The Curious Case of Windows 7 Legacy Apps

“Support for Windows 7 is Coming to an End. … January 14, 2020 …” nagged a Windows 7 screen last week.

Like any other piece of technology, Operating System software gets obsolete. The obsolescence comes in the form of vulnerabilities to hackers, who get rich knowing how to look for and exploit these weaknesses in the code, compromising the contents of your computer and network.

Obsolescence also comes from more powerful hardware at a relative lower cost that enables the OS to do more with less code. Greater efficiencies in hardware and software mean some businesses will accomplish the same work as other businesses in less time.

And among the more compelling features of Windows 10 is that developers’s apps can scale to work across platforms, so desktops, laptops, phones and tablets function with the same software without the formerly prohibitive development costs of coding from scratch for each device. The result is more robust and cost-efficient software that, for example, can control processes remotely.

But this does not mean you are without legitimate reasons for maintaining Windows 7 software that works for you. The law requires you to have access to the data created with that software: “judges … have potent sanctions options available … when [businesses treat electronic data] preservation … with ignorance, indifference”

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/bad-behavior-in-ediscovery-is-still-30811/

So it is important to maintain your organization’s data created in legacy software. You or an IT partner will need to develop strategies for addressing your organization’s dependence on legacy software. This is sometimes a technical process requiring the involvement of third-party specialists. For instance, some legacy software was built to utilize 16-bit chip architecture. Windows 10’s 64-bit version does not support 16-bit programming. Still Microsoft has made a way to get you the benefits of 64-bit Windows 10, and still allow you to run 16-bit and 32-bit software through virtual machine environments. These virtual machines will probably get you enough access to meet compliance issues, but interface changes may render the legacy apps limited in function. Overcoming these types of challenges might not be appropriate to handle on your own.

If your organization has multiple Windows 7 licenses, the upgrade path can be costly, and not just for the multiple new OS product keys. There may be costs related to replacing your legacy software beyond the cost of the software itself. It is important to consider implementation costs, including possible downtime and employee training. Be sure to work with your IT department or partner to ensure that these considerations are included in your upgrade plan.

An IT partner like Bryley can help come up with a plan to meet your specific upgrade needs, so your business functions productively through the end of Windows 7 and the use of legacy apps, to arrive at solutions that will work for the coming years. Bryley can be reached at 978.562.6077 Option 2. With 32 years of experience, Bryley’s professionals have a broad knowledge of business software and can guide you with your business’s Windows 10 transition.

Bryley Systems Ranks Among Top 501 MSPs for 6th Consecutive Year

For the sixth consecutive year (2014 through 2019), Bryley Systems Inc. has been named as one of the world’s premier managed IT service providers via the prestigious Channel Futures MSP 501 rankings.

Every year, MSPs worldwide complete an extensive survey and application to report their product offerings, growth rates, annual total and recurring revenues, pricing structures, revenue mix and more. MSPs were ranked according to a unique methodology that weights revenue figures according to how well the applicant’s business strategy anticipates trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.

Retired Bryley employees celebrate 65th anniversary

On June 12, 1954, James K. Livingstone married Shirley M. Byerly*; both former employees of Bryley Systems, with Jim’s tenure extending from 1988 through his retirement in 2013. (Shirley’s was employed at Bryley Systems in the late 1980s.)

The wedding ceremony was conducted at a local church, after which the group congregated at 6pm at Shirley’s parent’s home in Pansy, PA. (Pansy is 17 miles north of Punxsutawney, PA; it is farm and (was) coal country where the local population remains sparse, but slightly larger than when Shirley went to the area’s one-room schoolhouse where grades K through 12 sat together; upon entering school, Shirley was immediately promoted from first grade to second grade due to her being the only first grader in the room.)

Did You Feel a Drop? BUDR Pt. 2

Remember the panicked manufacturer with a progression of computer problems that recalled the proverbial “perfect storm”? Today I’m going to sort those problems out, and recommend ways to help keep those things from happening to you. To refresh, here’s what went on with that manufacturer:

The installed version of their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) was too old to receive application maintenance and support. They hadn’t wanted to interrupt their workflow, and so hadn’t upgraded the ERP in more than five years.

When and How to Stop Google Chrome From Running in the Background

By default, when you close Google Chrome, the browser window closes, but the application itself continues to run in the background. There are a few reasons for this.

First and foremost, this makes it faster to open a new browser window. Since Chrome is already running in the background, there is less that has to take place behind the scenes before your new browser window appears.  This makes the browser feel quick, even on slower machines.

Running in the background also allows any Chrome extensions you might have installed to continue to operate. These are applications that run within Chrome and either enhance the browser’s existing features, or add new ones. Extensions range from those that change Chrome’s background colors to those that add support for third party applications.

This behavior, however, might not always be desirable.

If you are running an older or less powerful computer, you might find that forcing Google Chrome to stop running in the background could noticeably improve the overall performance of your computer.

Similarly, if you are using a laptop, having Google Chrome running in the background could negatively impact your battery life.  By forcing Chrome to close completely, you might find you can stretch your battery life just a little further.

If you fall into one of these two categories, or would simply prefer to avoid having Chrome run in the background, you can follow the instructions below to disable this behavior.

In Google Chrome:

1. Select “Settings” in the Chrome Menu

2. Click on “Advanced” at the bottom of the settings page that appears.

3. Under the “System” heading, find the box next to “Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed.”

By default, the toggle button next to that text will be set to the right with a blue background.  To prevent Chrome from running in the background, simply click the button so that the toggle is to the left, with a gray background (see screenshot above).

If, in the future, you decide you would like to allow Chrome to run in the background once again, simply repeat the steps above and move the toggle back to the left.

It is time to consider upgrading from Windows 7

There are plenty of reasons to upgrade from Windows 7 before it reaches its end of life date on January 14, 2020.  Chief among them, Microsoft has indicated that, on this date, they will stop releasing security updates for Windows 7.  This will have major implications for anyone still running Windows 7, as it will leave them exposed to any known vulnerability indefinitely.

The nature of these vulnerabilities are such that they can have a cascading effect if exploited.  For instance, a recently identified vulnerability, designated ‘CVE-2019-0708,’ makes it possible for a malicious party to execute code remotely via Remote Desktop Services. This particular security flaw exists pre-authentication, meaning that it could easily spread from system to system in a similar fashion to how WannaCry malware spread in 2017.

Microsoft has indicated an attacker could “install programs; view, change or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”

Fortunately, Microsoft has released a series of fixes for this particular vulnerability.  Starting January 14th, however, there is no guarantee that this will be the case and, except for in the most extreme circumstances, Windows 7 security holes will not be patched by Microsoft.

It is worth noting that Windows 10 is unaffected by this recent vulnerability, making this an excellent example of how upgrading to Microsoft’s latest operating system is the best way to ensure that your computer systems remain secure.

In short, by continuing to run Windows 7 past its end of life date, you could be undermining your entire security investment by effectively leaving the door to your network wide open.

Don’t wait until the last minute.  Talk to an IT expert about upgrading to Windows 10 today.  Give us a call at 978.562.6077 and selection Option 2.  We would be more than happy to help you get the process started.

Ray Baldez and Tony Fierimonte Complete Cisco SMB Select Partner Certification

Bryley is pleased to announce that Tony Fierimonte and Ray Baldez have completed the training and testing to become certified Cisco Small and Midsize Business (SMB) Account Representatives. These certifications augment Bryley’s expertise as a Cisco SMB Select Partner.

About this achievement, Ray Baldez said, “it proves Bryley’s knowledge of the features and specifications of Cisco’s products, and competence in delivering the highest quality, most cost-effective solutions for any business environment.” Tony Fierimonte added, “the Cisco course helped give a thorough understanding of Cisco’s capabilities through its connectivity products, rich history, and strategic outlook. This will help me serve my customers with solutions that are on-point.”

Cisco SMB Certification is an example of a tool Bryley has at hand to approach your organization’s requirements specifically — combining for you the ideal mix of brand-name equipment, like Cisco’s, software with flexible service options, and tailor-fit contracts.

The Snoopiness of Things

The 2015 Arkansas murder case that depended on smart-home devices, made the news again as the judge in the civil case upheld his ruling that James Bates is financially liable for the death of Victor Collins. The case against the accused was built on, among other forensics, records from Amazon whose Echo device was installed by the scene of Collins’ death, as well as evidence from a so-called smart meter. The smart meter reported inordinate usage of water around the time of death, which led the police to argue that a bloody patio was hosed down.

Avoiding the Perfect Storm

A nearby manufacturer called Bryley panicked. The problems started with a failed upgrade to their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software). Because they hadn’t wanted to interrupt their workflow, the company hadn’t upgraded the ERP in more than five years. But the installed version was now beyond maintenance and support, so they bit the bullet. Only, during the upgrade there was a power fluctuation so that the upgrade did not complete. In fact no computer on the network would boot normally. In addition while trying to resolve the failed upgrade, they found a flaw in their in-house back-ups. Now the business was losing days and money to downtime.

World Backup Day 2019

Celebrated On March 31st

Data is essential to us all.  We rely on it complete even the most basic daily tasks, and yet it is so easy to take for granted.

World Backup Day was established to remind us of the importance of data in our lives, and why we must make a sincere effort to protect it.

Think of all the information you access every day.  Photos, documents, financial records, calendars, reminders, even shopping lists are all stored electronically.  Having all that data right there at your fingertips makes life easier than ever before.  When something goes wrong, however, and that data is gone, even the most basic tasks become nearly impossible.

That is why we encourage you to take a few minutes on March 31st each year to make sure that your data is backed up and secure.  If it is, set aside some time to check and make sure that those backups are working properly and that you have access to them.  If your data is not backed up, mark the 31st in your calendar as the day you will fix that.

For more information on how World Backup Day came about, and how it is celebrated, you should visit their homepage.