Microsoft ends Service Pack Support for Windows 8.0

Microsoft has announced that Service Pack Support for Windows 8.0 will end today, January 12th, 2016. Windows 8.0 is the version released in 2012 without the Windows Start Button in the lower left screen portion. More information is at

Windows 8.0 users should upgrade to either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.

Windows 8.1 Upgrade FAQ:

Windows 8.1 Upgrade Tutorial:

Windows 10 Upgrade FAQ:

Web Browsers Windows

Microsoft ends support for Internet Explorer versions prior to 11

Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer versions prior to version 11 on January 12, 2016.  Users who do not upgrade their IE version to 11 will make their devices more vulnerable to viruses and malware attacks.

Windows 10 users may either use the new Microsoft Edge browser or IE 11.  Windows Vista PCs must run Internet Explorer 9, the latest version available for that operating system.

Apps and Utilities

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) is available as a free program that emulates a portable flash drive, with 5 GB of free space available. Files and folders can be added to it. Your Windows Live account and password are used to maintain security for OneDrive. Additional password protection for confidential files is recommended.

Once installed, the OneDrive Synch Engine Host program remains loaded in memory and appears as a Windows tray icon. Files are synchronized from your Windows 8 PC’s folder C:UsersUserNameOneDrive (or C:UsersUserNameSkyDrive) up to the Microsoft OneDrive servers. Any additional PCs that have OneDrive installed with your Windows Live account will have access to the same set of files. This is an easy way to back up and share files between PCs.
OneDrive is intended for personal and home use. Microsoft has a separate corporate product – OneDrive for Business:

Competitors to this product include:
Google Drive
Apple iCloud

Apps and Utilities Windows

Windows GodMode

You can add use a “hidden” feature on Microsoft  Windows 7 and 8 PCs  that places customization settings in one location: GodMode. Here are the steps to create this:
On the Windows Desktop, right-click and select “New – Folder”.
Create a folder named “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”.

Click on the new GodMode desktop icon:


You will see a list of Windows configuration settings ordered in functional groups:GodMode2


There are no new features listed.  Instead, GodMode organizes settings from Control Panel and other settings into a single list.
You can sort by clicking on the column headings, or use a column filter by clicking on the column heading’s drop-down list.


Operating Systems Windows

Windows Server 2003 – end of Microsoft Support

Microsoft support for most versions of Windows Server 2003 is scheduled to end Tuesday July 14, 2015. Exceptions include Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Editions.

More information detailing each version is at

Web Browsers Windows

Windows 10 upgrade may set Microsoft Edge as Default Browser

PC users who upgrade to Windows 10 may find that Chrome or Firefox is no longer the default web browser.

To set Mozilla FireFox as the Windows 10 default web browser, follow these instructions:

Some general instructions on how to set Google Chrome as the default Windows browser:


Windows 10 Versions and Free E-Book

Microsoft has announced the seven different versions of Windows 10 at

The Windows editions are:
· Windows 10 Home – for home PC users
· Windows 10 Pro – additional features like Windows Update for Business
· Windows 10 Enterprise – includes Device Guard for extra security
· Windows 10 Education – for Academic users
· Windows 10 Mobile – for Windows Phone users
· Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise – Windows Phone with Update management for businesses
· Windows 10 IoT Core – ATM and industrial use

A free Microsoft Press e-book – “Introducing Windows 10 for IT Professionals, Preview Edition” is available as a PDF download from, which documents the April 2015 Windows 10 Technical Preview version. Further updates will be done on the e-book as Microsoft makes further changes to the upcoming Windows 10 versions.

Web Browsers Windows

Windows 10 Free Upgrade now available for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1

Microsoft has released the Windows 10 upgrade for general download in 190 countries, for existing PCs with a legal installed version of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 that meet Windows 10 system requirements. This upgrade will be free until one year from today (July 29, 2015).  You can start the upgrade process by clicking the “Get Windows 10” notification in the Windows Taskbar.

Some of the new features include:
·    Microsoft Edge – a browser that replaces Internet Explorer
·    Microsoft Cortana – a virtual assistant similar to Apple Siri
·    Microsoft Continuum – device independent Windows

More information is at


Microsoft Security Essentials and Safety Scanner

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program for Windows 7 and Vista PCs. It cannot be installed with any version of Windows 8. Windows Defender handles the same functionality within Windows 8. More information is at



Microsoft Safety Scanner is a separate free virus scan program that can be downloaded and run once, or as needed. The resulting file is msert.exe, and will expire in 10 days.  It can be downloaded from

Apple Databases Linux MySQL Oracle SQL Server Windows

Free Database Development Software

Some of the most commonly used free databases include:

Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition only runs on Windows-based PCs, and user database size is limited to 10 GB. This is radically smaller than the paid versions of SQL Server, at 524 petabytes.

MySQL is the popular open source database that is now owned by Oracle. It can run on Linux, Unix, Mac and Windows operating systems. Paid commercial versions with additional support are also available.

Oracle Database Express Edition runs on Windows and Linux operating systems, but the database size is limited.  It can be downloaded from here.

Oracle SQL Developer is a free integrated development that makes it easier to administer both paid and free versions of Oracle databases.