End of Life Issues for Windows XP

Who plans a funeral years and years in advance? Microsoft – that’s who!

This year on April 8th, Microsoft officially ends Windows XP operating system’s life cycle. Even with over 600 million worldwide users, Microsoft will no longer sell or support Windows XP and Office 2003. There will be no automatic fixes, updates, free assisted online technical support and security updates. Unfortunately, many of the 600 million users either don’t know or have forgotten about the funeral. If you like it or not, it’s time to accept the death of XP and make a plan for the future.

“When XP goes out of support, it’ll be a lot like driving a car that you can’t buy parts for anymore,” said Jay Paulus, Microsoft’s Director of Windows Small Business Marketing.

If you are feeling like you missed the memo, apparently you are not alone. Microsoft’s customer surveys indicate that for enterprises with 5-250 employees, only 55% of them know about the end of XP and 70% have no idea what the change will entail or how it will impact their business!

Are you part of this group?

Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues

You should take this situation seriously and find out immediately if any of your computers are still running XP. If the answer is yes, your business can be negatively impacted with some significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Windows XP migration plan.

  • Security Risks: The biggest problem is the security threat to your business. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information are vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. There is a strong likelihood that malicious viruses will be unleashed on XP’s “zero day”, leaving undefended computers immobilized and viruses spreading quickly over the net to PCs still operating on XP. No business owner wants to think about a virus spreading through all of the computers that keep your business functioning.
  • Compliance Issues: For many businesses, continuing to operate XP can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation. 
  • Upgrade Expenses: As a business owner trying to control costs, do you think an upgrade will be too expensive? Think again. Some experts view a business that continues to run XP as a liability bordering on irresponsibility. The problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade. 
  • Custom Support Available for a Price: For businesses in denial about the end of XP, support will actually remain available after April 8, 2014 but at the annual cost of $200 per device. Depending on the number of computers your business is using, it’s not much of a bargain. In reality, this is only a temporary, contingency plan.

Security and compliance are perhaps the two most critical issues facing the business community in regards to the end of the XP life cycle. Tim Rains, Microsoft’s Director of Trustworthy Computing, stated in Microsoft’s Security Blog, “After April 8, attackers will likely have more information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP than defenders.”

Do You Have an XP Migration Plan in Place?

Windows-7-or-Windows-8Microsoft is fully invested in ending XP’s life cycle, so this is not a situation you can simply ignore. It’s happening on April 8, 2014, so mark your calendar. Most large organizations have been working on their migration plans for years. For small-medium sized business owners, the hour is getting late so we strongly encourage you to take action today!

Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer greater efficiency for enhanced productivity; more fully integrated WiFi and Bluetooth; improved user-interface; less down time and decreased labor costs for repairs. Again, Computer Troubleshooters encourages you to take this situation seriously and develop a migration plan immediately. Our experts can help you understand your XP migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy for your business. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today before it’s too late.

Combating Computer Fatigue: How to Protect Yourself

If your job has you sitting at a desk or computer all day, you’re probably beginning to feel the effects. And while some may say sitting isn’t strenuous at all, there are certainly pains and aches that a lot of us acquire from our daily desk jobs.

How do you avoid the fatigue, aches, and strains your desk job may be causing you? We have a few useful tips that should have you feeling better.

Eyestrain: If you look at a computer eight hours a day, you need to take care of your eyes. New research shows that people who sit in front of a computer for as little as two hours per day are at risk for Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

So what do you do? Here’s a good rule of thumb: The 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This relieves your eyes. When we’re reading or working at a computer, we tend not to blink as often. This can result in dry eyes. Make a conscious effort to blink more often.

Neck strain: Neck pain, stiffness, tight shoulder pain and upper shoulder tension – call it what you want. It all can be caused by your desk job. So how do you combat it? Become aware of how you’re sitting. Your elbows should be at 90-degree angles to your keyboard. If your shoulders are drooped to reach a low keyboard or they’re raised to reach a high desk, that constant tension could be causing your shoulder pain. Look for a keyboard tray or adjust your seat height to achieve the 90 degrees.

If neck stiffness or pain is the culprit, examine where your screen monitor is. It should be at eye level (or a tad lower) and straight ahead of you. If you’re working at looking at a monitor to the side, you’re going to feel it. Likewise, if you’re constantly tilting your neck up or down to see your screen, those movements add up. Adjust it properly.

Back Aches: A stiff back can ruin anyone’s workday, especially if you have a desk job. As more and more people use laptops over desktops, back pain is becoming especially common. Laptops weren’t initially designed for long-term use, and due to their design, people are often hunched over or seated in improper seating for such long-term work.

So what can you do if you’re suffering from back pain? Make sure that your seat is adjusted properly. You should be seated upright, and your feet should be planted flat on the floor. If they aren’t, look into buying a footstep for yourself.

Also, be sure that your lumbar is supported. Look into an ergonomic chair – especially ones made for computer work with adjustable armrests. You can even opt to sit on a stability ball, which naturally encourages you to sit upright. They’re also great for strengthening your abs while you sit and balance, which will help to strengthen your back muscles.

Lastly, get up and stretch your back every hour. A good rule of thumb is to stretch in the opposite direction of your slouch. So if you’re hunched over, arch your back to stretch those muscles in the opposite direction. Also, stand against a wall and push your shoulder blades back, again stretching those muscles in a new direction.

With these few tips, we hope that your eyes, neck, and back will feel better. No desk job should be painful, so keep these tips in mind and use them in your n

Free Consultation for a Secure and Reliable Backup System

Take advantage of this offer today!

What would you do if you were working on some critically important financial data at your office and suddenly the screen went blank and your computer crashed? What if your computer was destroyed in a fire or stolen at the airport? The thought that you had lost all of your data would be awful. Because you have a secure backup system in place, all of the information can easily be restored. You do have a reliable backup system – correct?

In any of those disastrous scenarios, without a secure backup system you definitely have a major problem on your hands. Attempts to fully recover lost data can be extremely expensive or in the case of a missing computer, it’s very likely an impossible task. We strongly encourage you to be proactive and establish a backup plan immediately. Even if you already have a backup plan in place, you should re-evaluate the solution as technology is evolving rapidly.

Computer Troubleshooters recommends on-line backup as your best solution to ensure the security of your business data and also your personal information. On-line backup provides protection for your data in the event of a computer crash, theft or natural disaster while also delivering an elevated level of security.

Your local Computer Troubleshooters will be happy to meet with you for a Free Consultation to discuss an on-line backup system for your business or home. Make an appointment now!

Do You Have a Reliable and Tested Backup System in Place?

Imagine that you are working on some critical financial data at the office or perhaps sorting through family photographs on your computer at home. What would you do if the computer containing all of your business and/or personal information crashed and your entire “digital life” suddenly vanished? What would you do if your computer was lost in a fire, destroyed in a flood or stolen at the airport? Do these scenarios put you into an automatic panic thinking about your data? At least the information can be recovered because you have a reliable and tested backup solution in place. Right?

Backing up is something we all know we are supposed to do. Yet, sometimes we feel that we are simply too busy to spend the time researching various secure backup solutions or we feel that money should be budgeted in other areas. Many of us are still relying on old tapes, stacks of disks and USB flash drives as our backup plan. Even if you have an external hard drive backing up your computer, this system isn’t entirely foolproof. External hard drives can also crash or be stolen and all of your information will be gone. Once disaster strikes and all of your business or personal information have been wiped away, it’s too late to think about what you should have done. Trying to recover this information is impossible in most situations and extremely costly.

We strongly encourage you to be proactive and establish a backup plan immediately. Even if you already have a backup plan in place, you should reevaluate the solution as technology is evolving rapidly!

Backup Solutions Move Online

Backup Solutions Move Online As ominous as the disaster scenarios above may sound, the good news is that backup options have become significantly more reliable and widely used. Technology and increased internet speeds have switched backup processes to on-line data storage. Here are a few informative pointers on how on-line backup systems work:

  • The on-line backup provider will download their software to your computer.
  • The application simply runs in the background backing up your data to the provider’s secure storage servers. It’s a simple automated system that backs up everything on your computer. Not just select files – everything.
  • Most on-line backup providers encrypt stored data in a class known as “Bank Grade Security.” With this high-level of data encryption, there is no need to worry that your business or personal information can be seen by others.
  • A user friendly interface enables you to set-up a backup schedule and to download and restore files once the files are backed up.
  • Think of on-line backup as insurance for your data. If you lose any files, you retrieve the information via the on-line backup system. You pay a monthly fee to keep your data insured.
  • On-line backup keeps your file structure intact. You can search for backup information just as you would find the information filed on your computer. It’s efficient and user friendly.
  • On-line backups provide easy recovery if disaster happens to strike.

Why On-Line Backup is Your Best Solution

Why On-Line Backup is Your Best SolutionOn-line backup is the best solution for ensuring the security of your business data and also personal information. On-line backup provides protection for your data in the event of a computer crash, theft or natural disaster while also delivering an elevated level of security. Within the realm of on-line backup solutions, there are a number of vendors and solutions to consider. Contact your local Computer Troubleshooters to help you determine the best backup scenario for your business or home use. Be sure that your data is safe, secure and backed up.

Did You Know Utilizing Outsourced IT Support Can Benefit Your Business?

A business owner can contract for outsourced IT support services with a provider in the neighbourhood, across town or on the other side of the country. Some IT service providers even come to the client’s site. Computer Troubleshooters already offers this type of skilled IT service to many of our clients. Whatever the particulars of the chosen outsourced IT arrangement might be, the practice is increasingly popular because there are many advantages to this service. Here’s a list of the top four benefits you can take advantage of by outsourcing your IT support services:

  • Benefit 1: Control costs by eliminating full time staff to manage IT functions. By outsourcing IT support responsibilities, you pay only for the specific tasks you need accomplished. You can also control your initial capital outlay for IT infrastructure
  • Benefit 2: Expertise and efficiency is immediately available by outsourcing your IT functions. IT service providers have a wide range of technical expertise and are focused on delivering efficient strategies and outcomes to their clients. As a business owner, you won’t need to worry about a full-time employee being trained, skilled and experienced for each new IT project. Simply call your IT service provider and a skilled professional is available to help.
  • Benefit 3: Stay competitive even if you don’t have a big budget for IT expenses. Large companies may have in-house tech professionals and cutting-edge technology, but smaller businesses generally don’t have the financial resources to support these
  • Benefit 4: Focus on your business by not wasting time worrying about IT headaches. Business owners can save both time and money by working with a skilled IT service provider who is an expert in the field. By outsourcing IT responsibilities, you can streamline business practices and focus on your core responsibility – running your business.

We are based in Christchurch and aiming to be your Trusted IT Advisor.