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.

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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Tip of the Week: Usability of the Taskbar

Tip of the Week: Usability of the Taskbar

If you take a look at any computer in an office environment, there is a solid chance that it is running the Windows operating system. Whenever we have the opportunity, we like to share tips and tricks to help both normal and power users alike get the most out of their operating system. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to make navigating your computer just a little bit easier.


Highlight Your Folders

More often than not, most people won’t need to access more than a handful of files or folders at any given time. If you’re annoyed enough by accessing these files, you can add direct links to important files right in the taskbar. Here is how you can do it:

  • Right-click any unused space in the taskbar. This will open a menu of options.
  • Hover over the Toolbars and select New toolbar.
  • Find the folder that you want, select it, and click Select Folder.

The folder you’ve selected should now appear in your Taskbar, along with any files it holds, readily accessible for you.

Quickly Access Websites

Some organizations depend on the Internet in order to maintain operations. The quick-access URL field can give you the ability to access websites. Here’s how you can set it up to do so.

  • Access your Taskbar options by right-clicking in any unused space
  • Hover over Toolbars and select Address

A URL field will appear in the Taskbar. If you type a URL into it and press Enter, you can open that website in your default browser.

Like these tips? Get even more by subscribing to our blog.

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Tip of the Week: Easy to Remember Windows 10 Tips

Tip of the Week: Easy to Remember Windows 10 Tips

Windows 10 calls on the success (and failures) of previous versions of the operating system to deliver a truly dynamic solution to users. To get the most out of your Windows 10 workstation, we recommend following these five tips. They are simpler than you might think, and you can get unprecedented value out of them.

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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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Tip of the Week: Navigating the Taskbar in Windows 10

Tip of the Week: Navigating the Taskbar in Windows 10

Computers are great tools to get work done in the office, but only if they are used effectively. Employees looking to get more out of their Windows workstations can utilize the taskbar to get around faster. We’ll discuss some of the ways your business can take better advantage of the taskbar, as well as what it’s capable of.

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Tip of the Week: Sync the OneDrive Files You Need with Windows 10

Tip of the Week: Sync the OneDrive Files You Need with Windows 10

Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud file hosting service that uses synchronization to allow users real-time access to saved information. OneDrive, is most associated with Office 365, to which it offers one terabyte of cloud storage (there is a free tier for consumers as well). Since OneDrive is often used to save Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote documents, having access to this information from your navigation pane inside of Windows 10 makes it simpler for users to get to files inside of OneDrive. Today, we’ll take a look at how to set the feature up to sync with OneDrive.

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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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Tip of the Week: Windows 10 Improvements to Try

Tip of the Week: Windows 10 Improvements to Try

Windows 10 has a lot of features to offer a user, and more are being added all the time. We don’t want you to miss out on any, especially if they could help to streamline your business’ processes or your users’ experience. Here are four that you might find particularly handy.


Unpin from Start
Let’s face it - there really isn’t much need for your users to have an Xbox app on their work devices… or Candy Crush Soda Saga, or even Solitaire, for that matter. Fortunately, many of them can be removed from the Start Menu, and many uninstalled completely.

Try right-clicking on those Live Tiles that you have no need for. In the menu that appears, you may see two possible options, Uninstall and Unpin from Start. Some apps may not be able to be fully uninstalled, but all should be able to be removed (or unpinned) from the menu. As a result, there’s that much less left to distract you and your staff, leaving you with a better chance of productivity.

Dictation
If you tend to be a talker, sometimes typing may not be your cup of tea. Windows allows you to dictate your text, rather than type it, in many applications. To enable this feature, access your Settings, and from there, Time & Language > Speech > Related settings. There, you’ll find Speech, inking and typing privacy settings. From there, you can enable your speech services.

Once that is done, you can activate Cortana’s listening feature by pressing Windows Key + H whenever your cursor is in a text box.

Focus Assist
Staying focused can sometimes be difficult, especially when there’s a notification popping up each time you get back in the groove. However, in Settings > System > Focus Assist, you can turn notifications on and off based on their priority. You can even set automatic rules based on time, location, and activity, and have a summary pop up once Focus Assist is turned off.

Cortana, Decision-Maker
This one’s a little sillier, but you can utilize Cortana to help you make split-second decisions. Activate Cortana, and input (through either voice or text) “Flip the Coin.” Cortana will provide you with the result, making your decision-making process that much easier - just make sure you have your options in mind!

Clearly, there’s a lot to Windows 10 that can assist with everything from productivity to simple decision-making. What other hidden features do you know about? Share them in the comments!

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Tip of the Week: Visiting Useful Windows 10 Features

Tip of the Week: Visiting Useful Windows 10 Features

Windows 10 isn’t just a great operating system for getting things done--it’s also jam-packed with features that you might not even have known about. This week’s tip is all about some of the handy features that Windows 10 can provide for your office.

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Windows 10 Itself Helps Keep You Secure

Windows 10 Itself Helps Keep You Secure

Windows 10 is the most utilized operating system on PCs today. As a result, Microsoft has made it a priority to take on some of today’s most prevalent threats. We’ll go through these security features based on the state of the computer’s usage to get a better idea of how much is done to improve your security.

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Tip of the Week: How to Type Special Symbols

Tip of the Week: How to Type Special Symbols

The Internet has enabled businesses to establish relationships on a global scale. Now, an upscale restaurant in Minneapolis can use the Internet to order ingredients from a vendor in Bordeaux. However, there can easily be a language difference when doing business internationally. This is when it is fortunate that Windows 10 makes it so easy to change your device’s language.

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Tip of the Week: Did You Know About These Windows Features?

Tip of the Week: Did You Know About These Windows Features?

Does your business use Windows 10? If so, there are all sorts of hidden tips and tricks that can help you gain even more value from your workstations that are running Windows 10. Here are a few of these secrets and how they can help your staff save time.

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Tip of the Week: Touch Keyboard Capabilities in All Windows 10 Devices

Tip of the Week: Touch Keyboard Capabilities in All Windows 10 Devices

Special text characters are an integral part of typing. For the most part, however, they are not something that your normal, run-of-the-mill keyboard or laptop keypad is able to access easily. Luckily, for Windows 10 users, there is a shortcut that allows you to access all sorts of special characters.

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Tip of the Week: Here’s an Easy Way to Update Your Hardware Drivers in Windows 10

Tip of the Week: Here’s an Easy Way to Update Your Hardware Drivers in Windows 10

The average employee and business owner relies on various hardware solutions to go about their day-to-day duties. These hardware devices--think keyboards, wireless mouses, external microphones, and any USB devices--utilize drivers which allow for inter-device compatibility. What happens when these drivers aren’t installed or kept up to date? Your technology suffers, and so does your productivity.

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Tip of the Week: How to Download Your Favorite Windows 10 Lock Screen Images

Tip of the Week: How to Download Your Favorite Windows 10 Lock Screen Images

What happens when you lock your Windows 10 PC? Unless you’ve changed your lock screen settings, you’re greeted with a dynamic background image that changes every day or so. Sometimes, Windows will show you an image that’s so good that you’ll want to download it so you can look at it more. But how does one go about this? For this week’s tip, we’ll show you how!


Unlike previous versions of Windows where lock screen images are pulled from a local folder with a few ho-hum stock photos in it, Windows 10 gets its lock screen images from a built-in feature called Windows Spotlight.

Unfortunately, due to the way that Windows Spotlight is set up, downloading an image from Spotlight isn’t as easy as opening a folder and dragging and dropping what you like. However, despite the fact Windows Spotlight isn’t very user friendly, navigating the feature to locate and download the photo you want is possible.

To get started, open Windows Explorer and click on the View tab (located to the right of Computer). Next, be sure to check both boxes for File name extensions and Hidden items.

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Now you’ll copy and paste the file directory provided below into the Windows Explorer file path.
C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.ContentDeliveryManager_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Assets

In the file path, replace “username” with your user name and then hit Enter. This will take you to a window populated with files. These are the files that have been utilized by Windows Spotlight.

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In order to put the photos at the top of this list, select the Size tab.

Next, make a new folder somewhere on your drive for you to move these Windows Spotlight images to, like on your Desktop or Pictures, and then open your new folder.

You will now want to move these photos to your new folder so you can sift through them and use them for however you please. Do this by selecting all the files greater in size than 100KB. Perform this task by selecting the file at the top of the list, then, while holding the Shift key, scroll down and select the one file that is greater than 100KB. With 30 or so files selected, you will next copy these files (Ctrl+C), and paste them in your new folder (Ctrl+P).

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This move will bring up a prompt by Windows Security.

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Go ahead and select OK. You don’t have to worry about these files harming your computer, since they’re already on your computer.

Now, with the files copied in your new folder, you’re going to want to rename each one and add a file extension to them so you can see what they are. Do this by right clicking the file and then selecting Rename.

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By renaming the file to something simple like 1.PNG and then selecting Enter, you will see the icon for the file change to that of a photo. Also, go ahead and click View > Large icons if this makes renaming files more manageable for you.

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With the file format changed, go ahead and double click the file to open it and reveal the image. With the image revealed, go ahead and name your file accordingly. Also, with the file saved on your PC, you can now access this folder and use these photos for however you fancy; like for your PC’s wallpaper, sharing over social media, memes, or whatever else you can think of.

Admittedly, this is a lot of work to go through in order to locate and isolate a photo that’s caught your eye. Although, when it comes to great art, they say that procuring it is half the fun!

For more great PC tips and tutorials, subscribe to The Connection, Inc’s blog.

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Tip of the Week: How to Navigate Windows 10 and Find the App You Need

Tip of the Week: How to Navigate Windows 10 and Find the App You Need

Your workstation is equipped with all of your necessary software solutions, but sometimes it can be challenging to find a specific app. If you want to see a list of all applications on your device, Windows 10 makes it easy. The key to doing so lies in the Start menu.


Now that the Start menu is back in Windows 10, you have plenty of opportunities to search for not just your applications, but basically anything--all thanks to Cortana integration. You have all sorts of ways to better search your PC for important things. We’ll discuss how you can use the Start menu to find your apps both quickly and efficiently.

First, you can use the Search bar to find a specific program. This is by far the easiest way you can do so, but sometimes you may not know how to spell it.

You can also look at the complete list of programs on your PC easily enough. To do this, click on the Start menu and check out the right column. This will show you a list of your most used apps at the top, but the bottom will show you an alphabetical list of all programs on your computer. If you click on one of the letters in the headings, you’ll be shown an even simpler way of viewing your apps.

When you click the letters, you’ll be shown a list of all of the letters of the alphabet, which can further narrow down what you’re looking for. By clicking on a specific letter, you’ll be shown all applications that begin with that letter. If you don’t know what a program is called, but you still don’t know the exact name, searching this way a good way to find it.

Windows 10 is one of the best ways that you can improve the way your organization functions. It provides both a solid user experience and a much-needed technological update for organizations that have yet to upgrade.

If you want to take full advantage of Windows 10, The Connection, Inc can help. We’ll work with your business to ensure that you get the technology solutions you need, and to make sure that your apps are compatible with the new operating system. To learn more, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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Tip of the Week: A Step-By-Step Guide to Customize Your Windows 10 Notifications

Tip of the Week: A Step-By-Step Guide to Customize Your Windows 10 Notifications

Windows 10’s updates have provided users with entirely new ways to receive notifications, including the ability to sync their notifications via Android’s Cortana app. However, you’ll be happy to hear that you can control how these notifications appear. We’ll walk you through some basic steps on how to customize your Windows 10 notifications.

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Microsoft Makes Windows 10 Enterprise Affordable for SMBs By Charging Monthly

Microsoft Makes Windows 10 Enterprise Affordable for SMBs By Charging Monthly

Businesses used to paying up front for Windows may be surprised to learn that the newest offering by Microsoft, Windows 10 Enterprise edition, will have a monthly charge. For some organizations, this move may be enough for them to rethink how they buy and manage their software.

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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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Windows 10 is Super Popular... Microsoft’s New Edge Browser, Not so Much

Windows 10 is Super Popular... Microsoft’s New Edge Browser, Not so Much

Have you upgraded your business’s workstations to Windows 10 yet? If not, you should ask yourself why you haven’t done so. However, if you have upgraded, you’re one of the 25.3 percent of people using Windows 10. Windows 10 seems to be a great hit among end-users, but Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, isn’t so fortunate.


Using data collected by Net Applications, StatCounter Global Stats, and the United States Government’s Digital Analytics Program, ZDNet put together some OS usage statistics for all Windows PCs. Since November 2015, Windows 10’s usage has gone from 12.8 percent to 25.3 percent (nearly doubling in popularity). Other significant trends include the usage of Windows XP/Vista, which has significantly decreased, as well as Windows 7 and 8.x decreasing slightly in usage.

You would think that all of this growth for Windows 10 would mean significant growth for Microsoft Edge, too. Unfortunately, even the most generous of statistics only provide Edge with a usage of 5 percent, while the lower end places it at around 2.5 percent.

We want to take this opportunity to remind you that your business shouldn’t be updating your technology at the last minute, especially if your current operating system is set to expire shortly. If you’re currently using an unsupported operating system, you need to make the switch to a better, more recent software as soon as possible, as you could be putting not just your own workstation at risk, but your entire infrastructure as well. You should never put your business’s critical assets in harm’s way if you can avoid it.

If your business hasn’t considered upgrading to Windows 10 yet, why is this the case? Is it due to legacy applications that your business needs to keep operations moving forward, or because your current computer is ready to bite the dust? Either way, you need to take a full assessment of your network and prepare an audit for what needs to be done before you can move to Windows 10. You need to know if Windows 10 will make a significant change in the way that your business functions.

It’s also worth mentioning that, if your business wants to take advantage of Windows 10, you should try to use the free upgrade from Microsoft while you still can. The offer lasts until July 29th, 2016, so there’s no better time than now to upgrade.

The Connection, Inc understands the importance of making an educated decision about your IT infrastructure. We can help you make the upgrade to Windows 10 with the least amount of trouble possible. By outsourcing the management and maintenance of your infrastructure to The Connection, Inc, we can consult you on how best to make major changes to your business’s technology, as well as how to make your business’s technology dreams become a reality. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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