Network Synergy Blog

Network Synergy has been serving the Trumbull area since 1988, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: Touch Keyboard Capabilities in All Windows 10 Devices

b2ap3_thumbnail_touch_windows_10_tips_400.jpgSpecial text characters are an integral part of typing. For the most part, however, they are not something that your normal, run-of-the-mill keyboard or laptop keypad is able to access easily. Luckily, for Windows 10 users, there is a shortcut that allows you to access all sorts of special characters.

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Tip of the Week: Here’s an Easy Way to Update Your Hardware Drivers in Windows 10

b2ap3_thumbnail_upgrade_drivers_400.jpgThe average employee and business owner relies on various hardware solutions to go about their day-to-day duties. These hardware devices--think keyboards, wireless mouses, external microphones, and any USB devices--utilize drivers which allow for inter-device compatibility. What happens when these drivers aren’t installed or kept up to date? Your technology suffers, and so does your productivity.

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Tip of the Week: How to Download Your Favorite Windows 10 Lock Screen Images

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_images_400.jpgWhat happens when you lock your Windows 10 PC? Unless you’ve changed your lock screen settings, you’re greeted with a dynamic background image that changes every day or so. Sometimes, Windows will show you an image that’s so good that you’ll want to download it so you can look at it more. But how does one go about this? For this week’s tip, we’ll show you how!

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Tip of the Week: How to Navigate Windows 10 and Find the App You Need

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_apps_400.jpgYour workstation is equipped with all of your necessary software solutions, but sometimes it can be challenging to find a specific app. If you want to see a list of all applications on your device, Windows 10 makes it easy. The key to doing so lies in the Start menu.

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Tip of the Week: A Step-By-Step Guide to Customize Your Windows 10 Notifications

b2ap3_thumbnail_control_windows_10_notifications_400.jpgWindows 10’s updates have provided users with entirely new ways to receive notifications, including the ability to sync their notifications via Android’s Cortana app. However, you’ll be happy to hear that you can control how these notifications appear. We’ll walk you through some basic steps on how to customize your Windows 10 notifications.

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Microsoft Makes Windows 10 Enterprise Affordable for SMBs By Charging Monthly

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_as_a_service_400.jpgBusinesses used to paying upfront for Windows may be surprised to learn that the newest offering by Microsoft, Windows 10 Enterprise edition, will have a monthly charge. For some organizations, this move may be enough for them to rethink how they buy and manage their software.

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Free Windows 10 Upgrade Coming to an End on July 29th

b2ap3_thumbnail_last_chance_for_free_upgrade_to_windows_10_400.jpgOver the past year, Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, has gained a massive user base. With over 300 million devices worldwide running it, it’s safe to say that Windows 10 has, thus far, been a commercial success. However, the biggest reason for upgrading to Windows 10 (the free upgrade) will soon expire. So, are you going to take advantage of this, or wait until later?

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Microsoft Sets Itself Up Nicely With Windows Store Loophole

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_logo_enterprise_400.jpgWhen you’re managing your business’s technology, you want to limit access to time-wasting applications and keep your employees from accessing the Windows Store. It just makes sense. Yet, for the businesses that want to restrict access to the Windows Store on Windows 10 devices, well, that’s too bad; Windows 10 Pro version 1511 just made your life a whole lot more difficult, unless you’re willing to pay extra for Windows 10 Enterprise edition.

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Windows 10 is Super Popular... Microsoft’s New Edge Browser, Not so Much

b2ap3_thumbnail_edge_not_popular_400.jpgHave you upgraded your business’s workstations to Windows 10 yet? If not, you should ask yourself why you haven’t done so. However, if you have upgraded, you’re one of the 25.3 percent of people using Windows 10. Windows 10 seems to be a great hit among end-users, but Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, isn’t so fortunate.

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66% of Organizations Will Wait for Their Operating Systems to “Expire” Before Upgrading

b2ap3_thumbnail_upgrade_your_os_400.jpgWhen it comes to technology, upgrading is part of the package. Despite this being a well-established fact, some business owners will delay upgrading for as long as possible, while others will upgrade as soon as the latest product is released. What’s behind a company’s motivation to upgrade or not? We can better understand this by looking at a study on why businesses upgrade their operating systems.

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What Makes Windows 10 Twice as Popular as Windows 8?

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_windows_10_400.jpgMicrosoft’s most recent addition to the Windows family of operating systems, Windows 10, is full of new features, but when it comes to implementing it, many businesses are still dragging their heels. However, the primary reason for this seems to be the fact that organizations want to make sure Windows 10 won’t break their IT infrastructure. Despite this handicap, Windows 10 is still being tested on twice as many PCs as Windows 8 was following its release.

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It May Take a While For Windows 10 to Overtake Windows 7

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_now_400.jpgThe hype is still strong for Windows 10, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a great operating system that has the potential to change the way your business performs its daily duties. However, the monthly desktop operating system usage statistics released by NetMarketShare hint that Windows 10 adoption is starting to slow down and that many users are simply opting to keep using Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. What gives?

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Tip of the Week: 6 Chief Cortana Commands For You to Master

b2ap3_thumbnail_everyone_loves_cortana_400.jpgIn case you haven’t heard of her, Cortana is Microsoft’s voice assistant for Windows Phone and devices that utilize Windows 10. Just like Siri and Google Now, Cortana can be used for a lot more than simply performing a voice search. Here are six of the great new things Cortana can help you with.

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4 Things to Consider Before Upgrading to Windows 10

b2ap3_thumbnail_why_not_windows_10_400.jpgWe all know that Windows 10 is the hot new operating system released by Microsoft this past July, with slick new features and (gasp!) the Start menu. We’ve been writing a lot of articles about how great and functional the new operating system is. Keep in mind that Windows 10 is a great operating system, but you should also take note of these four shortcomings when considering whether you should immediately upgrade or not.

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Windows 10 Is Here, But What’s the Demand?

Just because something is brand new doesn't mean that there's a market for it. Just look at Windows 8 to see what we're talking about. It might have been a brand new operating system when it first came out, but it didn't really take to users, who preferred the familiar feel of Windows 7. How do business owners suspect Windows 10 will affect the business world?In an overwhelming response to a ZDNet survey, 73 percent of all respondents claim that they will be adopting Windows 10 within the next two years. This exceeds the approval rates of both Windows 7 and 8, making Windows 10 one of the most anticipated operating systems in recent times. Here are some of the statistics concerning the update to Windows 10:

64 percent of IT professionals said they were most interested in the return of the Start button, 55 percent cited the free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8/8.1, and 51 percent referenced enhanced security.Only eight percent of respondents said they were interested in the touch-optimized interface, six percent cited Cortana, and five percent were interested in Hello.When IT professionals were asked to disclose their general impressions of Microsoft's new browser Edge (previously known as Spartan) 25 percent said they were somewhat to very positive, 23 percent said they were neutral, and nearly half said they didn't know enough about the new browser to have formed an opinion. Four percent of respondents were somewhat to very negative.

While many users are simply interested in the free upgrade and the return of the Start menu, they don't necessarily expect a lot from the other features, like touch-screen compatibility and Cortana. Still, upgrades are upgrades, and the significant number of anticipated upgrades makes us happy. As IT professionals, we always emphasize the importance of running a supported operating system, as well as how much the latest technology can improve your business's productivity. Even if users aren't immediately upgrading to Windows 10, so long as they aren't opting to continue using an unsupported operating system, they're doing something right.However, these numbers also tell us that there are a lot (as in, the majority) of businesses that plan on leaving behind their legacy applications, or finding more modern solutions that better handle their workload. Many users don't take into account the fact that their legacy software might not perform to top specifications, or even be compatible at all, with the latest technology. This can prevent your business from getting the most out of its information systems.We worry that this might be the case with Windows 10. Because of Microsoft labeling it as "free" for users of Windows 7 and 8/8.1 for a whole year following its release, many users feel an enormous amount of pressure to upgrade before this offer's expiration date. If this sounds familiar, we want to reiterate that you should carefully consider any and all applications that you currently use, especially if they qualify as legacy software.

Should You Upgrade?Network Synergy recommends a cautious approach to upgrading your systems. Below is more information about Windows 10 that you should know. 

Windows 10 is a free upgrade for genuine Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 operating systems. Microsoft is offering this free upgrade for one year, until July, 2016.Network Synergy always cautions our customers on immediately adopting new Operating System upgrades to prevent compatibility issues with business applications, which will undoubtedly surface with any new OS upgrade. Microsoft has made this cautious-to-upgrade approach difficult to abide by, due in part to its marketing strategy of sending Windows 7 and 8.1 users a notification that Windows 10 is now available and that the upgrade is free to licensed users. This message may appear for workstations automatically updating Windows patches from Microsoft directly. This notification would be seen in your System Tray if this update notification was downloaded to your computer. We can work with you if you are receiving notifications to eliminate the upgrade popups that you may be receiving.Please note that Windows 10 will not be automatically updated on your system without your intervention. Microsoft however will give users the option to upgrade with one click of "Yes" or "Go!" This is not recommended on your business computers without proper testing with all applications. Worst-case scenario: You've got a mission-critical app that isn't compatible with Windows 10, and you don't find this out until after you've installed the new OS. While Microsoft makes upgrading to a new OS easy, downgrading to an older OS is a very difficult and time-consuming task that you don't want to experience. Additionally, the new features of Windows 10 can potentially displace existing workflows if one isn't prepared.Internet Explorer has been replaced with a new web browser, Microsoft Edge. While this new browser likely has advantages over IE, it's important to keep in mind that its new interface may befuddle longtime IE users. Plus, it's rare for a 1.0 product to be error free upon its release.While consumers will often jump on a new OS download as soon as it's released, it's a safe move for enterprises to wait until the first service pack comes out. A conservative move like this will prevent your business from being a beta tester for Microsoft. We do, however, also caution customers on upgrading home computers that may be used for office network access, particularly with VPN access. Please contact us if you remotely access your network to review possible compatibility issues.In addition to having compatibility issues with older software, you might see issues with the compatibility of older peripherals, like scanners, printers, optical drives, etc. If Microsoft has deemed these devices obsolete, then your previously-functioning equipment will now be a paperweight. Additionally, there's the potential to lose data and settings, in particular, Internet Explorer settings.If there is interest in adopting the new operating system quickly, it is recommended to take one non-critical workstation in your office and upgrade to test with all existing applications. This will identify potential software upgrades that need to be addressed for your business prior to upgrading all systems.

In conclusion, we think that Windows 10 has a lot going for it, but like any major business decision, it's not a new venture that you want to blindly take on. Network Synergy is here to help. Network Synergy is testing Windows 10 to identify potential upgrade requirements for many of the applications that we deploy for our customers. If you have immediate interest in upgrading, please contact your account manager to discuss the best upgrade plan for you to make sure we provide the smoothest transition possible to Windows 10.

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Should You Upgrade to Windows 10 On Launch Day?

b2ap3_thumbnail_this_is_windows_10_400.jpgWho’s excited about the release of Windows 10 on July 29th? We sure are! After all, Microsoft’s new OS provides features and improvements that have many users planning on upgrading as soon as possible. However, as cool as Windows 10 looks to be, we don’t recommend that businesses blindly upgrade.

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Windows 10, Spartan, HoloLens, and More: The Microsoft Live Event in Retrospective

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_logo_10_400.jpgA few weeks ago, Microsoft presented several of their latest projects at a live event. As expected, there was a lot of focus put on the new Windows operating system, Windows 10, in addition to their in-development browser Spartan; but what we didn’t expect Microsoft to show off was a slew of brand spanking new consumer technologies.

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Will You Make Microsoft’s Spartan Your Default Web-browsing Warrior?

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_400_20150119-200422_1.jpgIn addition to Microsoft’s upcoming new operating system, Windows 10, the software company has released that there is a new web browser in production. This new browser, code-named “Spartan,” is expected to have similar functionality to Mozilla’s Firefox and Google Chrome, and will be released alongside Windows 10.

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