13 Jan

Microsoft (Finally) Addressing Complaints

In the past year, Microsoft was heavily criticized for forcing the Windows 10 OS update on PC users. After thousands of customer complaints, the tech giant vowed to make changes and appease disgruntled end users. With the new year are signs that the firm is finally tending to these problems. Here are some of them:

 

A patch and a glitch away

 

Users couldn’t escape the glitches in the frequent Windows 10 updates, which caused an array of problems such as frozen systems, broken webcams, and even PCs being unable to secure an Internet connection. In light of the patching dilemma, Microsoft is offering more options to defer updates. In fact, a leaked preview shows a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days via a switch in the Settings menu.

 

OneDrive placeholders

 

Since the launch of Windows 10, many users have eagerly awaited Microsoft to re-introduce this beloved feature to the operating system’s built-in OneDrive cloud storage service. In Windows 8.1, placeholders (aka Smart files) allowed users to see all their OneDrive files, whether or not they were stored on the device. Making its return in Windows 10 File Explorer when using OneDrive, the feature shows user files stored locally as well as on the cloud.

 

Owning up to the update fiasco

 

Not only is Microsoft addressing the various complaints it received, but it’s also owning up to some of them. Just before Christmas, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, Chris Capossela, admitted that the company had gone too far when it tried to get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. This referred to Microsoft’s decision in early 2016 to change the design for the user prompt for its Get Windows 10 app, the software responsible for scheduling upgrades. The user prompt was altered so that clicking X to close the window causes the user to unknowingly agree to a Windows 10 upgrade. This change puts Microsoft in direct violation of its own user experience guidelines for developers on dialog box design.

“Within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, we knew we had gone too far,” recalled Capossela. “Those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us.” It was then that Microsoft reversed its decision on tweaking the pop-up, so clicking on X would dismiss the upgrade.

 

It seems that 2017 is the year that Microsoft will start listening more to its users and addressing their complaints. Maybe: Hopefully this renewed strategy will benefit users sooner rather than frustrate them later. Contact us (1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net) and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest Microsoft updates.

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05 Dec

The Surprise Office 365 App

There is a new weapon available to business owners who subscribe to Office 365. It’s called Office 365 Hub, and it was recently released under the guise of the Get Office App in Windows 10. Learn more about the Hub program and how it promises to increase your company’s efficiency and visibility.

 

What does Office Hub Do?

 

Office 365 Hub is a dashboard management program that makes it easier for you to integrate all your Office 365 apps in one location and manage the different programs without the need to get on a browser.

 

Users can:

Manage their payment and subscription information
Optimize Office apps for mobile devices
Access files, programs and apps on the cloud drive from any device
Switch between a personal and business account
Office Hub, like other dashboard management programs, allows you to access multiple apps and programs in one place. Clicking on the Home tab displays a summary of recent documents accessed as well as your commonly used Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

 

For the business owner, this ease of access increases efficiency company-wide. Business owners can install new apps on the desktop without visiting an online browser, while administrators will have no problem moving between the different office applications.

 

What’s more, Office 365 Hub provides a Help and Training tab with links to online resources, tutorials and support forums to help new Office 365 users to quickly acclimate to the cloud. All in all, Office 365 Hub promises a stress-free and easily manageable cloud experience.

 

Reaching the Office 365 Hub App

 

Unfortunately, the Office 365 Hub is not yet visible to everyone who signs on to the Get Office App on Windows 10. It is only open to those who are Office 365 subscribers and members of their Insider program. They also have to be set as Fast Ring subscribers, members who receive builds before they have been completely debugged and updated. Otherwise, you can expect the general release of Office 365 Hub and its benefits in the first half of 2017.

 

If you want the latest updates on Office 365 Hub or any new Microsoft features, contact us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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25 Aug

New Features in Office 365

Microsoft’s Office 365 platform isn’t one of the most popular productivity suites in the world by luck. The company’s expertise in creating functional, innovative and easy-to-use business applications has won over thousands of users for decades even before the cloud. And today, Microsoft strives to remain ahead of the competition by rolling out new upgrades every quarter. So what does Office 365’s update have in store for you this quarter? Read on and find out.

 

Word

 

This quarter, Office 365’s upgrade will focus on cloud-powered intelligent services, designed to maximize productivity while saving time. And Office 365’s upgrade wouldn’t be an upgrade if there were nothing new in Word, the business application that put Microsoft on the map. To that end, Word is getting two new features called Researcher and Editor. As you may have guessed, Researcher is designed to help you find reliable sources of information by using Bing’s Knowledge Graph to help search and then cite sources in your Word document. In the future, Researcher’s body of reference materials will also include sources such as national science and health centers, well-known encyclopedias, and more. The feature will be available on mobile devices too.

Now that you have Researcher to help you start your paper, you can count on Editor to help you finish it. This new feature builds on the existing spellchecker and thesaurus, and in addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and wavy blue line under bad grammar, Editor uses a gold line for suggestions on how to improve your writing.

 

PowerPoint

 

Currently, when making a presentation, you’re forced to use the 1-2-3-4 linear method of showing your slides. The problem is that you can’t change your presentation order as needed without having to exit PowerPoint’s slideshow mode, and let’s face it, sometimes you do make mistakes and need to go back or move to a different slide. But thanks to PowerPoint’s new feature, Zoom, you can now present your slides in any order you want at any time without a hiccup.

 

Outlook

 

The time has come for Office 365’s Outlook to get the Focused Inbox which has been available for iOS and Android for some time now. If you’re not familiar with Focused Inbox, the feature separates your inbox into two tabs: Focused tab which includes emails that matter most to you and the “Other” tab for everything else. This makes it easy to identify email that needs your attention so you never miss anything important.

Not only that, but as you move email in or out of the Focused tab, Outlook learns from your behavior and adjusts to your priorities. You can also flag someone by typing the @ symbol in the body of the email and pick whoever you wish to flag. This will automatically highlight that person’s email and their email address will be added to the To: line. If you are mentioned, the @ symbol will show up in Outlook so you can quickly find all email where you are mentioned.

 

For now, Microsoft hasn’t set a release schedule for these new features, but according to Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President for the Office team, you can expect to use them soon enough! And as always, if you would like to find out how you can make the most out of Office 365 or Microsoft Office, contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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16 Mar

Here’s How to Stop Windows 10 from Installing Without Consent

Since Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and newer, people have been upgrading by the millions. Within the first three months of its release, Microsoft reported that over 110 million devices already had the new OS installed. This sleek, modern operating system combines the best parts of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, while also adding new features and software. Overall, it has garnered a positive reception. However, people who wish to stick with older versions of Windows are finding that, through Windows Update, Windows 10 is automatically downloading to their hard drives, and, in many cases, installing without their consent. If this has happened to you, or if you want to ensure it does not, here is a guide for you.

 

What to do if Windows 10 already installed

 
If you wish to revert back to the previous version of Windows, the process is simple: just open the Start menu, select Settings, click the “Update & Security” icon, and select “Recovery.” You will then see “Go back to Windows X (your last version of Windows).” Click on that and follow the easy steps to restore your system.

 

What to do to stop Windows 10 from downloading

 
If you want to ensure Windows 10 does not install (again), you will need to block Windows 10 updates. There are two ways to do so.
 

Method 1: Download\run GWX Control Panel (freeware)

 
This easy, intuitive program provides you with options for blocking Windows 10 or removing existing installation files. You can find the GWX Control Panel HERE . Just click on “Download Installer” on the right side of the page and follow the instructions. Once you run the program, you will want to click the boxes to prevent Windows 10 upgrades, delete Windows 10 programs, disable ‘Get Windows 10’ app, and delete Windows 10 download folders. Once this is accomplished, Windows 10 will not be an issue again. Should you change your mind later, you can simply reverse this process from GWX.

Note: If you have Windows 10 already installed, do not use GXW Control Panel. This should only be used from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1.
 

Method 2: Download\run patch from Microsoft and edit the registry

 
Most people will want to use the first method, but if you prefer to go through the steps yourself, you can download a patch from Microsoft and then edit the registry. If this is the route you want to take, check out THIS article.
 

If you are having trouble with Windows 10, if you want to find out if Windows 10 is right for you, or if you have need of any of our expert IT services, give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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11 Mar

How to Securely Transition to Office 365

It’s easy to see why Office 365 is an attractive solution for small and medium-sized businesses already familiar with the Office interface. More and more companies are making the move to the cloud, but many have yet to complete their transition and still rely at least in part on on-site SharePoint systems. When you’re ready to migrate, the move from SharePoint to Office 365 presents numerous security challenges to prepare for – not least because breaches are far more likely to be caused by localized issues than insufficient protection on Microsoft’s part. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you’ve got security covered when you make the leap to migrating from SharePoint to Office 365.

 

Identify your company’s sensitive data…

 

It’s so easy to create sites within SharePoint that businesses often have far more than they realize, covering just about every aspect of their operations. And it’s natural, of course, for at least some of the files housed within those sites to contain sensitive commercial or personal data. The key is ensuring that sensitive information is adequately identified and protected. Do this by conducting a security audit before you undertake your migration.

Your audit should identify the types of data stored in the various parts of your SharePoint network, including which specific information needs extra safeguarding. Be sure to consider everything from trade secrets and contract details to the personal information of your clients.

 

…and then restrict access to it

 

Once you’ve worked out where your most precious data lies, you can check who currently has access to it and whether their access is appropriate. After all, it’s not necessary for everyone to be able to get at all the data your company owns; it’s far better to operate on a need-to-know basis, with a reasonable level of flexibility.

Ensure that each of your employees has access only to the data that’s necessary for them to perform their duties. When you make the switch to Office 365, you’ll find that it allows you to conveniently set these different levels of permissions, including for external partners with whom you collaborate.

 

Trust nobody and suspect everybody

 

We say that lightheartedly, of course – it would be counterproductive to become so security-paranoid as to suspect everyone is attempting foul play with your company’s data. Nonetheless, it’s wise to consider everyone in your organization when it comes to auditing data access permissions – and that includes system administrators who might be assumed to have master access to every element of your network infrastructure.

A rogue administrator is the stuff of nightmares, since their elevated position gives them much greater leeway to siphon off valuable data without being noticed – or even to allow others to conduct questionable business and bypass the usual built-in security precautions. Overcoming the danger of an all-too-powerful administrator admittedly becomes easier if you have more than one on staff, but even in smaller businesses you can mediate some of the risk by regularly checking on your administrator’s usage and ensuring that their top-level system permissions remain justifiable.

 

Use machine learning to foresee security breaches

 

Every action performed by your staff within Office 365 is automatically logged, and with relative ease you can pull reports that allow you to analyze these. But the sheer number of events taking place within Office 365 in the course of your business’s normal operations means that even attempting to identify questionable behavior will be akin to the proverbial needle and haystack. That’s not to say it’s unwise to be on the lookout for anomalies in normal usage – the export of unexplainably large volumes of data, for instance, could suggest that a member of your team is leaking intelligence to a competitor, or that they’re about to jump ship and take your trade secrets with them.

Thankfully, it’s possible to leverage the developing power of machine learning to identify potential breaches before they happen – without the need to wade through unmanageable swathes of perfectly normal data. Graph API is incorporated into Office 365, and allows for the integration of machine learning tools into your security environment to achieve just that. The same tools can also help you avoid being caught out by hackers, by identifying system login attempts from locations that are out of the ordinary; you should bolster this protection by religiously removing inactive accounts and those of departing employees.

 

By covering these essential security considerations when it comes to your migration, you’ll be one step closer to ensuring you strike the right balance between the powerful collaborative features of Office 365 and the robust safeguards your business’s integrity demands. To find out more about how we can help your Office 365 migration run smoothly, or what other business benefits you can derive from cloud-powered technologies, just give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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06 Nov

Office 2016 Has Arrived for Mac

Mac users who have been using Office 2011 now have a reason to smile: Microsoft finally released the latest Office 2016 for Mac in September. Office 2016 is packed with powerful new features for Microsoft’s core applications, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, all of which are designed to run and perform seamlessly on the Mac platform. Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft’s new Office release, and how it can benefit your business.

 

So what’s new?

 

The obvious change in Office 2016 for Mac is the user interface. You’ll experience a cleaner and more modern design that looks consistent across all core applications. The toolbars and icons have been redesigned with a minimalistic approach, resulting in less clutter and making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Looks are not the only improvement. Office 2016 for Mac provides huge improvements to the performance of Microsoft’s well-known applications.

 

Word 2016

 

Apart from the interface changes, in Word 2016 multiple Mac users can now work simultaneously on the same document. When a user working on a file saves any changes, a notification that highlights the changes is sent to other users. This new feature is similar to that of Google Docs, where users can collaborate by sharing and editing files online. Word 2016 includes a style pane on the right-hand side of the screen. When selected, you can apply pre-set styles to texts and paragraphs. What’s more, Word 2016 also adds a nifty new navigation pane, allowing you to navigate through files based on the changes you’ve made, including comments, formatting, deletion, and more.

 

PowerPoint 2016

 

The most prominent change made to PowerPoint 2016 is the redesigned ribbon. Many ribbons have been removed, renamed, and given new icons. The new PowerPoint also has the very same collaboration features as Word, meaning you and your colleagues can edit presentations simultaneously. In addition, Microsoft has added 24 all-new themes to PowerPoint, and these aren’t just normal themes – with just one click, you can alternate between different color palettes, fonts, and background styles for your current theme. These new features are identical to the ones in PowerPoint for Windows, but they have more functionality and are much easier to use.

 

Excel 2016

 

As soon as you launch Excel 2016, you’ll be greeted by its modern new appearance. One addition is a slicer tool that greatly increases the performance of pivot tables. With slicers, you can create buttons that simplify data filtering in a pivot table report without the need to use drop-down lists. Another new feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of the Analysis Toolpak extension. This add-on is especially useful if you want to generate complex statistical and engineering data – the Analysis Toolpak offers a number of advanced formulas that were absent in the former Excel for Mac 2011.

 

Outlook 2016

 

The previous Outlook for Mac 2011 proved to be flawed in many areas. And if you find that Apple Mail is not living up to your expectations, Outlook 2016 will be a great alternative to meet your email needs. As with other Office 2016 applications, the new Outlook has gotten a visual revamp. Some notable new features include improved usability, such as a blue vertical bar spanning across unread messages, faster email search and filtering, and a more powerful database and mail server that enables you to send and receive messages much more quickly.

 

Want to learn more about Office 2016 for Mac, and how you can implement it into your business? Give us a call today at 1-866-BIT-WISE; we’re sure we can help.

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14 Aug

Microsoft Office is Now Mobile!

Tablets with Windows 10 installed received a boost recently with the unveiling of the new Office Mobile applications. The mobile versions of the iconic Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote applications are specifically designed for use on tablets. The “touch-first” interface allows users to easily edit documents while on the go. The best news of all is the fact that Office Mobile apps are free for users of Windows 10.

 

One of the biggest complaints about trying to edit a Microsoft Office file from a tablet is usability, or lack thereof. That has all changed, at least for Windows 10 users, with Microsoft’s recent release of Office Mobile apps. The tablet-friendly versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote have been built from the ground up to improve touch functionality.

 

Even if you don’t have Windows 10, you still might be intrigued about the potential of having Office apps that are touch-friendly. Here are some of the new features you can enjoy when using Office Mobile apps.
 

Word

 

Microsoft Word Mobile has all the tools and features of the PC version including more nuanced tasks like being able to track changes and add footnotes. The Read mode, a mobile exclusive, improves the way documents appear by making them flow better on the smaller screens of a tablet while also letting you zoom in and out with a simple tap of the screen.
 

Excel

 

Recommended Charts is the prominent feature of the Excel Mobile app. It allows you to quickly show off your data using a stylish chart or graph with only a few taps. You will also find that reordering columns, adding formulae, changing chart types, and the majority of Excel’s other core functions are easier than ever before.
 

PowerPoint

 

Of course Office wouldn’t be Office without PowerPoint. The mobile version of the app allows you to edit slides with new touch gestures. This makes it easy to insert and edit pictures, tables, shapes, and SmartArt. But the real star here, and of the entire Office Mobile setup, is the Presenter View. This mode gives you full control over what your audience sees on the big screen during a presentation while still letting you view your speaker notes on the tablet.
 

OneNote

 

Windows 10 comes installed with OneNote, so you’re probably already using it. Tablet users will notice that changes made by anyone working in the notebook are automatically saved and synchronized for everyone to see.

The release of Office Mobile apps is just one of three big launches to come from Microsoft in 2015. Both Microsoft Office 2016 and Office Mobile for phones are slated for release this fall. Yet, while these tablet applications represent marked improvements for Windows 10 tablet users, they are probably not quite enough to warrant the switch from other operating systems just yet. In fact, even if you’re in love with the idea of having user-friendly, mobile versions of Office, you might want to hang on in there – it’s likely Microsoft will release them for iOS and Android in the near future, too.

 

Want to know what hardware and software is best for your company? Want to increase productivity in your office? Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how to do it. You can reach us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net

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03 Jul

Windows 10 Will Wave Goodbye to Passwords

For many people, passwords are the bane of online existence. Rely on one master password for all your logins and using the Internet can become a security threat. Use dozens of unique ones and it quickly becomes an annoyance. With Windows 10, Microsoft looks to resolve this problem for good. And by doing so, they hope to make the Internet and computer devices both safer and easier to use, for people around the world. Here’s how they intend to do it.

 

The problem with passwords

 

The problem with passwords is simple – they can be stolen. And from Facebook to iTunes to Flickr and thousands more, nearly every major website and thousands of niche ones require a password to use. And because we Internet users are logging onto dozens of these sites and services everyday, it’s virtually impossible for us to create a unique, complex password for each one. So people resort to using only a handful of passwords, or even just one master password, since it’s easier. But of course, this poses a security risk. So what’s an Internet user to do?

Microsoft Windows 10 is pioneering a new technology that is ready to flip this dated system on its head and eliminate the password problem for good.
 

Login to your devices with biometrics

 

Passwords can be stolen easily, but how easy is it to steal a person’s physicality? Microsoft’s new technology, named Hello, uses biometrics – such as your fingerprint, or face or iris scan – to log into your computer, laptop or other device. This ensures that no one can login to your device but you.

“Well, what about using a photograph to login instead,” you might ask? It won’t work. Using technology that takes a detailed map of your face in 3D, Hello is trained to reject the token photograph or selfie on login attempt. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone, besides you, to login to your device.
 

Use biometrics to login on the web

 

Logging into your computer with biometrics is great, but what most users really want is a more secure solution to login to websites while not having to remember a bazillion passwords. This is where Microsoft’s Passport comes in. Passport allows you to login into applications and online content without the need for a password. For example, instead of using your typical password to sign into your Microsoft Windows Account, you can now use Windows 10 facial recognition (or other biometrics) to log you in instead. That means you can access Skype, Xbox Live, Office 365 and more without a standard password. In addition to your Microsoft Windows Account, you’ll be able to use the biometric capabilities of Passport to access thousands of enterprise Azure Active Directory online services. Bear in mind, though, that it will be quite some time before you can use Passport to replace all your standard logins, since not every website has implemented this technology yet.

 

Want to hear more exciting Windows 10 news, or need assistance with your Windows device? Contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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