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Continuum and Window 10 Phones

Microsoft has a lofty vision for Windows 10 - one operating system core for all devices called OneCore. One of the keys to making that vision a reality for smartphones is a software feature called Continuum. With Continuum for phones, Microsoft believes any phone can be your PC. Microsoft aims to turn Windows 10 phones into full-blown PCs when they’re connected to PCs. Also, with Windows 10 phones, the devices will perform similarly to a traditional PC when they’re connected to an external monitor, along with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Continuum is a software tool that will aid Windows 10 in detecting what type of device a user is on and help the operating system configure itself accordingly. It is integral for Surface and other convertible tablets that double as laptops. For instance, Continuum will be able to know when you're using Windows 10 with a mouse and keyboard attachment and when you've switched to a touch interface with finger- and pen-based inputs.

Microsoft’s universal apps use the same basic code base across devices and scale to fit the screen they’re being used on. Continuum is Microsoft's solution for shifting among various form factors.

When a Windows Phone is plugged into a PC monitor, a PowerPoint app is treated like a PC app because it is in fact the same code that one would see for PowerPoint on a PC. When numerous tablet apps are opened, Continuum would switch them to PC-style apps when the device is docked. Even desktop-centric stuff will work just fine. Seamless copying and pasting between mobile-centric apps, and yes, even the legendary ALT-TAB are available now. Continuum for Phones changes the interface on the screen it's connected to and gives you extra tools on the handset as well. Microsoft calls it a "PC-like experience".


Windows 10's Mail app running on a Windows Phone connected to an external monitor, using Continuum.


When you first connect your phone to a keyboard and screen using the new Connect button in the Action Center (which Microsoft also refers to as 'docking'), a notification at the top of your phone screen asks if you want to use the phone as a trackpad to control the cursor on the other screen - that's an app that gives you an experience very like controlling an Xbox with the SmartGlass app on your phone. (It helps to turn the phone sideways, so it looks like a trackpad, and to put it down in front of the keyboard). Or you can keep using the handset with the usual phone interface. Apps you launch by touching the phone screen stay on the phone screen - so you could project PowerPoint for a presentation but keep your email and personal text messages off the big screen. There will be a gesture to move an app from the phone screen to the big screen and back.

If what you're running is a web application from the Windows Store, it will give you a different interface if it uses responsive design. But if it's an Android app packaged for Windows 10 for Phones (or an iOS app that the developer hasn't added extra features to), you'll just get the standard phone app interface, only bigger.

Soon, one can rely solely on a smartphone for their computing needs.

Microsoft says that Windows 10 would launch late July in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows 10 is showcased as a simpler, more modern OS that seamlessly ties together desktops, laptops and smartphones. Microsoft calls it not just another release of Windows "but a new generation of Windows built for an era for more personal computing, from Raspberry Pi to the holographic computer, where the mobility of the experience is what matters, not the mobility of the device."

Protect your PC from viruses

There are many preventive steps you can take to help protect your PC from viruses and other threats.

  • Use an antimalware app. Installing an antimalware app and keeping it up to date can help defend your PC against viruses and other malware (malicious software). Antimalware apps scan for viruses, spyware, and other malware trying to get into your email, operating system, or files. New threats can appear daily, so check the antimalware manufacturer's website frequently for updates.

    Windows Defender is free antimalware software included with Windows, and you can update it automatically through Windows Update.

  • Don't open email messages from unfamiliar senders, or email attachments that you don't recognize. Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the attachment. It's best not to open any attachment unless it's something you're expecting.

  • Use a pop-up blocker with your Internet browser. Pop-up windows are small browser windows that appear on top of the website you're viewing. Although most are created by advertisers, they can also contain malicious or unsafe code. A pop-up blocker can prevent some or all of these windows from appearing.

    Pop-up Blocker in Windows Internet Explorer is turned on by default.

  • If you're using Internet Explorer, make sure SmartScreen Filter is turned on. SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer helps protect you from phishing and malware attacks by warning you if a website or download location has been reported as unsafe.

  • Pay attention to Windows SmartScreen notifications. Be cautious about running unrecognized apps downloaded from the Internet. Unrecognized apps are more likely to be unsafe. When you download and run an app from the Internet, SmartScreen uses info about the app's reputation to warn you if the app isn't well-known and might be malicious.

  • Keep Windows updated. Periodically, Microsoft releases special security updates that can help protect your PC. These updates can help prevent viruses and other malware attacks by closing possible security holes.

    You can turn on Windows Update to make sure that Windows receives these updates automatically.

  • Use a firewall. Windows Firewall or any other firewall app can help notify you about suspicious activity if a virus or worm tries to connect to your PC. It can also block viruses, worms, and hackers from trying to download potentially harmful apps to your PC.

  • Use your Internet browser's privacy settings. Some websites might try to use your personal info for targeted advertising, fraud, and identity theft.

    If you're using Internet Explorer, you can adjust your privacy settings or restore the default settings whenever you want.

  • Make sure User Account Control (UAC) is turned on. When changes are going to be made to your PC that require administrator-level permission, UAC notifies you and gives you the chance to approve the change. UAC can help keep viruses from making unwanted changes. To open UAC, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.) Enter UAC in the search box, and then tap or click Change User Account Control settings.

  • Clear your Internet cache and your browsing history. Most browsers store info about the websites you visit and the info that you provide, like your name and address. While it can be helpful to have these details stored on your PC, there are times when you might want to delete some or all of them—for example, when you're using a public PC and don't want to leave personal info behind.

    -Microsoft Help pages

New Windows 10 Experiences

Microsoft is on its way to making Windows 10 the largest-ever open collaborative development effort Microsoft has ever shipped. Since they launched the Windows Insider Program in September, Microsoft has been joined by 1.7 million Windows Insiders, who have delivered over 800,000 pieces of feedback.

On 21st Jan 2015, Microsoft shared new details on the experience coming to Windows 10, including:

Cortana, Microsoft's personal digital assistant, comes to PC and tablet, for the first time with Windows 10.

Cortana.png 

Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing, with advanced features to control Cortana for more trustworthiness and transparency.

Windows 10 for phones and tablets – Windows 10 for phones and small tablets features a fast, fluid and familiar experience that seamlessly interacts with your PC.

A new web experience for Windows 10 – Code-named "Project Spartan," the next generation browser was built with greater interoperability, reliability and discoverability, with a new look and feel built just for Windows 10.

Spartan.png 

Advanced features include the ability to annotate by keyboard or pen directly on the webpage and easily share with friends, a reading view that is distraction free, displaying the article in a simplified layout for a great reading experience for Web articles online and offline, and the integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster.

Office universal apps on Windows 10 offer a consistent, touch-first experience across phone, tablet and PC with new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. Designed from the ground up to run on Windows, users can easily create and edit Word documents, annotate slides in real-time with new inking features or easily present PowerPoint presentations, and with new touch-first controls in Excel users can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse.

New universal applications will ship with Windows 10, offering innovative new experience applications, consistent across the device continuum, for Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People & Messaging, and Mail & Calendar. These built-in apps have an updated design that look and feel the same from app to app and device to device.  Content is stored and synced through OneDrive, enabling users to start something on one device and continue it on another.

Continuum Mode:  On 2in1 devices, Windows 10 will move easily between keyboard/mouse and touch/tablet as it detects the transition and conveniently switches to the new mode.

New Windows 10 Devices

​Windows 10 supports the broadest device family ever – from PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s to phones to Xbox and the Internet of Things.

Windows-10_Product-Family-500x281.jpg 

And on 21st Jan 2015, Microsoft brought in two new devices to the Windows 10 family: Microsoft Surface Hub and Microsoft HoloLens.

Holographic Future with Microsoft HoloLens

MSHoloLens_MixedWorld_LivingRoom_LongBrowser_RGB-500x333.png 

It was a special moment when Microsoft shared that Windows 10 is the world's first holographic computing platform – complete with a set of APIs that enable developers to create holographic experiences in the real world. With Windows 10, holograms are Windows universal apps and Windows universal apps can work as holograms, making it possible to place three-dimensional holograms in the world around users to communicate, create and explore in a manner that is far more personal and human.

Microsoft HoloLens is the world's first untethered holographic computer – no wires, phones or connection to a PC needed. Microsoft HoloLens allows users to view holograms in high definition and hear them in surround sound, even if they are behind the users. And with advanced sensors, Microsoft HoloLens can see what users are looking at and understand what users are communicating with their hands and voice.  By putting the user at the center of the Windows 10 computing experience, Microsoft HoloLens allows the user to create, access information, enjoy entertainment, and communicate in new and exciting ways.

Microsoft Surface Hub Unlocks the Power of Group Computing

MS Surface Hub.png 

From no screen to 84", with Microsoft Surface Hub Microsoft introduced a new large screen device designed for the way teams in the workplace naturally interact and come together.  Custom versions of Skype for Business and OneNote are integrated into the Windows 10 shell to take full advantage of the built in cameras, sensors and mics, as well as the new screen that was built from the ground up for ink and touch. The Surface Hub features state of the art digital white boarding, instant remote conferencing, the ability for multiple people to share and edit content on the screen from any device, and a trusted platform for large-screen apps. Available in two sizes – 55" and 84" – the Surface Hub removes the current limitations of traditional conference room scenarios to empower teams to create their best work together.

Share content from any App in Windows 8.1

The Share charm is a quick way to share files, photos, and info with people you know, or save things for later, without leaving the app you're in. You can share a photo with just a few people at a time, share a link with your entire social network, or send an interesting article to Reading List app so you can read it later.

You can share things from most apps with the Share charm. If you want to share things from the desktop, you can share through email or use OneDriveto share files and photos.

To share files

  1. In an app, swipe the item you want to share to select it. (If you're using a mouse, right-click the item you want to share to select it.)

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Share.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Share.)

  3. Tap or click the person, app, or device you want to share with, and follow the on-screen instructions.

To share a link

  1. Open an app and browse to the website, article, or map you want to share.

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Share.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Share.)

  3. Tap or click the person, app, or device you want to share with, and follow the on-screen instructions.

To change settings for Share

 

You can change which apps are listed in the Share charm, and how they appear.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Search and apps, and then tap or click Share.

  3. Change the settings you want.

Search from Everywhere using Bing Smart Search

The Search charm in Windows 8.1 uses Bing Smart Search so you can search your PC, the web, and OneDrive, plus some apps and the Windows Store. You can search once to get results from everywhere, and you can go back to your search results without having to search again. Here are the steps…

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.) You can also press the Windows logo key +S, or press the Windows logo key and start typing to open Search. And if you're on the Start screen, you can tap or click the Search button , or just start typing. (If you don't see the Search button on your Start screen, you don't have the latest update for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
  2. Enter your search term. As you type, you'll see a list of search results and suggestions.
  3. If you see the app, file, or setting you're looking for in the list, tap or click it to open it. To see all of the results for your search term, including all the web results from Bing, tap or click the Search button to go to the search results page. You can also tap or click one of the search suggestions.
  4. On the search results page, tap or click a search result to open it.

Your results are grouped by category and by where they're from. For example, the photos on your PC will be grouped together, and so will the photos from the web. The results from your personal files on your PC and OneDrive will be listed first, and then results from apps and the web. Thumbnails give you an idea of what you're getting before you tap or click. To see all the search results for a specific category, tap or click the See all link for that category.

You can narrow down the search by clicking on the arrow above the Search box and clicking on the category you want.

Windows Azure for Old Hardware

Microsoft India has come up with a novel way to help Small and Medium enterprises in India leverage its Windows Azure online services by offering a trade in program – Azure credits for old server hardware.

Windows Azure is a purpose-built cloud-based platform. Designed to surpass typical cloud advantage, Azure is what customers need to succeed in a fast growing and deeply connected IT environment. Its unique integrated infrastructure makes building and deploying applications easy, reducing time to market. Businesses can accelerate with the help of this trusted Microsoft ecosystem, minimizing costs at every step. It also enables transforming a data center, experiencing on-demand scalability and leveraging the power of the hybrid cloud.

Azure is growing fast, at a rate of over 200% globally but in India, cloud computing is yet to gain momentum. Still, according to Microsoft, Azure is gaining in popularity with about 2000 Indian customers added each month. With 5crore+ SMEs in India, the current offer should incentivize a large majority of these enterprises to make the switch to cloud.

The main reservation for today's business not adopting the cloud platform is the existing set up at the datacentres. All these years they have invested hugely in acquiring hardware to build an infrastructure as large as is demanded by their business and in many instances, several times more than the demand. Now, all of a sudden there is a splurge in the online services that offer much more than what the on premise setup offers and that on a sustainable financial model. It is certainly an attractive proposition. But now, the question is what do we do with all that we already have – and more importantly - all the money that has been spent on the hardware – the costliest component of the on premise model.

This is where Microsoft jumps in to rescue the IT decision makers from an embarrassing situation. They will appoint a local agency called the Recycle partner to evaluate the customers' hardware and depending on the value of the hardware that is proposed to be traded in, the customers can get financial credit towards Azure services.

Finally, here are some numbers…Any SME that has a minimum of 250 desktops or users can avail this offer. A minimum sign in commitment of $3000 per month from the customer is required as eligibility for the trade in program. The credits will be adjusted against billable Azure subscriptions from two to four months. Customers can save from at least $1000 through this trade in program. Azure Services worth $4000 can be availed for $3000 - $1000 adjustable over a period of 2 months@ $500 per month. Services worth $37000 can be availed for $25000 - $12000 adjustable over a period of 4 months @ $4000 per month.

In order to get started an enterprise owner would have to call Microsoft's number 1800 3070 4660 or log in to http://www.microsoft.com/india/movetoazure .

Windows To Go with you wherever you go

You can carry your workspace in your pocket today. No. I am not talking about your smartphone that runs Windows Mobile. It is "Windows To Go with you everywhere you go".

Users of Windows 8.1 Enterprise (corporate customers who have Software assurance coverage) today have the luxury of creating a complete corporate image of their desktop - with apps and data – in a USB drive and carry it along wherever they go. Users can boot from this USB device into any compatible hardware (that has the configuration enough to run Windows 7) and start working on their applications, create files and manage their data. The host computer's underlying hardware and compute power is made use of by the OS and works in a sandboxed atmosphere – the internal/local hard -disks will be considered offline by the guest system. (Alternately, if a W2G device is inserted in a running system, it will not be listed by Windows explorer).

All of the great technologies available with Windows 8.1 Enterprise work with Windows To Go: Group Policy, BitLocker, BranchCache, AppLocker, App-V, User Experience Virtualization, and DirectAccess. Windows To Go is literally Windows 8.1 Enterprise in a pocket.

People who

  • want to work from home
  • want to use their own devices (BYOD scenarios)
  • want to evaluate the Windows 8.1 OS
  • want to remain productive in the unexpected events of PC crashes

might consider this WTG a very powerful feature.

Fortunately, there are a number of Windows to go certified USB devices the will give the user this wonderful mobile experience. Not using a Microsoft-certified USB disk comes with a few, potentially deal-breaking shortcomings: It's not an official Windows To Go image, and you don't get your personal (purchased) apps or other personalization on installation. Although you can install applications on the disk, you have to sync your purchased apps manually. What you do have is a fully functional Windows 8 system that's bootable from the USB drive. If you're using it as a portable desktop system, you have achieved your goal.

Apart from the local internal disks not being accessible, there are a few more things that we need to note while using WTG.

  • The Bitlocker dirve encryption will not use the Trusted Platform module (TPG) but only a pre-operating system boot password will be used for security.
  • Hybernate is disabled by default – can be enabled using group policies
  • Windows recovery environment is not available – a new image has to built again in the device in the event of a crash
  • Refreshing or resetting a Windows To Go workspace is not supported -
  • Windows store is disabled by default – can be enabled if the device will be locked to a certain hardware device

Windows To Go drives can be booted on multiple computers. When a Windows To Go workspace is first booted on a host computer it will detect all hardware on the computer and install any needed drivers. When the Windows To Go workspace is subsequently booted on that host computer it will be able to identify the host computer and load the correct set of drivers automatically.

The applications that you want to use from the Windows To Go workspace should be tested to make sure they also support roaming. Some applications bind to the computer hardware which will cause difficulties if the workspace is being used with multiple host computers.

BitLocker and BitLocker To Go

​Today, more laptops are sold than are desktops. And tablet PCs have exceeded sales than all PCs put together. The reason – Mobility. People are expected to provide data wherever they are – whether in Office or outside. And how can they do that if they don't have access to data? Data is expected to travel with the user and has resulted in a crawl of devices.

"A desktop on every desk" was the vision of Microsoft's Bill Gates which today seems a puny aspiration. Most of the users handle more than two devices at any given time. So the data that is being carried in the laptops and tablets are prone to mishandling or pilferage. Moreover, since these devices are portable, it is carried everywhere and the risk of losing them by misplacing them or being stolen is very high and real. This is when we need to seriously look at protecting the data in these devices.

Microsoft has included a very powerful feature in its new client OS called the BitLocker to prevent loss of data due to the loss of the device. (This was available even in the Windows Vista OS but has picked up popularity lately with the Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 OSs flooding the scene within a short span of three years). BitLocker protects the data in a hard disk from unauthorized access by encrypting it and enabling decryption of data using a password. Here are some additional details:

  • Prevents unauthorized access to data on lost or stolen PCs
  • Supports full volume encryption of OS and Data volumes
  • Offers variety of pre-boot authentication options:
    • TPM*-only, PIN/Password, Network Unlock, USB storage
  • Supports PCs, Servers, and "Slate" form factors

TPM - Trusted Platform Module - an additional security hardware chip built inside the PC system.

Since external storage devices like pen drives and other USB devices are extensively being used, the need for protecting the data in these devices was also felt. Windows 8/8.1 has this additional security feature in place in the name of BitLocker to Go. Here are some additional details on this feature:

  • Used to protect data on removable drives
  • Able to deny or grant write access to volumes by organization
  • Enables read-only access on Windows Vista & Windows XP

Why should one consider retiring Win XP today?

Windows XP is reaching EOS on April 8th 2014.

What does it mean to users?

  • Users will no longer receive security patches, hotfixes, or incident support.
  • Running on an older OS platform is - on a technical level - less secure, more difficult to manage, and expensive to maintain
  • Running on an older OS platform also exposes customer to business and regulatory risks they need to manage. Users may incur costs as well as the technical issues relating to custom support.

Over the past 13 years, Microsoft has made considerable advancements in its operating system to increase end user productivity, enhance security and control, while reducing overall IT cost through streamlined PC management.  While the innovations from Windows XP were game changers back in 2001, users today need more than the desktop of ten years ago to stay competitive in the 21st century. Users today require more technology choice to meet the diverse workstyles they need to get the job done. The days of post-it reminders sitting at their 15" CRT monitor with multiple Windows open on one device (Windows XP machine) will not enable users to get the job done and the businesses to remain competitive in a global economic landscape.

Anywhere, any time is the new normal. People work from multiple locations and from multiple devices (according to Forrester's "2013 Mobile Workforce adoption trends):

29% of global workforce can be characterized as "anywhere, anytime" information workers, up from 23% in 2011

Nearly 80% of workers spend at least some portion of their time working out of the office

BYOD is growing and going mainstream; mobile devices, smartphones and tablets are a fast growing category

According to analysts (Forrester) we will see 905M tablets in use for work and home by 2017.

From the same study, today BYOD scenarios span at least 258M of the global info workers and it is all but unavoidable. According to ZDNet and TechRepublic's BYOD Business Strategy Survey, 62% of companies either already have Bring Your Own Device allowances in place, or plan to by the end of 2013.

Mobile devices require apps - and Mobile apps are a fast growing category as well (anecdotally, Windows Store exceeded 100M app installs 90 days after Launch in October'12; number of apps in Store quadrupled in the same time)

According to some estimates, by 2015, mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.

66% of organizations are investing in mobile app development, according to "Building a Mobility Strategy" - Corporate Executive Board. March 2012.

This dynamic, connected, global environment creates new opportunities for companies, to drive new business, however it also means a tremendous challenge for enterprises today  - enabling mobile professional  securely and efficiently – introduces lots of complexity.

Mobility (and Mobile technologies) has become one of the top technology priorities for CIOs in 2012. According to Gartner's "Amplifying the Enterprise:  the 2012 CIO Agenda", mobile technologies are #2 in CIO priorities list in 2012, after #3 in 2011 as a result of the complexity and challenge companies face as they try to tackle the new opportunities.

There are 3 key reasons to retire Windows XP and move to a modern OS (Windows 7 and Windows 8).

  • Get Value with Windows 7 and Windows 8 today
  • Eliminate Risks of Windows XP End of Support
  • Deployment is easier than you think

Get Value with Windows 7 and Windows 8 today

Windows 8 compatibility with Windows 7 gives customers flexibility to have a custom adoption path that best works for them, bringing in Windows 8 for targeted scenarios side by side with Windows 7 in their environment. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 deliver significant benefits over Windows XP.

Getting Value with Windows 7

Windows 7 offers customers a number of proven benefits - high performance and responsiveness, modern UI, helping to increase end user productivity.  Windows 7 Enterprise offers great   advancements to IT organizations - for example, Windows 7 provides a more protected and secure environment than Windows XP with BitLocker™ Drive Encryption and Bitlocker to Go helping to ensure sensitive data is protected in your organization, right out of the box.

Other  great Windows 7 Enterprise capabilities that allow business customers  to  increase user productivity and mobility  while  helping to save costs and ensure high standards on enterprise data protection, security, manageability -  include features such as Applocker,  DirectAccess, PowerShell and many other great features.  Additionally, customers are leaving money on the table by staying on Windows XP as opposed to moving to Windows 7.

For example:

  • Bombardier Aerospace saved $160K in third party security licensing using security enhancements built into Windows 7
  • Leading financial services firm, Baker Tilly has quantified a $191 (US) per PC savings by moving to Windows 7
  • Overall  our TCO studies demonstrated up to 20%  savings in just direct IT costs

Getting Value with Windows 8 today

Windows 8 delivered experiences and devices that users want; while providing companies with enterprise grade solutions,. Here are specific investments we are making with Windows 8  for the enterprise.

Devices and Experiences Users Love.

Great Tablet for Business Users. We hear from business users today that they have to choose between convenience and productivity. With Windows 8 tablet, users can have a "no compromise" experience. Windows 8 delivers Touch first experience along with full support for mouse and keyboard – no compromise experience where users can have the convenience and mobility of a tablet, power and familiar experience of the full PC and ease to effortlessly move between work and personal activities. Also, with Windows 8, tablets users can have connected experience with apps from the Windows Store, while they also can use desktop LOB and productivity apps they use today on Windows7.

New Possibilities in Mobile Productivity. Windows 8 delivers other technologies that help people stay productive as they are increasingly mobile.

Enterprise Grade Solutions

Enhanced end to end security. From client device to network to back end infrastructure, Windows 8 offers features that improve the security and reliability of the systems in your organization. From power-on to power-off, Windows 8 provides a more secure foundation to help keep your businesses running.

Management and Virtualization Advancements. Windows 8 includes enhancements to manageability and virtualization features to help IT administrators manage their client PCs.

Eliminate Risks of Windows XP End of Support

Windows XP end of support is less than 1 year away and most enterprise deployments can take 18 to 24 months leaving little time to plan, test and deploy a new OS, while still being on supported software.

Customers need to migrate their PC fleet prior to EOS date to avoid the significant risk of running unsupported software (with no access to security updates and any other public support from Microsoft); and potential Custom Support costs.

Custom Support agreements to receive critical security fixes, non-security (bug) fixes and paid incidents can be as much as $200K per year for SA customers and up to $500K per year for non-SA customers.

Gartner, in their June 2011 report stressed their urgency to retire Win XP and deploy Win 7.

Gartner predicted that more than 50% of organizations that had not started deploying Windows 7 by early 2012 will not complete their deployments before Windows XP support ends, and will incur increased support costs.

Gartner predicts many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP.  (That includes Office 2013 that is not supported on Windows XP).

Gartner further ads PC OEMs are likely to reduce the number of PC models for which XP drivers are available.

Additionally, Office 2003 shares the same EOS date of April 8, 2014  – so no security fixes there either.  

Deployment is easier than you think

Microsoft offers a variety of tools and resources to help with the deployment project

Leverage Available Programs

  • Migration path: The Deployment Project
  • Accelerate programs - Jumpstart PoCs & Pilots and other deployment resources
  • Springboard Series on TechNet

Take advantage of high compatibility between Windows 7 & Windows 8

  • Windows 7 apps run on Windows 8
  • Windows 7 devices perform with  Windows 8 faster than with Windows 7
  • Windows 8 works well with customers' existing Windows 7 infrastructure
  • Customers can deploy Windows 7 side by side with Windows 8
  • Building on the strong fundamentals, Windows 7 delivers the key capabilities that enterprise customers have asked for –enabling user productivity and giving users anytime, anywhere access to information they need to get their work done; while providing tools for IT to support their business securely, protect corporate data, achieve cost efficiencies, and take advantage of the virtualization trends in the client computing arena.

Make Users Productive Anywhere. Work from home, on the road, or in a branch office and be as productive as if you were at a desk in headquarters.

Enhance Security & Control. Extend the security foundation with encryption for portable (USB) drives and IT control over which applications can run.

Streamline PC Management. Windows 7 makes it easier to manage and deploy desktops, laptops, and virtual environments while leveraging the same tools and skills you use now.

With Windows 8 Microsoft is taking their commitment to deliver experiences and devices that users love and demand; along with enterprise grade solutions, on the new level.

Here are specific investments Microsoft is making with Windows 8.

Devices and Experiences Users Love.

Great Tablet for Business Users. We hear from business users today that they have to choose between convenience and productivity. With Windows 8 tablet (specifically x86 Tablet), users can have a "no compromise" experience. Windows 8 delivers Touch first experience along with full support for mouse and keyboard – no compromise experience where users can have the convenience and mobility of a tablet, power and familiar experience of the full PC and ease to effortlessly move between work and personal activities. Also, with Windows 8, tablets users can have connected experience with apps from the Windows Store, while they also can use desktop LOB and productivity apps they use today on Windows7.

New Possibilities in Mobile Productivity. Windows 8 can deliver other technologies that help people stay productive. In particular, it will help people stay productive as they are increasingly mobile.

Enterprise Grade Solutions.

Enhanced end to end security. From client device to network to back end infrastructure, Windows 8 offers features that improve the security and reliability of the systems in your organization. From power-on to power-off, Windows 8 provides a more secure foundation to help keep your businesses running.

Management and Virtualization Advancements. Windows 8 includes enhancements to manageability and virtualization features to help IT administrators manage their client PCs.

Looking at the key threats and how these evolved over time shows that only Modern OSs (Windows 7 and Windows 8) are fully equipped to secure the end user the organizations from external attacks.

Consider migrating to Windows 7 and Windows 8 to take advantage of the new features of the latest versions of Windows to improve security, end user productivity and supportability.

Extended support for Windows 7 will be provided until 2020

Impact:

  • Security Updates and patches to discontinue.
  • No more product fixes and service packs
  • No. of patches released in last 2 years below
Operating SystemNo. of Patches
Windows XP Professional with SP23
Windows XP Professional with SP3154
Total157

 

  • Organizations that continue to be on Windows XP will expose themselves to security risks and in unsupported environment
  • End of Support will leave users of XP unprotected from future security threats like Remote Code Execution (RCE) or Denial Of Service (DOS)
  • As previously mentioned, if users haven't already moved to the new OS, now is the time to begin XP migrations. Users still running Windows XP in April 2014 will face the risk of running unsupported software. Further, most new hardware options will likely not support the Windows XP operating system.
  • Organizations should look at deploying Windows 7 and getting all the benefits from this Operating system. Microsoft advises customers to look at adopting Windows 7 and Windows 8 side-by-side.
  • Especially, users that would like to take advantage of the new tablet and slate devices, should look into deploying Windows 8. Those types of devices are great for a variety of different types of users. Users will also want to start building applications that can leverage the Windows 8 experience. So those are great areas in which to begin investigations.
  • To get ready for Windows 8, there are some infrastructure preparations that should be undertaken. For example, you need to make sure your management tools and security software fully support Windows 8.  But given the growing trends around "bring your own device" scenarios, you also should plan for supporting employee-owned Windows 8 (and Windows RT) devices on your corporate network.
  • When you decide to deploy a new Windows operating system, you need to do a significant amount of preparation. First, you need to make sure all of your applications have been identified and are ready to go. In some cases, that might mean testing; in other cases, it might mean packaging them and making them available for installation, either during the deployment process or later from an enterprise app store. 
  • In parallel to that, you need to make sure your infrastructure is ready for the operating system. For example, you may need to make sure that your systems management tools have been upgraded to the needed version for the new OS. You probably need to perform some steps to make sure the new Windows version can be properly activated. And there's always the opportunity to make infrastructure upgrades to support new functionality such as Direct Access. 
  • While those preparation tasks are going on, you need to create a master image for the new OS. Over the years, this process has matured with the current recommended practice to be a completely-automated process that requires no user interaction – when it's time to create a new image, make slight adjustments to the process, then kick off the process to create a new image – come back an hour or two later and the process is complete. 
  • Then there is the deployment process itself: taking that image and installing it on new and existing computers. This too should be completely automated and well-tested so that you have confidence that it will take care of all the finer points: migrating all the user settings and data, reinstalling the applications, etc. – basically, making sure that the user can be immediately productive (and happy) once the deployment completes.
  • It's also important to note that none of this should be considered throw-away or one-time work. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to continue maintaining this process and using it even after the new OS deployment project has completed. Think about break-fix scenarios – when you have a good, trusted process, you can adopt new support policies such as "let's rebuild the computer if we can't solve the problem within an hour", reducing overall support costs. There are also always new computers being purchased, new applications or application versions being acquired, etc. This really is a permanent infrastructure investment.
  • There are a lot of tools that you can use for your deployment project. All of these mentioned here are offered by Microsoft at no cost.
    • MDT - Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
    • WDS - Windows Deployment Server
    • ACT - Application Compatibility Toolkit
    • MAP - Microsoft Assessment & Planning Toolkit