as search) out into the open. This has been, in our experience, one of the biggest confusing factors for new Windows 8.1 users.

start-screen-revised-small

For our Atlanta business IT support partners running Windows 8.1, rest assured we’ll be rolling this patch out ASAP! For those holding off on upgrading to Microsoft’s latest operating system, this is a small step in the right direction.

Finally, we’ve made some updates of our own to euclidnet.com – We’ve added a dynamic feed of our latest Facebook posts, and our latest Twitter posts, under our ‘about us‘ section. If you haven’t already, remember to Like us on facebook and Follow us on twitter to stay current on one of Atlanta’s best IT support providers, and our tech-tips blog.


How to : Quickly open a command prompt at a location using the Windows Explorer address bar

Ever needed to quickly open a command prompt at a particular location on your hard drive? In the regular course of providing tech support for our Atlanta business partners, we use this quick trick on an almost daily basis.

Simply type ‘cmd’ into your address bar, and voilà – a command prompt at your computer’s current location – in this case c:\Windows.

2014-03-07 tech support command prompt

 

Ridiculously simple, but something many folks don’t know! You can also open any number of other programs in the same manner – the address bar functions in basically the same way as the search dialog in the Windows 7 start menu.

If we’ve helped you out, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


How to : Fix duplicate pinned taskbar icons in Windows 7

A common and annoying problem with Windows 7’s “Pin to Taskbar” feature, is when an application accidentally gets pinned multiple times. You might have run into this issue, resulting in a taskbar that looks something like this :

duplicate taskbar icons

In this screenshot, there are two yellow VMWare icons. The program was launched using the icon on the left, but when it opens, it creates a second duplicate icon on the taskbar. Annoying!

How to remove duplicated pinned taskbar icons :

Taskbar icons get duplicated when a shortcut is pinned to the taskbar, rather than the program itself. The solution is to find and remove the extra shortcut. The most straightforward way to do this is simply to right click and “Unpin” all the icons for the program in question, launch the program via the Start Menu, and then right click the running program on the taskbar to re-pin it.

Sometimes we’ve run into situations where this doesn’t resolve the problem. There’s usually a hidden shortcut that is being referenced by the running program. In this case, the solution is to “Show Hidden Files” in Windows Explorer, and navigate to the system path for taskbar shortcuts. This path is : C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar – there you can attempt deleting the shortcut manually, and re-adding it once again.

Helped you out? Have questions? Let us know in the comments below!


Advisory : Microsoft ending support for XP computers and Office 2003 on April 8th, 2014

If you haven’t yet heard, Microsoft is formally ending support for computers running Windows XP, and Office 2003  on April 8th, 2014. Although this date has been announced for some time, we know a considerable number of people who still rely on systems using XP. Read more to find out about what this means to your organization.

2014-01-21 16_51_45-Support ends in 2014 for Windows XP and Office 2003!

Windows XP End-of-Life : What changes?

Although formal support will end for XP and Office 2003, systems will continue running indefinitely. The main changes to expect with XP’s end-of-life event are :

  1. No further operating system patches – Patches keep Windows up to date and at least reasonably protected from malicious attacks. With no further updates being released by Microsoft, XP and Office will become increasingly insecure and vulnerable to 3rd party malware and viruses.
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials will be discontinued for XP – Microsoft’s widely used anti-virus program, and its underlying “Windows Defender” software will no longer be updated. Paired with a lack of new operating system patches, this will only make XP even less attractive to the businesses which rely on it. Luckly (and somewhat bewilderingly), Microsoft just announced (Jan 15, 2014) they would continue releasing updates for MSE until July 14th, 2015.

Analysis and Next Steps

So, what is a responsible business owner to do? The answer, we think, is not simple. A great number of the world’s computers (an estimated 28%) still rely on XP. Integrated systems also tend to rely on XP, as it is a proven and stable development platform. Practically all U.S. ATMs, for instance, are reported to use the operating system. So, the chance Microsoft will extend support for XP is likely – a notion their Jan 15th announcement supports. And others in the community have expressed their disbelief about the true impact of XP’s ‘death’ as well.

But, all the same – while we won’t preach doom and gloom – it does make sense to begin migrating critical business systems from XP to a newer operating system – and of course, we’re here to help.


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