Upcoming changes to major Microsoft products
Microsoft Windows 8.1 released on October 18th
The second iteration of Microsoft Windows 8, 8.1, occurred on October 18th. Significant changes to this operating system include:
- Boot to Desktop – Yes, you can restore the Start button and bypass the tiles, but don’t expect the traditional Start menu to appear since pressing Start takes you to the live tiles of the current Start screen. (You can, at least, shut-down from the Start button once again.)
- Help + Tips – Helpful clues are sequenced to usage, permitting an easier start-up and shortening learning times.
- Smart Search – Windows 8 Search charm on steroids; all search results, local and otherwise, pooled together in a comprehensive summary.
- Snap – Open up-to four applications and display them simultaneously on a single screen.
An excellent review of Windows 8.1 by Brad Chapos of PC World is available at http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048508/windows-8-1-review-the-great-compromise.html. He also provides the top-five reasons to upgrade to Windows 8.1 at http://www.pcworld.com/article/2043268/the-top-5-reasons-to-upgrade-to-windows-8-1.html.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 release date was October 18th
Release 2 (R2) of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is now available.
Per Microsoft: “Windows Server 2012 R2 offers exciting new features and enhancements across virtualization, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, and more.”
Along with this revision, Microsoft increased pricing on Windows Server Data Center to $6,155 and on Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Client Access Licenses (CALs) to $118.
For details, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/windows-server-2012-r2.aspx.
The end is near for Windows XP, Office 2003, Server 2003, and Exchange 2003
Microsoft is ending support of Windows XP, its most-popular, desktop-computer operating system, on April 8th, 2014. In addition, Office 2003, Windows Server 2003, and Exchange Server 2003 will reach end-of-life (EOL) on this date.
Basically, Microsoft will discontinue patching and updating these products, which exposes them to security and compliance risks; it will likely also end support for third-party applications that work with these products.
Microsoft’s message: Upgrade these products now or risk problems later.