Windows 10 Rollout

Google Says Windows 10 Rollout is Huge

How quickly are users adopting Windows 10?

Well, we could ask Microsoft, but what would you expect them to say? Competitors will talk it down and the industry press has too many vested interests to give an unbiased answer.

We think Windows 10 adoption is going at a rate of knots, and here are some of the reasons why…

  • It’s free for most users
  • Your computer will keep nagging you to upgrade
  • It’s a frictionless upgrade – you don’t have to buy anything or install from a disk; just agree to the update and let it run
  • Our friends at Google indicate there are plenty of users already running Windows 10…
Windows 10 Rollout

Google Trends tell us Windows 10 Rollout is big…







The extremely unscientific Google Trends graph above indicates things might be going pretty well. People searching for problems likely means they will have the operating system installed. The fact that ‘Windows 10 Problem’ is trending, doesn’t mean that Windows 10 is buggy – it means that lots of people have upgraded to Windows 10 and as the installed user base is large, a relatively small number of problems is actually quite a significant number of searches.

Search engines are great tools, but many misunderstand the results. For example, if you search for ‘Seagate hard drive problem’, you will get lots of results and might infer that Seagate make rubbish hard drives. The reality is that Seagate is one of the biggest hard drive manufacturers in the world and their drive failure rates would stand comparison with any of their competitors.

But because they sell huge volumes of drives, the actual number of ‘problems’ reported (whether actual or perceived) is quite large, even though the percentage of real problems is very small.

Irrespective of our little bit of fun with Google Trends, we’ve seen a few versions of Windows roll out over the years (all of them, actually) and here is why we think Windows 10 is going to be big, both for consumers and corporates.

  • It works (early days, but first indications on a number of configurations hasn’t thrown up any major issues)
  • It fixes some Windows 8/8.1 stuff that didn’t work well on the desktop. That means anyone who got a machine with Windows 8 or 8.1 pre-installed will likely upgrade.
  • The Edge Browser is better than IE (not hard, admittedly); it looks to utilise memory better than Chrome and might become the browser of choice for many.
  • If you have bought into the Microsoft ecosystem, it makes sense to run Windows 10 across all your devices.
  • Corporates will have to upgrade sooner or later; many will be planning to take advantage of the one year ‘free’ upgrade period.

We are recommending SMEs test and deploy Windows 10 sooner rather than later – if you are committed to Microsoft and are running Windows Servers in house or on the cloud, you will have to make the move at some point, so might as well get on with it.

If your business needs help or advice on rolling out an upgrade programme, give us a call!



Windows 10

Windows 10 – What to do when the Update Fails

If you have been waiting for your machine to automatically upgrade to Windows 10 and are wondering why it hasn’t happened yet, check your update history and you’ll probably find that the Windows 10 update has failed to install.

Windows 10 Update Fail

Windows 10 Update Fail

The update can fail for a number of reasons – typical errors codes are 80240020 and 80080080. You will find a variety of ‘fixes’ usually involving registry tweaks and the like, but there is a simpler way to get your PC upgraded to the new version of Windows without poking around under the hood. 

For any version of Windows except Enterprise versions, you can upgrade to Windows 10 using the Microsoft media creation tool. Simply download the media creation tool (32-bit or 64-bit), run it and you will get an option either upgrade your PC now or create installation media for another PC.

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool












Assuming your machine qualifies for a free upgrade, this method will work without having to wait until Microsoft sort our the update method or having to mess around with the registry.

While the upgrade to Windows 10 will work without problems for most users, as always before making major changes like this, make sure you have a current backup of your data and perhaps an image backup of your Windows drive before running the upgrade.

If you are an enterprise user with a volume license agreement, your IT department will be sorting things out – or not as the case may be. Most corporate IT departments will have your Windows 7 installation nailed down so you won’t be able to take advantage of the upgrade to Windows 10!







Windows 10

Windows 10 – Dive in or Hang Fire?


Windows 10

Windows 10

It’s almost time for the official release of Windows 10 – but there will be few surprises as the ‘Insider’ preview programme has been running for some time and many of us will have been using the pre-release version for many months.

When a new operating system is released, it is common for most users – especially business users – to hang fire and wait until all the various bugs and incompatibilities are worked out before organising a managed roll out of the new OS. I’m sure this will be the case for most corporates, but this is an opportunity for smaller businesses to gain a real competitive advantage.

Most corporates will be planning to stay with Windows 7 Pro – indeed for many it won’t be that long since they rolled out Windows 7 as support for XP ended!

However, this is an opportunity for smaller businesses to gain a real competitive advantage over the big boys.

If – and it’s a big if – you have bought into the Microsoft ecosystem and have embraced Office 365, we are recommending an immediate upgrade to Windows 10.

Why? Windows 10 is a better experience than Windows 8.

It will give you a consistent user experience across tablets, phones, laptops and desktop PCs – and that makes everyone’s life easier – less support, less training, more productivity from day one.

BTW if you are on board with Office 365 and you haven’t yet issued Windows mobiles, you will be missing out big time.

Windows phones might have a tiny market share and you can argue all you like about their featureset against the latest iPhone or Android smartphone. The fact is, if your company data revolves around Sharepoint, Exchange and Office, you’ll want all your devices running Windows.

With Windows 10 on all your devices and Office 365 subscriptions, your teams will have a set of collaboration tools that will have them running rings around corporate users hamstrung by out of data enterprise IT departments terrified of updates and upgrades in case something breaks their mish-mash of complex systems that just about holds together.

Here is our quick questionnaire to see if you should dive in and embrace Windows 10.

– Do you have 50 employees or fewer?

– Do you have some desktop and laptops running Windows 8/8.1?

– Is most of your equipment less than five years old?

– Are you already or are you planning to use Office 365?

– Do you use on premise or hosted exchange for your email?

– Do you have employees who need access to data when out of the office?

– Do you use Sharepoint as part of your Office 365 subscription?

If you answered YES to most or all of these, get set for the upgrade sooner rather than later.

You will be better off, you will have lower support costs, your staff will be more productive – and you will have a clear advantage over your larger competitors.

Of course you’ll want to do a little planning to ensure a smooth transition – and you might need to replace one or two old bits of kit. But you’ll have a pretty smooth ride and the end result will be well worth it.

If you need help with planning your Windows 10 roll out or want to speak to someone about Office 365 migration, give us a call or email




Does your office look anything like this?

CBRE office in Chicago adopts an address-free policy – just turn up, find a spot and start working…


Turn up, plug in and get going. The technology should just work. It shouldn’t matter where you are – in the office, at home, at a client – you should still be able to get access the data you need and share it when required. It is all about getting the technology out of the way and letting employees get on with their jobs.

Windows 10

Windows 10: is your business ready?

Chances are your business has Windows PCs – most of them running Windows 7 Pro. You probably have a few devices running Windows 8.1 – mostly BYOD or the odd laptop or PC that somehow bypassed the IT department.

The It department doesn’t like Windows 8.1 because they know where to find stuff on the old Windows interface and no-one wants to train users to get used to the new environment.

You can still purchase hardware with a Windows 7 Pro license option, so that’s what you have been doing for the past couple of years.

You’ve heard some rumours about Windows 10, but you’re probably thinking you can pass on that for now and carry on as you are.

Time for a rethink.

IT departments no longer control specifications and pass down decrees on tablets of stone (at least not in fast moving companies that are going places).

Windows 10 is going to be widely available this year – and free for many. It will work across multiple devices – PCs, tablets, phones and more – and you will be seeing it in your organisation whether you like it or not.

Windows 10

Get Ready for Windows 10

If Microsoft gets  this version of Windows right – and they have spent enough time and money that they should do – traditional desktop versions of windows will be dead in the water.

PC manufacturers will be getting Windows 10 for next to nothing – so they won’t be bundling options of prior version licenses. If you want to add £100 to every machine you purchase so you can get a Windows 7 Pro license, go right ahead.

Windows 10 will be easier to maintain than prior Windows releases – you will always have the latest version, automatically updated, so your inventory will be easier to manage.

If you have bought into the Microsoft ecosystem, it makes sense to be running the same version of Windows on your office desktop, laptop, tablet and phone.

If you think there will be costs associated with moving to the new OS, think about the ongoing cost of supporting multiple versions of Windows.

Microsoft is betting the farm on Windows 10 – so they will make it work. And they will be forcing as many users on to it as they possibly can. That means if you are running Office 365, expect Windows 10 to be the recommended OS and before long to be the required OS. There will be new features that just won’t work on other versions, so you will have to upgrade if you want to use them.

Microsoft have learned from Windows XP – they won’t be supporting older versions of Windows for anything like the dozen years of official support for XP. This time you can get on the Windows 10 bandwagon or get left behind.

We are advising clients that are committed to Microsoft (and that isn’t always the best option) to plan for a roll-out of Windows 10 by the end of this year.

If you want to know more about the implications of Windows 10 for your business, give us a call.





Windows Server 2003 will not longer be supported after 14th July

Windows Server 2003 – Time to Look at Your Options

There are still many organisations running Windows Server 2003 – and why not? Your old Windows 2003 server has probably been hidden away doing exactly what it was supposed to and has given you years of problem-free service.

Maybe your main server is running something a bit more recent, but you still have a 2003 server box running some critical legacy applications.

Perhaps you’ve been considering upgrading your systems for a while but have put it off because you thought it would be too expensive or just too much hassle.

Windows Server 2003 will not longer be supported after 14th July

Windows Server 2003 will not longer be supported after 14th July

Microsoft will be ending support for Windows Server 2003 on 14th July 2015, so if you are still running older servers, now is the time to get a plan in place to replace/upgrade your inventory.

Do I really have to replace my old Windows 2003 server? I haven’t needed support from Microsoft so far, so why won’t it just carry on working as before?

While you may not have had to call up Microsoft support services or use 3rd party IT support services for your Windows server, you will have been getting a constant stream of updates from Microsoft over the years. These updates will fix bugs in the operating system, ensure compatibility with different hardware and software, fix security vulnerabilities and add new features and enhancements.

When these updates stop, sooner or later something won’t work and there will be very little you can do about it.

You could wait until this happens – at which point you will be dealing with an emergency – or you can plan now to replace your ageing Windows Server 2003 systems and manage the process in an orderly way that minimises disruption to your business operations.

The good news is that you still have time to plan for an orderly decommissioning/replacement and you can take the opportunity to review your overall IT infrastructure and requirements.

If you are still running Windows Server 2003, the chances are you are missing out on a number of technology advances that could benefit your business operations.

The bad news is that there are now so many choices, it is difficult to know what to do for the best. Cloud solution vendors will be telling you that ‘you must’ be on the cloud, Microsoft will insist that they have the perfect platform for your business – and what about Google Apps?

Every business is unique and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to technology. If you need expert advice on technology solutions for your business, talk to an expert who can analyse your business model and provide solutions that will drive your business forward.

If you are unsure about what options would be right for your business, email to arrange an informal discussion about your business and the technology options that can help support your sales growth plans.

Windows Server 2003 End of Support.

Windows 10 – the OS for PCs, Tablets and ‘Phones

Microsoft have released more details about Windows 10 – now slated for release in ‘late 2015’…

Windows 10 will run across all devices from desktop PC to mobile phones, and it should be intelligent enough to know what it is running on. For example, if you have a Surface Pro it will know when you switch from laptop mode to tablet mode by detaching the keyboard.

Microsoft are continuing to develop the OS – pre-release versions have been widely available for some time; the company is continuing to develop features and the user interface based on feedback from these ‘early adopters’. Clearly they are trying to avoid the problems with the much derided ‘metro’ interface of Windows 8.

With Microsoft’s record for hitting release dates, it will likely be 2016 before you have to worry about upgrading to Windows 10, but the good news is that it will be a free upgrade for the first 12 months for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

While there may be some additional changes before the final release, Microsoft has released a couple of ‘sneak peak’ videos if you want to see some of the new features without the hassle of downloading and installing the preview version…

via Sneak Peek: Experience Windows 10 for PCs – YouTube.

Black Friday – Opportunities for Business

It’s that time of year again – the seasonal shopping frenzy kicks off with retailers and etailers falling over themselves to outdo each other with their Black Friday offers.

Of course, we know it’s all a marketing exercise, but there are some genuine deals around and some businesses will be using Black Friday and Cyber Monday to try to shift some stock to improve their cashflow in what has been a difficult trading period for many sectors.

As a result, this can be a great time for small businesses to take advantage of some of the hardware and software deals that around to refresh your inventory and make the IT budget stretch a little further.

Many vendors like HP, Lenovo, Dell and others will have their own Black Friday deals running, but some of the best tech bargains will be found at Amazon, Currys/PC World, eBuyer, and other online retailers.

This can be a great time to pick up a few desktop PCs, laptops for the reps – and maybe a fancy new ultrabook for the MD.

And it’s not just hardware that will be on offer. There are great deals on web hosting at this time of year from the likes of Hostgator and 1and1 – so this is a great time to start that new web project or switch to a more competitive hosting package.

Although Black Friday is a bigger deal in the US than in the UK, you can still take advantage of many of the software deals on offer in the States. As nearly all software is available as a digital download or a cloud subscription service these days, your location doesn’t matter and there is no shipping of DVDs and manuals. In particular, if you have some antivirus software renewals due, check out the deals from the various anti-virus vendors like Bullguard, Kaspersky, Symantec and eSet.

There are so many deals around right now that it can be difficult to keep track of them all and see where the real bargains are. We’ve put together a Black Friday web site that flags up some of the best tech deals for UK – have a look and see how you can get some great value purchases for the office right now!


QuickBooks Pro 2014 - Great Value

QuickBooks Pro – Great Value Accounting Software

If you run a small business and you have been looking for a better way of managing your accounts, QuickBook Pro is a great option. It does everything an accounts package needs to, but it is usable by someone without a background in finance, gives you a wide selection of reports to show the financial health of the business and your accountant has everything they will need to complete your accounts at the end of the year.

The Quickbooks people have just announced a new version of the Pro product – version 2015. This is currently selling on Amazon for £180 – which is pretty good value for what you get. However, with the release of the new version, Amazon has discounted QuickBooks Pro 2014 to £99.99 (including VAT and UK Delivery) – and we think this is fantastic value for a full-featured accounts package.

QuickBooks Pro 2014 - Great Value

QuickBooks Pro 2014 – Great Value Small Business Accounting Software

There are a few new features in the 2015 version, but we think the 2014 version will be more than adequate for most small businesses. We use Quickbooks ourselves – and we haven’t upgraded for several years – the version we have is good enough for everything we need. You can compare the features of different versions of Quickbooks here.

If you are like most small businesses, accounting is a chore rather than a pleasure – and a job that you’ll want to get done as quickly and as painlessly as possible. However, keeping the books up to date is critical to your business and you’ll need accurate cashflow, balance sheet and profit and loss reporting to keep things on track.

QuickBooks Pro won’t turn you into a lover of bookkeeping, but it will mean that you spend less time on the accounts and more time running your business and bringing in the sales that really matter.

As is the trend these days, there are online versions of QuickBooks available for a monthly subscription, but we think the PC version of QuickBooks Pro 2014 is better value. Monthly subscriptions might seem like good value (especially when there is an introductory offer), but they add up over the months and years. There is a very good reason why software vendors are pushing everyone onto subscription based cloud models – they make much more money that way!

The Amazon Price for QuickBooks Pro 2014 is the best we’ve found – if you are in the market for Accounting software, grab this while you can…