XP was a game changer but the game has changed

Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014

By now, you will know that Microsoft withdrew support for Windows XP on April 8th and the software giant is as aware as we are of the column inches that have been dedicate to this subject in recent times. That’s why Microsoft is keen to start moving the debate on with some forward-looking advice to business owners.

In a blog post by Peter K. Han, Microsoft vice president of U.S. OEM, he says he does not want to go over old ground but, instead, concentrate on the benefits of Windows 8.1.

Han commented: “The topic has dominated technology and business publications over the past few months, and I’m not here to repeat what you already know. Instead, I’d like to focus on the real potential I’ve seen from saying goodbye to one of my favourite versions of Windows.”

No time for nostalgia

Han called Windows XP a ‘game changer’ in its time, an innovative system that provided new opportunities for organisations and helped consumers discover the real potential of Windows.

But the IT sector is a fast moving one with no time for nostalgia. Han made the point that Windows 8.1 offers a new and exciting opportunity for businesses to fully embrace that changes that have taken place since XP was a lad. He highlighted the following key areas, although there are surely many more for XP aficionados to discover.

How you can benefit from Windows 8.1


Microsoft’s latest operating system was designed to serve new mobile and touch-focused technologies and is as happy running on a tablet as a desktop. Windows 8.1 allows users to work on a huge range of fixed and mobile devices, which was certainly not the case with Windows XP.


What do users want? Faster boot time, greater performance and improved search and multi-tasking capabilities. Windows 8.1 offers all of this and more, such as the latest cloud-based integration, which means employees should be more productive and administrators able to deal with upgrades more efficiently.


The internet was not being used as extensively when Windows XP first hit the shelves. Whilst Microsoft’s latest operating system offers the very latest in connectivity options it is has also been developed to help protect your system from hackers and other cyber criminals.

Remote access

Sometimes when we’re out of the office, an unexpected call or emergency means we have to check in to deal with an urgent matter. Windows 8.1 Pro allows users to connect to an office PC by creating a secure Remote Desktop Connection from any web-connected device in the world.

So XP is dead. Long live Windows 8.1. Han probably has a point. As he summarises in his blog: “Change is not always easy, but upgrading to a modern operating system will ensure your business is best prepared for the changing landscape of how business is done in today’s digital world.

For more information on the choices available to your organisation post-XP, please contact Mustard IT on 020 3792 6994.

Microsoft boosts cloud appeal with security updates

Microsoft says its decision to extend the use of multifactor authentication for Office 365 will provide a boost to user security.

The firm has announced it is making two-step authentication available, free of charge, for certain enterprise programs, although this change will not immediately benefit Office 365 consumer and small business editions.

How safe is my online data?

Security is the biggest concerns when it comes to cloud-based solutions, so this development is designed to reassure those worried about the safety of the documents they upload.

Multifactor authentication means users are required to provide several pieces of information to gain access – not merely an eight character password. In theory, these identifiers could include the use of physical attributes such as retina scanning, although Microsoft has not confirmed it will be going so far at this stage.

Speaking about the changes users will see, product manager Paul Andrew said: “With multifactor authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password. Only after this second authentication factor has been satisfied can a user sign in.”

Microsoft’s new security improvements will also benefit users of Office 2013 client applications, with two-step verification support anticipated for Word, PowerShell, PowerPoint, Excel, Lync and Outlook.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft’s technical manager for Office 365, Paul Andrew, commented that OneDrive for Business, which is set to be launched before the end of 2014, will also be supported. This is the enterprise edition of the company’s flagship file-hosting service, which until recently was known as SkyDrive.

Multifactor authentication will be available to those on certain Office 365 plans, including the midsize business, academic, enterprise and non-profit editions. Businesses using SharePoint Online and Exchange Online will also benefit.