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Time to Buy a New PC

New and exciting laptops and convertibles (laptop/tablet) are announced every day. Yesterday Microsoft announced a bunch of new devices with the new Surface Book, a new phone and so on. Even critics are cheering. With the new Windows 10 available it is time to retire your old hardware. It is an exciting time and integration between all these form factors are key. There has never been a better time to buy a new device. Read up about the new Microsoft devices, but also HP, Dell, Toshiba or Lenovo have great offers. Whatever you buy, remember that PCmover will save your day and make the migration easy and painless.—the-surface-book-lumia-950.htm
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• What should a small business look for in a new PC? 
[Thomas Koll] 
Of course it depends very much on the business itself. At this stage I would always buy a Windows 10 device. But I recommend to look at three criteria: (1) How do I want to use the PC (laptop vs. desktop) and if Laptop, should it be a 2-in-1 meaning that I can use it as a tablet as well. This can be very convenient for browsing, watching, checking email. The laptops have become very powerful and can rival any desktop. Touchscreen is a must as many websites are changing to a format geared towards tablet browsing and less for mouse browsing. (2) basic specs: SSD in laptops is good, but 128GB might not be enough for many business laptops. Buyers might want to look at 256 GB. What processor? Intel i5 is great for office work, Intel i7 if you need more power. If you pick an AMD system (A-6, A-8, A-10 or similar, make sure you understand how the compare to the Intel family).  I would not recommend anything less. Memory should be 4 GB minimum, but I would opt for 8 GB.  (3) What should be connected. The new laptops and higher end machines have only selected ports. All have USB, but be sure that you are ok with missing network ports (wireless only or needed USB adapters) and the monitor ports. HDMI or DisplayPort. It makes no difference, but you have to deal with adapters often. If you plan to use high resolution monitors, check the output of the PC. Some laptops run high resolution like 4k, but will not necessarily connect to 4k monitors or TVs. This has become very confusing, but it’s worth to check it out.
• When a business is migrating from one OS to another, how can they ensure they aren't losing data? 
[Thomas Koll] 
With a new PC most businesses will migrate from XP, Win7 or Win8.1 to Windows 10. In any constellation, it is best to use a migration/transfer tools that can find all the documents and even transfers settings and applications. However, before migrating off the old PC, a backup should always be done. Market leader in migration and recommended by Microsoft is PCmover. 
• What do businesses need to know about moving large amounts of data? 
[Thomas Koll] 
Moving large amounts of data needs time. It depends largely on the speed of the old PC, the connection (network) and if you have large files or many small files. It would be good to keep large amount of data on an external storage device. The it can be easily attached to a new PC. Again, always have backups. Drives do break and more often these days. Cloud storage is an option, but the upload needs a very long time. Again, using a migration tool will guarantee getting all the data across. 
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Key Reasons for Businesses to Upgrade to Windows 10
By Thomas Koll, CEO of Laplink (edited by Shireen McCleary)
Oct. 1, 2015

Windows 10 returns to the more familiar and popular Windows 7 User Interface elements, combined with improvements that users found in Windows 8/8.1, plus the use of Apps. 

Businesses generally did not adapt to Windows 8 because of the unfamiliar UI, and therefore avoided retraining their staff. RT apps were also unfamiliar and more disturbing to users who were familiar with Windows’ consistent layout that had not changed for years. A multi-Windows work environment was made more difficult in Windows 8/8.1. 

However, after consideration, I have developed a list of initial reasons to upgrade to Windows 10. In the new operating system, there is cross-device familiarity and universal apps. These are huge for bigger organizations: having the ability to run and manage different form-factors with the same operating system can increase the presence of Windows tablets and phones within organizations. And after the surge of tablets for “quick and easy use” the need for integrated devices will grow. 

Another incentive is that enterprise apps can be built “once” and deployed (optimized) for all devices, although it is not necessarily that easy. This goes for mobile management, too. 

Most significantly, Cortana, Windows 10’s voice activated assistant, can be a change agent of how consumers interact with the desktop PC. Voice-enabled commands will likely change a user’s behavior more than touch screen did. Because while touch is good for tablets, phones, even laptops, it is not for desktops: voice makes the difference. Voice recognition and machine learning will enable new and innovative scenarios. 

Of course, there are issues to be aware of in Windows 10, like the fact that there is no “Windows Easy Transfer” in Windows 10, requiring users to seek a third party tool to complete a migration of data and programs PC to PC. Users who are running Windows 10 have complained about the constant updates that pop up; regardless, these initial downfalls do not hold enough weight to deter a business that should upgrade. 

Below are my key reasons for why businesses should upgrade to Windows 10. 

Cost of ownership is lower
o A common family of devices will drive down costs to users. Plus, Windows 10 doesn’t need faster hardware. 
o Device management will become easier. 
o Security improvements / Support of two factor authentication / Better browsing experience (Edge) 

 Upgrading (I am ignoring all scenarios of virtualization)

• There are three areas of concern that have been neglected in many deployments of new operating systems or new PCs. 
o In-place upgrades with Windows 10 (Microsoft supported scenarios)
o In-place upgrades where an existing PC is upgraded with the new Windows OS
o PC refresh where PCs are replaced

• In-place upgrades with Windows 10 (Microsoft supported)
o Deploying Windows 10 upgrades for Windows versions of the same architecture (i.e. 64-bit to 64-bit) and from Windows 7 and 8.1 should be unproblematic. However, Microsoft does not supported upgrades from Windows XP, Vista or 8. It also does not support cross-architecture for upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit. 

• In-place upgrades with Win 10 (not supported by Microsoft)
o For upgrades that are not supported by Microsoft, the IT team has to use PCmover Upgrade Assistant, which allows the restoration of all of the data where all of the applications, data and settings are transferred to the Windows.old directory. PCmover Upgrade Assistant can restore these from that directory to the Windows 10 system. 
o PCmover Upgrade Assistant is very unique. There is no comparable software in the market.
o The most common scenario that we encounter with our customers is complicated by IT departments wanting to refresh the corporate image with the Windows upgrade. In that scenario, PCmover will export all applications, data, and settings to a central location or an external drive. A corporate image will be transferred to the PC and, subsequently, the applications, data, and settings will be re-imported to the PC.

• PC refresh where PCs are replaced
o PC refresh scenarios often neglect the important step of transferring the needed applications, data, and settings from the old PC. It leaves this burdensome tasks to the local technician or even to the user to do the transfer manually. This leads to a tremendous amount of time loss, dissatisfaction, and data loss. It also increases the costs for help desk support and trouble shooting. 
o Without an automated process in place, organizations lose between $300 and $1500 in soft and hard costs, which are often not in the IT budget, and are therefore ignored. 
o PC-to-PC migration with PCmover Enterprise allows the direct transfer of selected applications, data, and settings with the use of the Policy Manager to manage the migration of unmanaged PCs.
o Corporate images are transferred to the new PC either in factory, lab, or at the workplace.
o New PCs need to be signed in to the domain to create a trust relationship before the migration.
o PCmover will not overwrite corporate images, but adds selected components from the old PC, as determined by the user or IT Admin.
o Transfers can happen via a corporate network, dedicated switches (to avoid network traffic), or directly using Laplink High speed cables (USB or Ethernet.)
o PCmover Enterprise can be executed by command-line script using SCCM or similar deployment tools.
o PCmover can also be executed from a server share, a USB drive. or a memory stick.

What else do CIOs need to know before they do the deployment?
• CIOs can save money on refresh projects by utilizing automated tools like PCmover Enterprise. There are some competitive products, but none that have the breadth or the customization without development as a resource, which is provided by Laplink.
• Our learning with many Fortune 1000 companies and governmental organizations show that the saving are highest for user-managed PCs (admin rights, allowed to store information locally, can install applications needed) and remotely located PCs. Conversely, savings are minimal with IT-managed, centrally-located PCs. The former is the much larger scenario.
• The productivity loss during a deployment cycle or costs for outsourced technicians is an accepted evil, because many do not realize that this can be overcome.
• Internal case studies show that even user-driven deployments are highly efficient without the use of external or internal IT staff after thorough planning and customizations.
• Deployment manpower did not need to be increased, and savings could be realized. 
How has Microsoft fixed usability issues for end-users?
• Traditionally, Microsoft has done a lot of usability testing during and after product development, probably more than any other software company.
• These efforts have increased dramatically by installing a high-power department that uses telemetry to find the most efficient ways to use devices. 
• With Windows 10, there are even more improvements:
o By creating the notion of Windows as a service, we will see more small improvements in short periods versus the former service packs and new version approach in delivering updates to the user desktops. This might be a concern for large organizations if there are constant changes to their approved image, and changes in usability.
o Windows 10 might morph over time to take all of their users’ feedback into consideration, which is now commonplace in software development and product marketing.
o Even more significant is the change in the overall company approach. When Windows 8 launched, senior Windows management were adamant about how they believed users should work, and how the industry was changing. All user feedback and industry concerns were largely ignored. Under Satya Nadella, current CEO it seems that Microsoft has matured to listening to its customers. In this regard, the company is returning to some of the proven concepts of the past. It’s hard to judge from the outside, but it seems to be a new Microsoft in that sense. However, we should not kid ourselves: Microsoft will take a stance in driving innovation no matter what users say and correctly so. Listening to all users might hinder progress.
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