Monthly Archives: May 2018

  • What's the Difference Between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro?

    Microsoft Windows 10 Comparison

    windows 10 pro vs home

    Windows 10 has been available from Microsoft now for almost 3 years. When this latest version of Windows was introduced in July 2015, Microsoft also revealed their Universal Application Platform from which the Windows App Store delivers a multitude of applications to users. This innovation by Microsoft is built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which allows for the Windows App Store to be highly beneficial for users. Additionally, with Windows 10, Microsoft released more than just access to a wide range of applications. The coding behind Windows 10 also makes the operating system available to many different classes of computers including tablets, laptops, desktop PCs, and even two-in-one devices.

    Many home users were offered the option to upgrade to this new operating system as early adopters so many people upgraded for free when they had the opportunity. But many Windows users also chose to stay on the older versions such as Windows 7 and Windows 8. Also, many business-class customers chose to wait to upgrade their operating systems with their hardware. There are still substantial numbers of Microsoft customers who have not upgraded to Windows 10. Upcoming changes in other Microsoft Products will soon guide more users into an upgrade. Here are the differences between the two main versions of Windows 10, Home and Pro, which should help anyone planning an upgrade to make an informed choice.

    Windows 10 Home

    When deciding between different versions of Windows 10, it is important to know that Microsoft reduced the number of different versions available while offering quite a lot of features for even the Home version. Much of the rationale behind this was UWP and the Windows App Store. Likewise, Office 365 subscriptions were easier to offer on the Windows 10 platform. With Windows 10 Home, users now take advantage of a wide range of features:

    • Gaming is included in these features for Home users. XBox gaming thoroughly integrates Microsoft's game platform. Included in the gaming integrations are the Xbox app, game DVR, game streaming and XBox controller support among many.
    • Microsoft included in this computer operating system a basic version of Office 365, though this is a trial version.
    • Cortana, which originated in Microsoft's mobile operating system, integrates voice commands into the operating system like never before. Additional features include touchscreen capabilities, pen sketches, and Hello login.
    • Other feature which is included in Windows 10 Home is a basic encryption of data. However, this lightweight encryption package should not be confused with that which is offered with a regular subscription of Office 365.
    • Home version users also benefit from OneDrive so that cloud storage is available. The account is free, so the storage space is limited to 5 GB. However, an Office 365 subscription will add additional storage space.
    • One important feature available in the Home version is Mobile Device Management. This innovation for Windows 10 allows users to connect phones and manage apps and security for them from their computer.

    Windows 10 Pro

    The Windows 10 Pro edition is intended for use in business and education, commonly where secure networking is in use. As such, this version of Windows 10 offers several additional features to that of the Home version, though all of the Home version features are available in the Professional version. Here is a limited list of these additional functions:

    • Encryption in Pro is added security through BitLocker and Windows Information Protection which both provide access controls. These additional security functions are important for IT management in a networked environment.
    • Microsoft offers a wide range of customizable features for larger organizations such as schools and businesses.
    • Other important business additions provided through Windows 10 Pro are the business version of the Windows App Store, an enterprise browser version, Windows Business Update and more enterprise applications or options.
    • Since businesses and schools most commonly use networked editions, additional software features which are highly useful in such organizations are present in the Pro version. These features include virtualization, compatibility for Remote Desktop, Client Hyper-V, and numerous other customization options.
    • Windows services are also being repackaged through Windows 10 Pro as Windows 365, which is a combination of Office 365 and Windows 10 business enterprise options.

    Other Versions in the Business Class

    There are other versions of Windows 10 that are available, including Windows 10 S. Businesses and schools can take advantage of a lightweight version of the operating system to gain all the advantages of Windows 10 without the high cost from hardware and licensing. This means that Windows 10 S is designed to run on less expensive PCs which is aimed at specific organizational needs where limited budgets are the main driver when fulfilling IT necessities. For businesses which have large sets of employees with very standard functions, Windows 10 S meets those needs. Likewise, schools can also take advantage of Windows 10 S for its economic cost both in hardware and the OS version.

    However, Windows 10 S comes with limited functionality. For instance, while Windows 10 Home and Pro allow different browsers to be used, Windows 10 S limits the browser to Microsoft Edge. Likewise, only apps from the Windows App Store are generally allowed to be installed, the intention being to curtail malware which raises the cost of support for organizations on tighter budgets.

    All such limitations for Windows 10 S may seem like a drawback, but such feature limitations create a cost savings for budget challenge organizations. On the other hand, all files are stored to OneDrive and other basic features such as facial recognition and Cortana are still available.

    Comparison of Features Between Home and Pro Versions

    windows 10 home vs pro feature comparison chart

    Note: there are several other features and options not listed here due to the need for brevity. For any questions about these additional functions, please contact one of our experts.

    To learn more about Windows 10 and its features, contact our experts at Your one stop shop for OEM, Retail & Cloud software.

  • What to Expect from Office 2019

    office 2019

    Microsoft Office 2019 is expected to be released sometime this year. Most commonly, Microsoft releases its Office products during the year previous to its version name. For instance, Office 2016 was released late and 2015. Most experts agree that Office 2019 will not be released until September. With just a few months to go before this anticipated release, it is important to understand what to expect from the latest version of Office. In recent years, Microsoft has been changing its licensing model, tending more toward a subscription package than sticking with its traditional license. For many businesses it will be important to understand how long they can continue to use their current version of Office and how it will affect their other computing needs regarding Windows. With that in mind, it's time to delve into some of the intricacies of Office licensing and compatibility so you can make the best choices for your organization.

    How Office Has Been Licensed

    For many years, Microsoft licensed its Office products as a one time purchase. This meant that customers could use the software for as long as they wanted, or until it was no longer supported. It seemed like the older versions of Office remained in use for a very long time. Office 2003 was very popular and use in many organizations because it was an industry standard, remaining compatible on several Windows OS versions.

    Typically, most organizations have retained current versions of Microsoft Office for as long as it was compatible with the OS in use. Once an organization chose to upgrade their standard operating systems, the latest version of Office was included in the desktop image. For many years, businesses rotated out old equipment on a regular basis, only using something of a standard image based on the different models of computers. Increasingly over the years operating systems have required more computing power and older application versions were increasingly less compatible. This incompatibility has usually been driven by changes in the operating systems and the code platforms. As such, older coded applications are often not compatible with newer versions.

    Microsoft typically relied on its operating system and Office products being sold hand in hand with newer hardware. The company knew that most business organizations would eventually phase out it's oldest software in favor of newer hardware and software together. But, all along Microsoft had expected end-of-life expectations for when it intended to stop supporting versions of the software, including Office. Such is the case even now, as current versions of Office are expected to no longer be supported after a specific length of time. For the most recent version, Office 2016, that length of time is 10 years.

    How Microsoft is Moving Toward a Different Licensing Model

    With the newest Office application versions, Microsoft has shifted to a different licensing model, one which favors subscriptions. Many organizations have shifted to Office 365 in order to keep current more easily. However, many organizations have purchased various business level versions of Office in recent years with the expectation of using these applications and the compatible operating systems for the length of time specified or until hardware is no longer usable. So businesses still expect to use their Office applications under the "one-time purchase" license for up to ten years of support (the license doesn't expire but the "mainstream" support life is five years with an extended support life of five additional years for a total of ten years).

    In the case of Office 2016, this version of the software will run on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. But, Microsoft has indicated that Office 2019 will only be supported for the regular five "mainstream" years with a two year extension, meaning that it's end-of-life will be the same year as that of Office 2016. This change in support life leaves many industry experts to infer that after that time Microsoft will use only the subscription model for licensing its Office products. As a result of a short total support life for Office 2019, organizations must plan differently when considering upgrades to Office 2019. In many cases where new hardware will be used for close to that length of time the concern is not as great. However, the latest version of Office 2019 indicates an important change upcoming for Microsoft.

    When & What to Expect From Office 2019

    Office 2019 will almost certainly be released this year. Some companies will be in position to.use this newest version, since they already operate on the Windows 10 platform. The specific time of release has not been revealed by Microsoft, but many insiders believe it will be during the last quarter of the year. Office 365 subscribers may find that the latest version is available to them sooner as part of their subscription package.

    When considering the newest version of Office, most people discuss what features will be included that add to the functionality of the applications. There are some indications that the upcoming Office version will include some important improvements. Among the anticipated changes with Office 2019 are:

    • Improvements in functionality with Cortana
    • New charts and graphs for XL that improve data analysis
    • New and improved graphic effects which present more inking features
    • Many insiders believe that Morph and Zoom will be added to PowerPoint for more eye-catching presentations

    These features are very important additions to Office as will be others that have not been revealed by Microsoft. However, it is important to remember one specific caveat with Office 2019: this version will only be compatible with Windows 10. Organizations intending to retain their current versions of Windows 7 or Windows 8 while only upgrading to Office 2019 will find that the latest features will not be available unless upgrades to Windows 10 are made. This may be important, at least to some parts of an organization, while not as much to others. However, when receiving files from outside business which are using newer versions of Office, it will become increasingly more difficult to function with the older version of Office as well as that of Windows. So an upgrade to operating systems may be the first consideration before Office 2019 can be used.

    What Will Happen With Your Current Version

    Current Office versions still in use will still be licensed. But over the next several years these versions may become increasingly out of date. In the near-term, upgrading to Office 2019 will not be immediately necessary, but in the long-term, these upgrades will be an important factor for planning, especially where budgets are concerned.

    Updates for security will continue to be rolled out for previous versions as indicated by Microsoft in their licensing agreements. As mentioned earlier, the support will continue for the length specified, usually 10 years. But, improvements to these versions are not expected to be provided past the "mainstream" support life as has been the case in the past.

    What Will Happen With Office 365

    In the case of the Office 365, not much will change. Since Office 365 is a subscription, the newest version of Office will be automatically offered. Subscribers should have access to Office 2019 immediately as long as they are using Windows 10.

    Likewise, when renewing a subscription or shifting to Office 365 subscriptions, users will find that the newest version is available though still dependent upon the version of Windows. Since Microsoft intends only to support Office 2019 for a maximum of seven years, the software company clearly expects many of its customers to shift toward Office 365 over time. With upcoming versions of Office, a subscription license will become increasingly important for upgrades.

    Office 2019 and the Future Affects

    With the news that Office 2019 will only be compatible with Windows 10 businesses and other organizations which use the applications must begin planning accordingly. Immediate upgrades of Windows and Office may not be necessary, but they will be within just a few years, even months. When planning ahead it is also important to keep in mind that the license term for the length of support with Office 2019 is intended to be shorter and will coincide with the in of life support for Office 2016. Upgrades of Office should be considered carefully based on this information as subscription-based licensing through Office 365 will likely become the standard.

    To learn more aboutOffice 2019, its benefits and licensing options, contact our experts at Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.

  • Session Based Desktop Deployment Vs Virtual Machine Based

    remote desktop deployment

    There is little doubt that in today's demanding computing environments, where budgets are tighter and expectations for technological returns of investment high, organizations can meet their needs in a variety of hosted solutions. When it comes to desktop computing business users, hardware and necessary support can be some of the main drivers behind costs. But with the expectations to achieve more with applications, there are solid alternatives to desktop computers.

    Virtualized computing offers quite a lot of useful solutions for business class customers. Options such as VMs and Remote Desktop Session Host offer varying degrees of organizational efficiency with OS flexibility, scalability, savings, overhead reduction, and consistent security.

    These two options for business users provide many of the same features but have their own advantages and drawbacks versus each other. With either, expectations can be met while achieving cost reduction.

    Virtual Machine Based Deployment: The Custom Experience

    Since VMs arrived on the computing scene, they quickly challenged the Remote Desktop Session Host solutions such as Citrix (one of the longest used options for shared desktop solutions) and that offered by Windows (originally known as Terminal Services). Virtual machines, as the name implies, work the same as an actual physical desktop computer. These virtual machines are files which are created on storage appliances and servers which users can log onto from a terminal. VM users are presented with a one to one (VM to user) computing solution.

    Virtual machines also come with virtual devices and drivers which allow them to run off of resources provided through storage. The experience for users is much the same and allows for the use of a wide range of applications. Resources for the virtual machines do not change since these are already defined just like a physical desktop computer would have specifically installed storage, memory and CPU. Users can easily access and work on virtual machines just as if there were a physical computer on the desk. It is a custom experience that meets specific needs.

    Remote Desktop Session Based Deployment: The Standard Environment

    Remote Desktop Session Host (also known as session-based virtualization) has been around quite a bit longer than virtual desktops with varying platforms from Citrix to the Windows Remote Desktop. RDSH is different from virtual machines in that they are not presented to the user in the same way as a virtual machine would run. A virtual machine is essentially a PC hosted on remote storage. However, a remote desktop is a standard, shared user experience which does not vary and runs only those applications which are presented to the user through a limited desktop interface, usually through policy. This is a one-to-many solution where one standard desktop is presented to many users.

    While a physical terminal is used in both instances, a remote desktop does not use any virtual devices such as memory, storage and CPU. The user experience is very much standard and has much of the same feel as working on a virtual machine or personal computer. The difference is that remote desktops are only active when a user logs in to their desktop via a server running the shared desktop environment such as Citrix or RDSH.

    While both types of hosted computing allow for users to save files and share data, the cost and overhead can be quite different. This is because the differences between the two solutions are fundamentally different at their base in that virtual machines are much more of a customized experience versus RDSH commonly being a highly standardized experience.

    Advantages of VMs

    Virtual machines have their own set of advantages versus remote desktop sessions. Since a virtual machine has a defined amount of memory, storage and CPU, there is no chance that a user process will disrupt other users since the experience is not one shared at the machine level. Resources for virtual machines are made available via storage and software management.

    Additionally, virtual machines offer organizations the ability to use a wider range of applications. Also, applications do not have to be installed on every virtual machine. Since some classes of users may require applications which use more resources, virtual machines can be customized to fit the demands of applications, especially those that use high-end graphic design and modeling.

    Virtual machines specifically offer the same experience as that of a PC without the overhead of hardware maintenance. This kind of hosted computing provides all the power necessary at a lower cost, allowing for highly customizable VM's which are presented to users.

    Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) Advantages

    RDSH solutions easily mimic those of virtual machines but with a key difference; while virtual machines can be customized based on need, remote desktops are often standardized so that users have a limited number of applications which they can use. While the standardization creates limits, it is also less expensive than VMs. Common computing needs are easily delivered to a larger number of users through a terminal experience which is easily scaled at lower cost.

    The Drawbacks of Each Solution

    There are clear advantages with each of these remote computing solutions. However, VM's and Remote Desktop's each have their drawbacks. VM's require a higher budget due to licensing for operating systems, something which is far cheaper with RDSH because the operating system is shared to many users. VMs also put a higher demand on storage systems for customized solutions. Remote desktops do not have the same demands for resources since these are shared. With remote desktops, only those resources required by logged-on users are active.

    However, Remote Desktop's can create bottlenecks from processes which take up too many resources. Likewise, nonstandard applications may not easily be presented to Remote Desktop sessions. Additionally, other application maintenance and installation may be more difficult with RDSH while applications with higher demand for resources can make hosting these applications challenging.

    Since Windows server 2016 is the main hosting platform for remote desktop, much of the current advantages from Windows 10 are not available, the latter offering the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). UWP is the basis for the Windows Store in Windows 10 and any applications which are developed for this platform will not function, or may not have the same functionality, via RDSH on Windows server 2016. Whereas Windows 10 VMs will be able to use any UWP-based applications.

    Choosing Between the Two

    Both of these models for remote computing are highly desirable and useful, but for different reasons. They each offer their own advantages and flexibility. The server based Remote Desktop is far more scalable since not all resources for each user are required all of the time because not all users may be logged on at the same time and can be presented by policy.

    Meanwhile, virtual machines offer a highly customizable environment for demanding user needs. Memory storage and amount of CPU can be customized to fit applications. VMs offer a wider range of applications versus the more standardized offerings for RDSH. There is also less application maintenance required for virtual machines.

    The determining factors when choosing between RDSH and VM's are dependent on cost and need. A large organization may only need to offer remote desktop to a high number of employees with standard computing requirements, so this solution can be very cost-effective. Meanwhile, a smaller organization may need virtual machines for a larger percentage of high-end users because of more specialized applications and their requirements. Often times, organizations may find that they need a mixture, or hybrid solution, between these two types of remote computing.

    Neither solution is specifically better than the other, it is more of a degree of fit for needs and budget. Each solution provides very consistent security. It is the variations between licensing, application compatibility, and other factors which will determine the decision between these two options or using them together.

    Consider these details when choosing remote computing solutions:

    remote desktop vs virtual machine comparison graph

    To learn more about Virtual Machines, RDSH or other Azure cloud services, contact our experts at Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.