What’s news in the IT world?
2nd June 2015
Microsoft announced today that it will be launching Windows 10 on July 29th, encouraging Windows 7 and 8.1 users to reserve their free upgrade with a notification in their task bar. However, while the company has been busy highlighting all the shiny new features in the upcoming OS, it’s been a bit quieter when it comes to spelling out the limitations — including making updates automatic for Windows 10 Home users.
SAY GOODBYE TO HEARTS AND DESKTOP GADGETS
Firstly there are the software losses. Most of these will only affect a small number of users, but upgrading will mean saying goodbye to Windows Media Center, the card game Hearts, and Windows 7’s desktop gadgets. Anyone in the habit of using floppy disks on Windows will also have to install new drivers, and Microsoft warns that watching DVDs will also require “separate playback software.” Microsoft manager Gabriel Aul has said on Twitter that a DVD option for Windows 10 is coming “later this year,” but early upgraders can always download VLC instead.
In addition to the software losses, there are also a number of limitations for some of Windows 10’s most exciting features. Cortana will only be available in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain at launch, while Windows Hello (which offers support for various biometric passwords) will need an infrared camera for facial recognition, or a supported fingerprint reader. The Xbox Music and Xbox Video streaming apps will also be constrained by the usual, complex web of region-based licenses.
More annoyingly, perhaps, Microsoft has also changed how updates will work with Windows 10. Although the Pro and Enterprise editions will both be able to defer updates, Windows 10 Home users will not have the option. Updates will instead be downloaded and installed automatically as soon as they’re available. System requirements for the new OS have also been detailed, with PCs and tablets needing to pass a fairly low bar: a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a display resolution of at least 1,024 x 600 are required. These specs are a bit higher for the 64-bit version of Windows 10 but for these details and more, you can check out Microsoft’s full specs page.
17th February 2014
Windows XP ends its life on April 8th, 2014
As Windows XP comes to the end of its life, applications in enterprise desktop and virtualization environments everywhere will feel the effects.
April 9 2014. On that day, any zero-day exploit released into the wild will run rampant on Windows XP systems while Microsoft watches and says “I told you so.” When companies beg for a fix, Microsoft will hold one document in each hand: the lifecycle information for Windows XP with a Post-it note that says, “You had four years to move to Windows 7,” and a contract for custom support.
You’re running out of both time and options when it comes to removing Windows XP from your company.
Microsoft isn’t the only company ditching XP
Not only can Microsoft wash its hands of Windows XP Support, but so can all the companies that made software for XP.
Assuming those companies stopped actively developing for the OS years ago, they are likely still supporting the applications that run on it. After Windows XP end of life on April 8, 2014, they’ll have no reason to continue. The implications of this reality run far and wide. Line-of-business software will surely be affected, as will be any of the random applications you are using.
What really is cause for concern for desktop and virtualization admins, though, is that security software vendors will likely stop patching, updating and support for their software.
Why would companies such as McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky or Trend Micro bother maintaining a product for an OS that is, for all intents and purposes, dead? Those applications might still run, and it could be that their definition files will be updated with the latest viruses for a time, but do you think those companies will pay attention to viruses targeted toward XP after it’s gone? Probably not.
What about activation servers?
There is one other question that has yet to be answered, and that is in regards to Microsoft’s activation servers. What happens to the part of the system that activates Windows XP? Does it go offline? Is it somehow protected and only available to people that have paid for custom support? Existing machines will no doubt work just fine, but what about rebuilds or new machines?
Of course, Microsoft could simply validate all existing keys and let anyone that wants to use XP use it. There’s no precedent for this because XP was the first Microsoft OS that required activation. We may just have to wait and see.
The bottom line is that running Windows XP in your organization on anything other than a desktop with no network connection, floppy drive, USB ports, or CD drive is an outright liability, bordering on irresponsible. Yes, there are situations that will require it, but if you determine that your organization can’t afford to get off Windows XP on the basis of cost alone, you are wrong.
5th December 2013
Yahoo/Xtra Accounts Hacked
Xtra customers could find themselves locked out of their email accounts after a burst of spam issues.
Telecom had seen a rise in the number of Yahoo, Xtra email accounts hacked and used to send out malicious spam emails.
User accounts flagged as compromised have been blocked, requiring customers to change their passwords before being able to re-access their email services.
Xtra customers have faced a year of frequent email hijacking. In February, a hacking attack on Yahoo compromised about 87,000 Xtra accounts.
To check if someone else had logged onto your Yahoo, Xtra email account
To change your email password