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Windows 8 for Business26 July 2013

Is your business ready for Windows 8?

This question could be re-phrased “Is Windows 8 ready for your business?” – the answer may surprise you.

If your business runs 100% Windows 7 compatible applications, then the answer is YES – Windows 8 is ready to work for you.  It has the same codebase as Windows 7 and is backwards-compatible to Windows Vista.

If your business still relies on software designed for Windows XP which will not run properly on Windows 7, then you need to re-evaluate whichever line-of-business application is holding you back.

Whether your staff and users are ready for Windows 8 is another matter entirely, and one which I’ll be addressing in a future post (coming soon).

Windows XP is no more

Let me get one thing out of the way – XP is dead, no matter which way you look at it. Microsoft have ceased support, will not release any more updates, and will not release any more hotfixes.  If you continue to use XP, you are on your own as far as Microsoft goes.

Yes, a fully-patched XP machine with SP3 and every critical/security update since then should be OK, but the system remains intrinsically vulnerable. Every user on XP, by default, has Admin rights to the computer.  This means every potential virus/trojan/malware has admin rights too.  If you are a “power” user, you may be OK, but the average office user will often accidentally allow something bad to run, or visit a customer or supplier website that may have been hacked and is distributing malware.  Anti-virus can only go so far to prevent infection – on a non-managed system the user can override the antivirus with a single click!

Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 all have in-built protection, such as User Account Control and protected registry hives, that prevents the majority of these attacks. Only a Managed AV Service (not a free antivirus program or a consumer 3-pack) will protect you from the rest of them.

Windows 7 vs Windows 8

Windows 7 was recognised as the best and most stable OS release from Microsoft in years, and it is now the standard corporate IT platform all over the world.  You can count on it to run all modern applications, it is easy to backup and manage, and ships as standard on most corporate/business computers from major manufacturers.

However, you will be very lucky to find Windows 7 on any of the home or consumer computers found in retail stores like JB HiFi or Harvey Norman.  All of these consumer models ship with Windows 8 Home – a very deliberate strategy from Microsoft who withdrew all Windows 7 Home media from distribution when they released Windows 8.

Business computers such as the HP Pro or Lenovo ThinkCentre models come with Windows 8 Professional – the Pro versions of Windows come with downgrade rights to the previous version, so these vendors can install a fully-licensed Windows 7 Professional system onto a computer with a Windows 8 Professional license.  They also come with Windows 8 Pro media so you can upgrade in the future.

Be careful buying a Windows 8 computer from a retail store – the chances are it will be Windows 8 Home – this can NOT be joined to a server-based domain, so if you are buying a computer for your business make sure it has Windows 8 Pro!  You can purchase a Pro Pack with your computer from the retailer which upgrades from Home to the Pro version.  Note that this has always been the case with Windows desktop OS, all the way back to Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups (the Home/Pro equivalents of the day).

Buying from a retailer is not always the best thing to do – remember that they are trying to sell you the best computer for them, not for you.  We can give you specialist advice on your purchases, and select the best computer for your business at the right price.

Those consumer models may be cheaper and look more attractive, but they come with basic return-to-base warranties of 1 year only.  Most of the corporate models cost a little more, but many come with 3 year on-site next-business-day warranties, and can all be upgraded to a full 5 year onsite NBD service contract for relatively little additional cost.

Contact Us now for a quote.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, buy an extended warranty from the retailer!!!!  See this clip from ABC’s The Checkout for why not.

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