The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Extend the Effectiveness of Your Wireless Network

Extend the Effectiveness of Your Wireless Network

Your business wireless connection is an increasingly important consideration, which means it needs to be installed and supported thoughtfully. Today, we will tell you a little bit about Wi-Fi and how to get the best performance out of your business’ wireless network.

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How to Tell When Your Technology Needs Upgrading

How to Tell When Your Technology Needs Upgrading

The curious thing about information technology is that, while it improves as any other technology would, the environment can accelerate the various changes made to it at various rates. As a result, knowing when your business needs to upgrade its technology isn’t always so cut-and-dry. To help, we’re sharing a few clear indicators that hint that the time has come.


Your IT Team is Always Busy

Or, more specifically, they are always scrambling to fix problems as they pop up. Older technology is prone to issues like this (and others, as we will get into). So, if your internal team is always chasing down problems, or you’ve been calling in the local IT guy almost every day, it will be more helpful to upgrade your technology. More up-to-date solutions will be less susceptible to these kinds of difficulties, so the costs saved in maintenance and remediation will likely offset the financial burden of an upgrade.

Your Employees are Frustrated and Default to Using Workarounds

One of the most reassuring things about most job processes is the fact that there is a process at all, so if your technology no longer allows your set processes to be followed, how do you think your employees will react to it? They aren’t going to be happy, that’s for sure, and in order to accomplish what they are responsible for, they might resort to finding their own, less efficient (and less secure) methods to complete their objectives… methods that might be laden with problems. Improved tools can eliminate this need by providing a set, company-approved and secure process for employees to follow.

Your Technology Runs Reeeeaaaally Sloooooooowly

Speaking of things that frustrate your users, slow technology is perhaps public enemy number one in the office. Whether workstations are taking too long to boot up, the Internet connection is flaky, you deal with slow application load times, or too many other examples to list here, lagginess is generally best resolved by a replacement. This is very closely related to our next warning sign…

...You’re Feeling Financial Strains

It’s simple math, really. If each task takes longer to complete, fewer tasks can be completed throughout the day, which usually translates to reduced revenue overall. At the same time, your employees will still be paid their usual wage, meaning that you’re spending the same amount of money to generate less income. It doesn’t take an economics degree to see that this isn’t good.

Investing in an upgrade can help you improve your productivity, which gives you the potential to generate increased amounts of revenue. So, instead of working for less money, you have the chance to see some significant returns from your investment.

You’re More Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

Here’s the worst of it: as technology improves, so do the cyberattacks that bad actors will use to undermine it. By using older technology, you are effectively welcoming cybercriminals to attack you--especially if your tools have passed their end of support date. Updating your software, whether it’s your security solution or the productivity tools you rely on, helps to reinforce your overall security by reducing a particularly potent weakness.

So, when all is said and done, keeping up on your IT upgrades is a bit of a no-brainer. For more information on whether or not you need to upgrade your IT, or assistance in doing so, reach out to The Connection, Inc! Our professionals are just a call to (732) 291-5938 away.

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Windows 7 EOL is Not the End of the World

Windows 7 EOL is Not the End of the World

Windows 7 is only days away from being officially retired by Microsoft. The software company has done all it can to try to educate users about the end of the OS, which has its last support update on January 14, 2020, but won’t be getting any more. As of this writing there are still nearly 25 percent of computers running Windows 7. Let’s take a look at why it is imperative that you upgrade or find a solution to get out from under the Windows 7 OS. 


The first thing you should know is that when the end of life date passes, the software will still be completely functional. It’s not as if it will fail to load on your computer, but what will happen, however, is that it will not get another software patch or update. Over time, this could cause a whole slew of negative situations. Among them, networks that the Windows 7 computer is connected to will not be secure. That could cause some very real problems. 

Of course, you could take your Windows 7 systems offline, or quarantine them behind another firewall, but there is nothing you can do that will be safe over a prolonged amount of time. You will be breached, and any new vulnerabilities will become large holes in your computing infrastructure. You may not think you can afford to upgrade away from Windows 7, but you sure cannot afford to be left without support from Microsoft. 

So, What Are the Options?

Currently, you have several options, even now, that can keep your business out of the line of fire, so to speak. These include:

Upgrade systems to Windows 10 

This is the obvious one. By upgrading to Windows 10, you are sure to get the security patches and other updates needed to keep your business out of harm's way. Since the minimum specifications that it takes to run Windows 10 aren’t much more than it takes to run Windows 7, it seems like a solid plan to upgrade if you can. Here are the specs your computer will need:

  • Processor - 1 GHZ or faster
  • RAM - 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space - 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
  • Graphics card - DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display - 800 x 600 resolution

All told, most computers that were running Windows 7 can run Windows 10. Above are the minimum specifications, so if you have a computer with this hardware profile, you shouldn’t expect the Windows 10 OS to run fast.  If you are going to go this route, we recommend that every Windows 10 workstation have some type of 2 GHz dual-core processor, 4-to-8 GB of RAM, and at least a 160 GB hard drive.

Replace Hardware Systems

If you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, or if you can get some good terms on a lease, this may be the easiest way to move past Windows 7. You would have all new hardware which would come with Windows 10 installed. It may take some time to configure your new hardware with your line-of-business software, but at least you would get regular Windows 10 updates. 

Virtualize and Use a Thin Client

You can repurpose your old hardware to act as thin clients. This may take some capital to do since you would have to virtualize your data and applications, but it might just be an option for your organization. Since you have a severely limited timeline, it may be impossible to ensure that your data is protected before the deadline. 

Microsoft is offering a service called Microsoft 365 that could make this transition a little easier. For a flat rate billed per user, you can get Windows 10, Office 365 with a terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage, and dynamic security software that can be accessed through any Internet browser. If you have teams of workers that only need access to productivity software, you could do much worse than this cloud-based option. 

No matter how you go about doing it, you have to get out from under Windows 7 now. Call our IT experts today at (732) 291-5938 if you would like help going through your options. 

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The End for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 Just Days Away

The End for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 Just Days Away

Microsoft is just days away from officially retiring their Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems. If your business is, for whatever reason, still using this software, you will need to upgrade by January 14 or face using unsupported software that could quickly become a security problem for your business. Let’s take a look at your options.

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Warning Signs That Your Computer Is on Its Last Legs

Warning Signs That Your Computer Is on Its Last Legs

It is no secret that a computer that doesn’t seem to want to behave (or seems to experience constant issues) is something that most people just want to replace, no questions asked. However, by nature of how computing devices are put together, it is entirely possible that your device could simply be in need of a (much less expensive) repair.


Here, we’ll review some of the issues your device may be exhibiting, and discuss what could potentially be causing them. First, however, we need to address the first step you should take - just to be safe.

Take a Backup at the First Sign of Trouble

The moment you suspect that something may be wrong with your device’s hardware, you need to make a point of taking a backup, double and triple-checking that your data is redundantly saved. Ideally, at least three copies, saved in at least two locations, one of which is located offsite. This way, should something go terribly wrong with your equipment before you can solve the problem, you won’t lose everything.

This is purely a means of mitigating a worst-case scenario, and is really a best practice that you should be following every day as there are a variety of situations where a backup can prove useful.

Once you have done so, you are ready for some basic diagnostics.

Issue: Recurring Software Problems

This is one of the surest signs that there is an issue, as long as a few conditions are met. First off, you need to consider how many software titles are experiencing repeated problems. If it is just one title in particular, the problem is probably with the software, not your device. However, if multiple programs are behaving oddly--crashing, glitching out, or freezing--there could be a much more serious problem at play with the software that supports your computer.

This is when it is time to try reformatting the hard disk and reinstalling the operating system (which is exactly the kind of situation in which it helps to have a data backup at the ready). Most software issues would be resolved by this, so if your issues persist, you likely have an issue with the hardware that actually makes up the device.

Issue: Malfunctioning or Failing Hardware

As your computer is made up of many different parts, any of them could potentially fail… and depending on which part it is that does, you could be facing a relatively simple replacement of a certain component, or the replacement of the entire device.

For example, issues with dead pixels on the screen of your device or an unresponsive touchpad are times when it’s just more economical to replace or repair the part, whereas an issue with the motherboard (which would mean replacing a litany of other components, like your RAM, the CPU…) might make it more worth your while to just replace the entire device. In these situations, it is likely better to turn to an expert for their professional opinion.

Issue: Loud Parts or Lacking Performance

While computers don’t have wrinkles, they certainly show their age in other ways. Devices that haven’t been maintained well or are getting long in the metaphorical tooth can become noisy, hard drives clicking and grinding or fans running on full speed, effectively all the time. These are signs that something isn’t quite right in your computer, and that this something needs to be resolved before the part making the noise fails entirely.

A slower computer can also be a sign that your computer has outlived its productivity, but it could also indicate the need for some maintenance. Before taking any drastic measures, try emptying some space on the device’s hard drive and running a virus check to see if your computer’s resources aren’t being used pointlessly. If this doesn’t help matters, it is likely time to replace the device.

A good rule of thumb to follow when deliberating between repairs or replacement: if your computer is too old to run updated software, or your repairs will cost more than half of what a new device would cost, replace it.

If you still aren’t sure about the state of your current devices, or just want a professional opinion as to what your best option is, reach out to The Connection, Inc. Our job is to ensure that businesses have the resources they need to effectively function. To find out more, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Windows 7’s Time Has Come

Windows 7’s Time Has Come

Chances are if you are still using Windows 7, you’ve begun to see warning messages about its imminent end-of-support date. Microsoft is retiring support for one of its best tools on January 14, 2020 and if you are still running Windows 7 after that date, it could put your whole IT infrastructure at risk. Let’s take a look at the particulars of Windows 7’s retirement and what your options are.

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How Much TLC Does Your IT Need?

How Much TLC Does Your IT Need?

Technology is a requirement in today’s businesses - but just having technology isn’t nearly enough. You need to make sure that you are performing the proper maintenance activities as well, to prolong the useful life of your solutions. Here, we’ll review a few basics to keeping your technology solutions ready for your use… and how we can help with that.

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Alert: Microsoft is Retiring Two Major Operating Systems

Alert: Microsoft is Retiring Two Major Operating Systems

Windows is a great operating system, but unless you’re keeping track of which version you have, you’ll be in for a rude awakening when it comes time to upgrade. In just six short months, there will be two Windows End of Life events for major technology solutions: Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. You need to start thinking about upgrading now before it’s too late to do so.

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It’s Time to Upgrade Away from Windows 7

It’s Time to Upgrade Away from Windows 7

All good things must eventually come to an end, and that includes your business’ technology solutions. The end of a Windows operating system’s reign on the market is always an eventful time, as you have businesses that take proactive measures to ensure they don’t fall behind the times before the end of support date, and you have those who wait until the last minute and put their organizations at risk because of it.

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How to Prioritize Your Upcoming Technology Implementations

How to Prioritize Your Upcoming Technology Implementations

No matter how hard some organizations may try, the technology solutions that a business leverages simply aren’t meant to last forever. You may have noticed that some of your systems are less effective than they once were, and that your competition seems to be playing with a different set of rules. Sounds like it’s high time you implemented a few upgrades.

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Tip of the Week: Preparing For a Successful Upgrade

Tip of the Week: Preparing For a Successful Upgrade

A business’ IT solutions aren’t the kind of thing that you can worry about once and never touch again - this is why manufacturers and developers are always sending out upgrades. However, you also need to have a strategy ready before you go to implement these upgrades. For this week’s tip, we’ll review how to put this strategy together.

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Windows 7 Support Available, For a Price

Windows 7 Support Available, For a Price

Microsoft is coming to the end of its support for the wildly popular Windows 7 operating system, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t make a contingency plan for those organizations that haven’t yet made the jump to new systems. It just won’t be cheap. We’ll break down the upcoming Windows 7 end of life event, and how Microsoft is offering an olive branch of sorts to organizations that simply haven’t upgraded away from this OS.

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When Do You Know When It’s Time For an Upgrade?

When Do You Know When It’s Time For an Upgrade?

Nothing lasts forever; this phrase is true regardless of which industry you’re in or business you run. We all use technology in the office to a certain extent, and the ugly truth is that someday that technology will fail. It’s critical that you monitor technology for warning signs prior to its failure so as to avoid costly repair bills and rushed replacements. You might be surprised by how much you save as a result.

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What You Need to Know About Technology Upgrades

What You Need to Know About Technology Upgrades

Even if we’d like it to last forever, business technology can’t possibly do so for a number of reasons. Due to the fact that businesses and their technology are constantly upgrading and changing, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll have to upgrade your technology at some point, whether it reaches its end-of-life event or just simply becomes obsolete for your organization. In fact, failing to update your infrastructure from time to time can have serious negative side-effects for your business.

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Your Technology May Fail, but You Can Still Succeed

Your Technology May Fail, but You Can Still Succeed

If you’ve been in business for a while, there are devices on your network that see little to no use. Even for the most frugal business, due to the fact that technology eventually winds up being arbitrary thanks to the continued development (and deployment) of more powerful solutions, there will always be situations where you have devices that do nothing but take up space. You can reduce the chances of this happening by finding the right IT for the job the first time, while sparingly implementing only IT solutions that will provide a return on your investment.


If you’re trying to determine whether or not a piece of technology will help your business, you’ll first have to figure out how the technology will affect your product or service. If you think your business can properly utilize the technology to create more opportunities and improve efficiency as a whole, then it’s clear what you must do. On the other hand, if the solution doesn’t offer you obvious benefits, you’ll have to put more thought into whether or not you’ll actually want to implement it. An IT provider or technician can be of great benefit in this regard--especially when you’re facing IT troubles.

We’ll discuss some of the technology that you’ll find in today’s business environment, as well as when you know it might be on its way out.

Server Hard Drives
Your business probably has at least one server unit on-premise which relies on hard disk drives (HDD) in order to accomplish various tasks. These tend to last around three-to-five years, but they will also showcase various signs of failure before it actually strikes. Here are some of them:

  • The drive is making strange noises (clicking, whirring, humming).
  • Repeated crashes and software errors.
  • Repeated disk errors.
  • Strange computer behavior.

Keep in mind that these signs of trouble can also apply to just about any device that utilizes a HDD. Many computers these days have moved in the direction of solid-state drives (SSD) due to the plethora of benefits they provide, but they are constructed in a fundamentally different way. Monitoring them is the best way to ensure they don’t prematurely fail and cause a world of trouble for your organization. The Connection, Inc can help you accomplish this in an easy and affordable way that won’t break your bottom line.

As far as some telltale signs of a failing SSD, here are a couple to think about:

  • Recurring error messages
  • Files that can’t be written or read
  • Frequent crashes during the boot phase

Upgrading your hard drives and solid-state drives periodically can help you ensure minimal damage in the long run, but we always recommend having a quality data backup system in place as well to minimize downtime and the costs associated with it.

Networking Components
Businesses that suffer from networking problems can have significant difficulty keeping operations progressing at a smooth rate. If your employees need access to data or the Internet to do their jobs, they will simply get paid to do nothing in the event of a downtime incident. If you are experiencing issues with staying connected to the resources needed to stay productive, perhaps you need to investigate the issue at the source of the problem--either your router or the service provider.

Of course, it could also just be an internal networking issue, but this isn’t always easy to diagnose. If your business needs assistance with rooting out the cause of networking problems or inconsistencies with your IT infrastructure, The Connection, Inc can help. To learn more, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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Failing Technology and Your Data

Failing Technology and Your Data

The sad truth about computers is that when they inevitably break, you have to get them fixed; or, you have to order a new one. When PCs started to be utilized for mass productivity, however, businesses had to find a better way. It’s been years since the first managed services provider hung out their shingle, and over that relatively short time the managed services industry has grown to be a $150 billion-a-year industry. The combination of IT becoming an important part of nearly every business resulted in the obvious demand for affordable IT support. This trend has seen many businesses cutting IT staff to make way for outsourced managed services, and all it provides. A problem that both businesses, and the MSPs that they hire, face is that computers eventually break.


For years now businesses have had to set aside capital to fix and replace their information systems; capital that could be better served invested elsewhere. Managed services tries to put a flat rate on every piece of IT you need managed and comes up with a consistent billable figure that not only allows a business to plan their operational IT budget more accurately, but allows them access to the expertise they may have lacked without a dedicated IT administrator. MSPs form of proactive maintenance can go a long way toward providing the kind of longevity that any organization would want from their hardware; but, while we can do a lot to protect your systems from failure, there’s no way to definitively know when a piece of hardware is going to fail.

When technology breaks, it leaves a hole in your functioning business that has a cost attached to it. If it's a switch or a router, or even a workstation that needs to be replaced, it’s cheap enough. The cost to replace an in-house enterprise server, however, is between $5,000 and $20,000 dollars. Couple that with the fact that hardware prices that had been dropping for a decade have begun to rise, it suggests that it won’t be getting cheaper to replace a physical server unit anytime soon. At The Connection, Inc, we like to think of ourselves as solution providers, and today there are more options than ever for the housing, management, and maintenance of an organization’s computing infrastructure, including storage and applications.

When your server is about to fail, and you need a new one, buying a new one has to be a no-brainer. So how do you go about it? How do you get the data from the old hardware to the new hardware? What about networking? With so many factors to consider, relying on the experts is a must. If you have in-house technology professionals, they probably have this process worked out as to not cause the business a lot of additional problems. After all, a failed server carries with it enough anxiety without the additional fear that goes with not being able to do the work that is required to sustain profitability. But, if you don’t have dedicated IT personnel on staff, the process might get a little overwhelming.

Let’s assume that (for this example) your organization’s file server is about to fail and you don’t have any contingency in place. What variables do you need to consider?

  1. Are you backed up?
  2. Do you have failover?
  3. In-house or Cloud
  4. Migration plan: RTO & RPO
  5. Functionality and Security

Are You Backed Up?
Has your organization put in place a backup function? Before we start in on a new server, every business should be utilizing a comprehensive backup and recovery system. Not only do you protect your data (one of the most lucrative assets your business has), but it also gives you failover options that many organizations might not have. Our Backup and Disaster Recovery system features incremental backups and the ability to use the device as a failover server, so your business isn’t dealing with sustained downtime while you replace or repair your server.

Do You Have Failover?
A failover system is a system in place that allows you to protect your organization from system failure. By having a system to continue to access critical data, you can keep business moving while you replace or repair vital hardware. As stated above, our BDR gives temporary failover server capabilities to ensure the smoothest transition you can expect.

In-House or Cloud?
The big decision many businesses have to make nowadays is where to host your server. There are pros and cons to moving your infrastructure to the cloud, as today a well-designed-and-implemented cloud server is often more beneficial depending on the needs of your organization. The average business has multiple servers, so when one is on the verge of failure (or fails outright) and you are forced to use your failover platform as a temporary server, considering a move that will allow you to manage to get the server up and running again efficiently has to be a consideration. There are many cloud-hosted options to consider. Performing the cloud vs in-house determination. When your hardware gets old (or your software is), you have to start to consider your options. Let’s look at some variables you should be cognizant of when deciding whether or not to move your computing infrastructure offsite.

In-House Computing - The traditional method of computing, some would argue, is tried and true. You purchase the hardware outright, you license the software you need, you equip it with the storage you need, and you manage and maintain it in house. The server unit itself is a big expense, but most small to medium-sized businesses could justify the purchase if it was between losing data and continuing efficient production. You have to ascertain what the costs are and see if a new onsite server is cost effective for you.
Cloud Computing - If your computing infrastructure needs to be replenished, there are several great cloud-hosted computing options your business could consider. From affordable public cloud solutions to resource and capital intensive private cloud solutions, the cloud has options for any business that needs to upgrade their computing infrastructure. The cloud also helps organizations that want to put an emphasis on remote work and collaboration.

Migration Plan: RTO & RPO
When migrating data onto a new server from backup, you need to understand the costs of doing so. That’s why disaster recovery experts have defined the necessary metrics you need to understand when recovering data after a server failure (or any major data loss incident). They are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective. (RPO). In the context of data recovery, the RTO is a measurement of the amount of time your business can go without storage or applications while they are restored, while the RPO is a measure of how far back data recovery needs to go to get your organization up and running efficiently. Typically the two values work against each other, so determining how much data you need and how fast you’ll need it by to keep your company functional becomes extremely important.

New and Old, Side-By-Side
Once you have your new computers up and running with all the software and appliances configured, make sure to leave your old system up (if possible), even if a hardware failure is imminent. This will allow you the time to ensure that your new server is working optimally when it matters most. After you’ve ironed out all the kinks, you then can shut down and recycle your old server.

There are many more tips and tricks we can give you to ensure that in replacing your old technology, you are getting powerful, effective, and reliable upgrades. For more information about proactive managed services that can tell you if it’s time to refresh your hardware, call the IT professionals at The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938.

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Free Windows 10 Upgrade Coming to an End on July 29th

Free Windows 10 Upgrade Coming to an End on July 29th

Over the past year, Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, has gained a massive user base. With over 300 million devices worldwide running it, it’s safe to say that Windows 10 has, thus far, been a commercial success. However, the biggest reason for upgrading to Windows 10 (the free upgrade) will soon expire. So, are you going to take advantage of this, or wait until later?

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3 IT Shortcomings That Drive Employees Crazy, and What You Can Do About Them

b2ap3_thumbnail_fix_your_own_pc_400.jpgFor small and medium-sized businesses, technology management can be a tricky situation. You want to ensure that your IT doesn't break your budget, but you also want to make using your technology as easy as possible for your end users. Unfortunately, for many employees, your business’s technology conduct and practices could be driving them insane.

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66% of Organizations Will Wait for Their Operating Systems to “Expire” Before Upgrading

b2ap3_thumbnail_upgrade_your_os_400.jpgWhen it comes to technology, upgrading is part of the package. Despite this being a well-established fact, some business owners will delay upgrading for as long as possible, while others will upgrade as soon as the latest product is released. What’s behind a company’s motivation to upgrade or not? We can better understand this by looking at a study on why businesses upgrade their operating systems.

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What Makes Windows 10 Twice as Popular as Windows 8?

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_windows_10_400.jpgMicrosoft’s most recent addition to the Windows family of operating systems, Windows 10, is full of new features, but when it comes to implementing it, many businesses are still dragging their heels. However, the primary reason for this seems to be the fact that organizations want to make sure Windows 10 won’t break their IT infrastructure. Despite this handicap, Windows 10 is still being tested on twice as many PCs as Windows 8 was following its release.

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730