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Typically software is no longer supported when there are several newer versions out, or when the software is so outdated that it no longer functions properly on newer computers, whichever comes first.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Of course you can continue to use your outdated products, as technically they will still work just like they did before.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If your business is still using these outdated software products, give us a call today.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: [email protected]. Website:

Computer Pranks to Play on April Fool’s Day

Office April Fools Prank

Image Credit: Jax House

With April Fool’s Day quickly approaching, it got us wondering, what are some of the best computer based pranks to pull on someone? So, we compiled a list of the ones we thought could be the most effective.

You can use this list to play a prank on a co-worker or friend. Similarly, if one of these pranks is played on you, use this list to undo the trick, and to come up with better ways to get revenge.

Just remember to tell your co-worker “April Fool’s” and help them undo the prank before they think something is seriously wrong and call the help desk.

Here are a few of our favorite computer based pranks:

Changing the Desktop to a Picture

The Setup: To setup this classic office prank, create a print screen of the desktop. Then, paste it into Paint, and save the image as a bitmap. Set the newly created image as the Desktop Wallpaper, and then go into the desktop settings and hide all the icons.

The Joke: While their Desktop will look the same, when your co-worker clicks on items, nothing will happen.

Incorrect Spell Check

The Setup: Go to the computer of the person you are wanting to prank, and open Microsoft Word. Change the autocorrect settings for the spellchecker, so that it changes perfectly normal words to strange things. Settings can be found under File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options. Remember to setup the Replace Text as you Type option, and set it to replace common words such as and, the, to, with weird words such as rutabaga, firework, or whatever. Use your imagination.

The Joke: When your co-worker uses Word, any of the words you changed in the AutoCorrect settings will automatically change as they type. Watch as hilarity ensues as your co-worker tries to figure out if it’s them, the keyboard, or something else that’s causing the problem.

Speech-to-Text Prank

The Setup: Attach a wireless keyboard to a co-workers computer, and then give the keyboard to someone else. Take the co-worker you are pranking aside somewhere else, like the conference room, and explain that the company wants people to start using the Speech-to-Text feature in Windows. Train them how to use it, then send them back to their desk.

The Joke: Have the person with the wireless keyboard type in random words, and then watch and listen as the “trainer” starts speaking louder and louder, changing their pronunciation, trying to get the computer to recognize and learn words.

Swapping Mouse Buttons

The Setup: Open the Mouse Properties (Start > Control Panel > Mouse) and set the button configuration to switch the primary and secondary buttons.

The Joke: Sit back and watch as your co-worker grows more frustrated when their left-click acts like right-click.

Want some more computer pranks? Try these websites: April Fool’s Day Computer Pranks

HubPages April Fool’s Day Computer Pranks

PC World April Fool’s Day Computer Pranks April Fool’s Day Computer Pranks

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you have fun with your technology. Email: [email protected]. Website:

Windows 8 Shortcuts

Windows 8 Logo

Image Credit: Simon.hess

For years now, Windows has retained the same shortcut keys, regardless of which version of the Operating System (OS) you were running. However, when Windows8 came onto the scene this changed, leaving users with a few new things to learn.

(For a list of common Windows7 shortcuts, click here.)

Here is a list of common Windows 8 shortcuts, geared towards helping you get around this new OS faster.

Start Screen: To locate what you’re looking for faster, just start typing when you’re on the Start Screen, and Windows will find what you’re looking for. Not on the start screen? Press the Windows key on the keyboard to get there, and then just start typing.

  • CTRL+ / CTRL-: Zoom in or out of items, like apps pinned to the start screen.
  • CTRL+ Scroll Wheel on Mouse: Also zooms in or out of items (like CTRL+ / CTRL-).
  • ESC: Stop or exit the current task.
  • Windows Key + Number Key (1 – 9, and 0): Opens the first 10 icons in your taskbar on your desktop. 1 is the icon to the far left, 0 is the 10th

    icon to the right.

  • Windows Key + C: Opens the Charm menu on the right (Note: The Charm menu allows you to search for items, attach devices, and shut down your computer.)
  • Windows Key + E: Opens File Explorer to the My Computer view, showing all of your drives.
  • Windows Key + F: Opens the Search charm search to search files.
  • Windows Key + G: Cycle through Gadgets on the Desktop.
  • Windows Key + H: Opens the Share charm to share items.
  • Windows Key + I: Opens the Settings charm, where you can adjust settings including brightness, or shut down your computer. Also helpful for showing settings for the current app.
  • Windows Key + J: Switch between the main app and a snapped app.
  • Windows Key + K: Opens the Devices charm to view connected devices.
  • Windows Key + M: Maximize all windows.
  • Windows Key + Shift + M: Restore minimized windows on the desktop.
  • Windows Key + O: Locks the screen orientation (helpful for touchscreen devices).
  • Windows Key + P: Chose a presentation display mood.
  • Windows Key + Q: Opens the Search charm to search apps (note different that Windows Key + K that searches files only, not apps).
  • Windows Key + R: Opens Run menu allowing you to launch programs and other commands.
  • Windows Key + W: Opens the Search charm to search settings (only).
  • Windows Key + Z: Shows you the list of available commands for an app.
  • Windows Key + Spacebar: Changes the input language and keyboard layout.
  • Windows Key + CTRL + Spacebar: Change to a previously selected input
  • Windows Key + Tab: Cycle through open apps (except desktop apps).
  • Windows Key + CTRL + Tab: Cycle through apps and snap them as they are cycled.
  • Windows Key + Shift + Tab: Cycle through open apps in reverse order.
  • Windows Key + Page Up: Move the start screen and apps to the monitor on the left (minus desktop apps).
  • Windows Key + Page Down: Move the start screen and apps to the monitor on the right.
  • Windows Key + Period (.): Snaps an app to the right.
  • Windows Key + Shift + Period (.): Snaps an app to the left.
  • Windows Key + F1: Open Windows Help and Support.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in making technology easier to understand. Email: [email protected]. Website: