Microsoft to End Support on XP, Office 2003 & 2008 in 2014

Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation

Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation

When purchasing software, do you ever think about the end-of-life cycle for that particular program? If you’re like everyone else, you probably don’t.

The thing is, all software has a cycle – a period of time when the company will support that particular version of the software.

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So what you purchase today won’t always be supported.

Typically software is no longer supported when there are several newer versions out, or when the software is so outdated that it no longer functions properly on newer computers, whichever comes first.

In early April, 2013, Microsoft announced its plans to phase out support for a few of their older software, a change that could leave businesses (and individuals) in the lurch.

Microsoft’s determination for phasing out software is fairly clear cut – they promise to support their products for a minimum of 10 years, with 5 years of mainstream support, and 5 years of extended support.

And next year, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft is phasing out support on a few (still) popular products:

  • Windows XP
  • Office 2003
  • Office 2008 – Mac Version – support ends April 9, 2014

So what does this change mean for businesses? Well, nothing and everything.

Of course you can continue to use your outdated products, as technically they will still work just like they did before. However, problems requiring support through Microsoft won’t be fixable, and over time you could see even bigger issues.

The larger reality is that if you’re still using these older operating systems and office products, you could probably stand for an update. Newer operating systems, though they require a small learning curve, run faster and help you produce more than their older counterparts. Additionally, newer software boasts better features, and increased security through patches, bug fixes, and software updates.

Though it would require a bit of an initial investment, upgrading your office, particularly if you are still using any of these programs, will end up saving you in the long run in time and money made back due to increased productivity.

If your business is still using these outdated software products, give us a call today. We can help you evaluate which newer versions are right for your business, and help get them implemented and installed so that you aren’t affected by this change.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you navigate through changes in your software. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Microsoft Outlook Shortcut Keys

Microsoft Outlook

Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation

We may have written a few articles about common shortcut keys for various software, but it seems we missed Outlook. Since it is one of the more commonly used software for business email, we thought we’d take the time to share some keyboard shortcuts that will help you get around quicker, and get more out of Outlook.

Here are a few of our favorite shortcuts.

Note: * Denotes commonly used shortcuts for PC software.

  • Arrow Keys: Move throughout the navigation pane.
  • Left / Right Arrow Keys: Collapse / expand a group in the e-mail message list.
  • ALT + . (period): Opens the Address Book with the To: field selected.
  • ALT + B: Opens the Address Book with the BCC: field selected.
  • ALT + C: Select message recipients for CC: field.
  • ALT + D: Switch to Daily Calendar view.
  • ALT + E: Open the Edit drop down menu.
  • ALT + F: Open the File drop down menu.
  • ALT + K: Check names in the To:, CC:, or BCC: field against the Address Book. Note: Cursor must be in the corresponding field to check contacts.
  • ALT + L: Reply All, in an open message.
  • ALT + M: Switch to Monthly Calendar view.
  • ALT + R: Reply / Switch to Work Week Calendar view.
  • ALT + S: Sends an open message.
  • ALT + Y: Switch to Daily Calendar view.
  • ALT + F4: Close the active window.
  • CTRL + 1: Switch to Mail.
  • CTRL + 2: Switch to Calendar.
  • CTRL + 3: Switch to Contacts.
  • CTRL + 4: Switch to Tasks.
  • CTRL + 5: Switch to Notes
  • CTLR + 6: Switch to Folder list in Navigation Pane.
  • CTLR + 7: Switch to Shortcuts.
  • CTRL +A: Select all. *
  • CTRL + B: Bold selected text. *
  • CTRL + C: Copy selected text. *
  • CTRL + D: Delete an item (message, task, contact, etc.)
  • CTRL + F: Forward an item, must have a message open.
  • CTRL + J: Open a new Journal Entry for the selected item (message, task, contact, etc.)
  • CTRL + M: Send / Receive All.
  • CTRL + O: Open selected item. *
  • CTRL + P: Print selected item. Opens Print dialogue box. *
  • CTRL + Q: Mark the selected message as Read.
  • CTRL + R: Reply to selected / open message.
  • CTRL + T: Tab.
  • CTRL + U: Mark selected message as unread.
  • CTRL + V: Paste cut / copied information. *
  • CTRL + X: Cut selected information. *
  • CTRL + Y: Go to folder.
  • CTRL + , (comma): Switch to the next item. Note: must have an item open to use this command.
  • CTRL + . (period): Switch to previous item. Note: must have an item open to use this command.
  • CTRL + Shift + Tab (or F6): Switch between the Folder List and the main Outlook window.
  • CTRL + Shift + A: Open a new Appointment.
  • CTRL + Shift + B: Opens the Address Book.
  • CTRL + Shift + C: Create a new contact.
  • CTRL + Shift + E: Open a new folder.
  • CTRL + Shift + G: Flag selected message for follow up.
  • CTRL + Shift + J: Open a new Journal Entry.
  • CTRL + Shift + K: Open a new Task.
  • CTRL + Shift + L: Open a new Distribution List.
  • CTRL + Shift + M: Open a new Message.
  • CTRL + Shift + N: Open a new Note.
  • CTRL + Shift + O: Switch to the Outbox.
  • CTRL + Shift + P: Open the New Search Folder window.
  • CTRL + Shift + Q: Open a new Meeting Request.
  • CTRL + Shift + S: Open a new Discussion.
  • CTRL + Shift + U: Open a new Task Request.
  • CTRL + Shift + Y: Copy a folder.
  • Tab: Move throughout the navigation pane and reading pane in Outlook.
  • + or -: Expand or collapse a folder or selected group in the Navigation Pane.
  • F7: Spellcheck
  • F9: Send / Receive all.
  • F12: Save As.

If you want to learn shortcut keys for other software, checkout our other shortcut posts:

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you use your technology smarter and faster. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.


Outlook Could Be Losing Mail

Outlook Archive

Image Credit: Danny Sullivan

Did you know that not all versions of Microsoft Outlook were created equal, and that this inequality could be causing you to lose old emails?

Older versions of Outlook, particularly Outlook 97-2002, had a limit on the amount of data the Personal Storage Table (PST file) could hold. The PST is what controls how Outlook stores your information. In older versions of Outlook, the PST was built on ANSI, and could only hold up to 65,000 items per folder, with an overall PST size of 2 Gig.

In plain English, this means that older versions of Outlook would automatically over write old emails once the PST file became larger than 2 Gig, causing those emails to be permanently deleted.

Outlook 2003 fixed all this, by introducing what is known as Unicode PST, a file type that has no limit to the size of the PST or the number of items in each folder.

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However, Outlook 2003 and 2007 could still be impacted by ANSI PST, depending on how the software is setup. Additionally, newer versions of Outlook can get “stuck” in ANSI mode and overwrite emails despite being newer.

So how do you know if your Outlook is affected?

There are a few telltale signs. You may notice that your archived folders are now missing old emails. If your

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archives are too large, you may receive the message that your archive is at its maximum permissible size, yet you can’t delete old archived folders to reduce the size. Or you may get a message saying that you exceed the 2 Gig limit. These are just some of the common signs.

If this happens to you, know that you aren’t stuck. There are a few things that can be done to convert to the new Unicode PST file.

Update Outlook

If you’re running into this problem because you’re using an old version of Outlook it’s time to upgrade. Not only will you receive peace of mind knowing that your email is stored safely without the possibility of being overwritten, but you’ll also get your hands on some useful new tools and features. (The new versions of Office are loaded with great new tools that older versions never had before.)

Create a New PST

If you are running into this problem and you are using a newer version of Outlook, try creating a new data file, and then importing your items into the new file. Many users have reported this as a quick fix to their issue.

Take care when setting up your new PST file, to ensure you are selecting the proper format. Despite the change in file type, Microsoft will still let you create an old ANSI PST file, so pay attention when selecting which type of PST to setup.

Also, remember to backup any data prior to importing, just in

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Use 3rd Party Software

There are companies that have created software to solve this very problem. The software automatically converts your PST to the proper format, and also ensures your data isn’t corrupted in the process.

Please note however that software like this isn’t free. There are also mixed reports as to which software works best, although most users report success with SysInfoTools, which costs $39. (TechQuility does not endorse this product, and is merely providing it as information based upon forum user success stories. Your mileage may vary. TechQuility is not responsible for any data loss that may occur with the use of 3rd party conversion products.)

If you are concerned about Outlook losing your email, give us a call today. We can look at your settings to ensure that your email is running correctly, optimally, and is backed up properly, so that you never lose another email again.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help ensure your email is safe from harm. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.