Microsoft has evolved, have you?

Posted by Videsh Juggernarth on 10 Apr 2019 11:00:00 AM

Are you aware of all the changes Microsoft is making in 2019?

Microsoft is an innovative company with ventures in VOIP, business applications, operating systems, search engines, and gaming platforms just to name a few. So, they are always cooking up something new. Considering the pace of change regarding technology, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to keep up. Here are a few notable upcoming changes that you should be aware of regarding Microsoft for this year and beyond.

Windows 7 support extended

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 on 14 January 2020 but will extend support beyond the planned shutdown. Before you get excited, you should know that the support will come at a cost. Not only will support be charged, but the  fee will double each year thereafter. Windows will not determine what to charge you from the year in which you opt-in, but from the year in which they will have initiated the fee. So, trying to opt into the service late will not really benefit you. In fact, after the third year, the fees charged make Windows Enterprise rates look cheap. If you want a more affordable option for keeping your Windows 7 then read about the Windows Virtual Desktop below, it also provides an easier way to transition to more recent software.

Windows 10 update

Windows 10 will get an update in April 2019. The update is called April 2019 update with it’s more technical name being Windows 10 version 1903 / 19H1. It is currently under Beta testing with Microsoft Insiders. You can expect the following from the update;

  • After last year’s Dark Theme, Microsoft saw  fit to gift us with a new Light Theme. The Light Theme will use softer colours on user interface elements like the Taskbar, Start Menu and Action centre.
  • Microsoft will simplify the Start Menu, particularly for new devices and users. The design will have a single column, fewer pre-installed apps and no top level tiles.
  • The Search and Cortana bars will be separated which will enable Microsoft to develop them independently going forward. Windows will now index and search all drives and folders rather than just documents, photos, and videos. Clicking on Cortana will continue to launch Microsoft’s digital assistant.
  • Windows will now reserve approximately 7Gigs of disk space for updates.
  • Microsoft will introduce Windows Sandbox, a lightweight environment which will enable you to run applications in isolation. After Sandbox is closed, all executable files are deleted as if they were never installed.

End of support for Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft will be discontinuing support for Windows 10 Mobile as of December 2019. This has been inevitable since 2017 when Microsoft announced it will no longer be releasing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile. Although there were no new releases under the operating system, Microsoft continued to provide software and security updates for it.  Back up for settings and some apps will be supported for a further 3 months and photo back-ups will be supported for a year. The company will focus its mobile efforts on building apps and services for IOS, and Android devices.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 end of life

Microsoft has made it known for some time now that it will no longer support or provide updates for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 installations. The deadline has been set for 14 January 2020. Installations that will still be using SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will function, but will find themselves exposed to security threats along with compliance issues.

Microsoft has provided a lot of information and advice on how users can migrate their installations to cloud services like Azure and onto the latest on-premise solution like SQL Server 2017. If users opt to migrate to the Azure Cloud they can get free extended security updates for their installations while they migrate. The extended service offer lasts for 3 years.

Going forward, the range of services offered by Microsoft is increasing and advancing, make sure you are too. Contact us here for more information.

Blur background will now be on Skype

Blurring your background is a feature that was found only on Microsoft Teams but it will now be added to Skype. The technology uses AI to only focus on the human form. You can access the video by hovering over the Skype video button and clicking on “blur my background”. The feature will be available for desktop and laptops running the latest version of Skype.

Remote desktop using Virtual Windows Desktop

Microsoft has announced a public preview of its Virtual Windows Desktop that runs on its Azure Cloud. Virtual Windows Desktop provides a remote desktop experience and remote applications on any device. Users will be able to run a full Windows 10 desktop and have access to Office 365 ProPlus. The service could be of interest to Windows 7 users for whom support is ending in 2020 because by using Virtual Windows Desktop they will get extended support into 2023 at no extra cost. Microsoft hopes to use the Virtual Windows Desktop as a way to transition clients from old versions of Windows to more recent versions.

Microsoft is always moving forward and so should your software. They are great at keeping users informed about their updates, but if you are not into all that reading then you should consider Microsoft cloud. The clear advantages of moving to  the cloud are lower costs that users would get along with automatic software and security updates. Going forward, the range of services offered by Microsoft is increasing and advancing, make sure you are too.

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