Windows 11 became available starting on October 5, 2021. The free upgrade to Windows 11 has begun rolling out to eligible PCs and PCs that are pre-loaded with Windows 11 are slowly becoming available for purchase.

What's New in Windows 11?

Windows 11 features major changes to the Windows GUI, including a redesigned Start menu, the replacement of its "live tiles" with a separate "Widgets" panel on the taskbar, the ability to create tiled sets of windows that can be minimized and restored from the taskbar as a group, and new gaming technologies inherited from Xbox Series X and Series S such as Auto HDR and DirectStorage on compatible hardware.

Internet Explorer is also replaced by Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams is integrated into the Windows shell. Microsoft has also announced plans to offer support for Android apps to run on Windows 11, with support for Amazon Appstore and manually-installed packages but such support isn't available at release.

Microsoft is Rolling out Windows 11 in a Phased and Measured Approach

Per Microsoft, Windows 11 will be phased in and measured with a focus on quality.

Following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, we want to make sure we’re providing you with the best possible experience. That means new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience. We expect all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022. If you have a Windows 10 PC that’s eligible for the upgrade, Windows Update will let you know when it’s available. You can also check to see if Windows 11 is ready for your device by going to Settings > Windows Update and select Check for updates*.

If the upgrade isn't available to you yet, but you want to upgrade now, there are a few options. The first and easiest upgrade path is to download the Windows 11 Update Assistant. Choose Run after the download finishes to start the upgrade and make sure your hardware is compatible. Then Accept and Install to agree to the licensing terms and begin the installation. When the program is finished installing, you'll be prompted to restart your computer. Your PC might restart several times during the process of finishing the installation, so don't be alarmed. Just keep your PC on until everything's done.

Alternatively, you can create a bootable USB or DVD of the Windows 11 installation media using the same link above. Use this option to reinstall or perform a clean install of Windows 11 on a new or used PC. If you go the bootable USB media route, you will need a blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space. Any content on the flash drive will be deleted.

Should You Upgrade Now?

We currently recommend holding off on Windows 11 until next year. Windows 11's first big update is already causing some major issues for users with AMD CPUs. PCs with older CPUs or those without TPM chips are not available to be upgraded anyways and may require new hardware purchases. Waiting until next year will hopefully give Microsoft some time to work out any major bugs and issues with the new release. This will also give end users some time to start using the new operating system on their home computers and ease their transition into the new interface before using it on their work computers.

How to Block Windows 11

If your business isn't quite ready for Windows 11, the easiest way to block the upgrade is via the Group Policy Editor.

  1. Click on the Start Menu
  2. Type gpedit.msc and load the Group Policy Editor
  3. Go to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business
  4. Double-click on “Select the target feature update version
  5. Set the policy to Enabled
  6. Type 21H1 into the field
  7. Close the Group Policy Editor

If your business isn't ready for Windows 11, you can safely continue using Windows 10 through October 2025 when Microsoft will end its support for it.

Whether you’re an employer who’s concerned that your employees might lack motivation or you’re an employee who looks forward to seeing your coworkers every day, you might be feeling some anxiety regarding working from home. Below are five awesome benefits of working remotely that everyone should consider.

#1 – There’s No Commute

Many people out there don’t really mind getting up and going to work in the morning (or at night). It’s the commute that they dread. Some people drive an hour or more to and from work each way, and it can be difficult staying motivated or entertained. Employees who can work remotely can avoid that commute, and it may even help them feel more productive. If they drive an hour each way, they’ve just gained two more hours a day, and that’s an extra 10 hours per five-day workweek.

#2 – There’s a Bigger Applicant Pool

When it comes to the best and brightest talent in all the hottest industries, workplace flexibility is a key consideration. They want the ability to work from home, and if a company doesn’t provide it, they’re likely to keep searching for a job that does. By opening your mind to the possibility of hiring remote workers – or at least giving people the option – you’ll have access to a much larger talent pool. Better still, you can hire someone across the country since commute time no longer has an effect on who you choose to fill positions.

#3 – People Can Work the Way They Want

When people have the option to work the way they choose, whether that’s in their pajamas with a laptop on the couch or dressed in their best business casual in the home office, they are more autonomous, and that makes them more productive. Employees who work with deadlines rather than being forced to be at a desk from nine until five tend to be happier overall, too.

#4 – It Costs Less

There’s no getting around it: providing employees with office space is incredibly expensive. In fact, for many companies, office space is one of their largest expenses. When you choose to allow employees to work remotely, you can save money on the office space and the utilities that go along with it. As an employee, you’re saving money on your commute, your business wardrobe, and even lunches in the office. It’s truly a win-win situation for everyone, even if it is only temporary or only part-time.

#5 – You Can Use New Technologies

With everything from managed IT service to VoIP and cloud-based apps as a service, there’s truly a technology to make everything possible. When you give your employees all the right tools, they can and will succeed. It’s up to employers to choose the right technologies and the right protections. As an employee, you may find yourself learning how to use new technologies that can benefit not only your work life and your resume, but your personal life, as well.

Working from home can be quite the transition, and it can cause anxiety among workers and employers alike. Nevertheless, more people are working from home now than ever before in history, and many of them are succeeding, too. Consider the five benefits above and it will be much easier to decide whether working remotely is the right choice for you.

As a small or medium business, there’s a very good chance that you prioritize your company’s ability to operate efficiently. Such efficiency is the key to your revenue, after all; the more you can do, and the faster you can do it without sacrificing quality, the more you can earn. Unfortunately, not all SMBs have the equipment and personnel for that efficiency, and that’s exactly where managed IT support comes into play. 

What is Managed IT Support?

To put it simply, managed IT support is designed to help small to medium businesses by providing them with access to the IT resources they need to succeed. Those resources may include human IT professionals, access to cloud-based servers, software and even hardware as a service, and much, much more. Back in 2016, some 64% of organizations used some sort of managed service, and by 2020, that number is expected to increase by 12.5%. Managed IT support can help small companies grow without huge investments in employees, equipment, and more. 

Round-the-Clock Care

Back in the old days, when the internet was brand new and data storage was in its infancy, if a server or a computer crashed and a company couldn’t access its database, there was only one solution, and it involved calling a professional, waiting for that professional to arrive, and hoping that professional had the knowledge to get things up and running again quickly. Today, managed IT support not only prevents downtime associated with server and computer crashes, but it also helps to resolve these issues no matter the time of day. 

How They Do It

You will get access to a variety of services when you choose managed IT support. These include:

At the end of the day, managed IT support benefits small and medium businesses by providing them with a bevy of services that would otherwise require several onsite employees. Everything from assessments and implementation to monitoring and security response comes with managed IT services, and when these things are managed remotely, business owners can focus on other things – like growing their businesses and boosting their revenue. 

Whether you are hiring your very first IT professional for a new business endeavor or you’re simply interested in moving to a remote IT support solution, there are many options out there in the world. Below are some of the most important questions you should ask an IT support company before you make your hiring decision. 

How Will We Communicate?

The most common issue associated with IT support companies according to business owners is a lack of communication – or a lack of viable ways to communicate. For this reason, make sure you take the time to learn as much as you can about hours of operation, communication methods, and more. If you have an issue, what do you do? Will you be required to submit a ticket online? Can you pick up the phone and call someone? What about sending an email? If that issue occurs after hours, such as late at night or even on a holiday, will there be someone available to help you? These things are very important, so be sure you have the answers before you hire. 

What is the Process for Handling Requests?

Once you’ve determined how you will communicate your need for IT support with the company you choose, the next question you should ask is fairly straightforward: how do you handle requests once you get them? A ticket system is the best way to go, and the system should be reliable enough that the IT support company can see the details, assign the best person for the job, and get that issue resolved quickly. Structure and workflow are crucial, so get a feel for these things before you make your decision. 

What Other Services Can the IT Support Company Provide?

Though you may only need basic IT support services for now, this may change a great deal as time goes on. You might find yourself in need of a complete network overhaul, and in this case, hiring someone to assist with network design or network cabling can benefit you for many years to come. Try to find a company that offers you a variety of other services that you can take advantage of when the need arises. Cloud storage, telephone and VoIP, and even security cameras with remote access are all beneficial in their own way, especially as your company grows. 

How Do You Keep my Network and Data Secure?

Finally, it is important to determine the steps your IT support company will take to keep your network and all its associated data secure. Do they utilize state-of-the-art firewalls? Are their cloud-based systems encrypted and protected? What antivirus do they use, and what are the steps for resolving a breach? Do they offer backup and disaster recovery services? How do they protect your email? Do they offer security awareness training or mobile device management? It’s also important to find out whether the company will run a network analysis to determine where your biggest security risks lie and then make recommendations for resolving them. 

Though there are certainly plenty of other questions you can ask an IT support company before hiring them, these are by far the most important. Above all else, communication, request processing, and security are the three most important factors, so learning how these work will help you make the best hiring decisions possible. 

 

If you are in need of an IT Support Company, please contact us for a free network consultation and see how Pennyrile Technologies can help your business.

If the time has come for your small to medium business to have some dedicated IT support, you have two options: onsite or remote support. Each one comes with its own unique set of pros and cons, as well. Exploring these benefits and drawbacks can help you make the best possible choices for your business. 

Onsite IT Support

Onsite IT support is still by and large the most common route for small to medium businesses to get the support they need. It requires hiring one or more people to oversee and maintain your company’s IT infrastructure. You might choose to hire someone who will work for your company, or you might choose to hire a private contractor who provides his or her services to numerous companies in the local area. The benefits associated with onsite support include:

Just as there are benefits associated with onsite IT, there are also a few drawbacks to consider:

Remote IT Support

More and more often, companies choose remote IT support. In this scenario, one or more individuals located anywhere from an office downtown to a company across the globe provide all the IT support you need remotely. This is perfect for many companies, but just like onsite support, it has its own unique set of benefits and challenges. The benefits include: 

There are a few downfalls, though. These include: 

As you can see, there are benefits and downfalls associated with both onsite and remote IT support. For the most part, though, small businesses will reap the most benefit from remote IT support – especially managed IT support. It’s affordable, it’s convenient, and it’s available around the clock should issues arise.

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931 771 1149

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