ComTech: IT Support Stirling

What happens if Windows 10 fails?

I have been looking at the reviews of Windows 10 (preview) over the last couple of weeks and I must admit to being intrigued by Microsoft’s newest operating system.  If they can pull off the trick of having a different interface for different form factors whilst still keeping the functionality they could be onto a winner.  I can’t help but think though what happens if consumers and businesses alike do not take to Windows 10 the same as they didn’t to Windows 8?  So what might happen?

1. Windows 7 gets a stay of execution the same way XP did.  Windows 7 end of support is 2020 but if Windows 10 doesn’t catch on expect to see this extended.  I would also expect Windows 7 PC’s to remain on the market alongside the newer operating system as Microsoft would not want to risk losing market share.

2. PC makers might decide to stop making PC’s and move into different markets (eg tablets).  If consumers and businesses are not buying PC’s (and laptops) with Windows 10 why would manufacturers still make them? If they did decide to continue making them they might try alternate operating systems like Chrome OS in the same way some manufacturers are already doing.  This could seriously hurt Microsoft.

3. Windows Phone could fail to gain market share if Windows 10 fails.  If people don’t like it on PC’s, and laptops, then there could also be a perception they wouldn’t want it on the phone and turn to either Android or iOS instead.

4. People start turning to Macs? I can’t really see this happening as Macs tend to be at the higher end of the market while Windows covers the middle and middle sections.  If someone is looking for a cheap laptop they are not going to spend the extra on a Mac but rather they would buy a Windows laptop whichever operating system it is running.

5. Nothing changes. If Windows 10 fails so what? There will still be laptops and PC’s available, as long as manufacturers decide to make them, as for most people there is no real alternative to Windows (in their eyes).  They may not like the new operating system but there would be no choice but to purchase a system with it already installed.

Realistically I can’t see Windows 10 failing.  Microsoft knows that it has to get this right from the off after the failure of Windows 8.  If it doesn’t? Long live Windows 7!!

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter


PC or Post PC? I don’t really think it matters

PC’s, tablets, smartphones and laptops all have one thing in common and that is the ability to get things done.  This could be surfing the internet, printing a document, editing a spreadsheet or even checking Facebook.  So with this in mind does it actually matter which device you use?

PC sales are on the slide and have been for quite a while and until recently tablet sales have been rocketing (only recently has there been any indication of a slowdown). This in turn has led many people to think that PC’s have become the technical equivalent of the dinosaur and tablets are “the way forward”.  For many people this may indeed be the case but for a large percentage of users (both home and business) PC’s and laptops make more sense due to the large screens and the ability to be able to use the mouse.

Everyone has different computing requirements and what works for one person won’t neccesarily work for the next. Take me as an example.  Two weeks ago I bought a 10 inch android tablet (which I am currently using to write this) with the intention of using it for work.  I will be using it for approx 95% of my daily work tasks and for the rest of the time I will change back to my MacBook.  The reason for this change is the mobility the tablet gives me when out and about. Yes I could lug the MacBook around but the tablet is lighter and the battery lasts longer. Is this the correct way for me to work? Maybe  Would this approach work for you? Possibly but it would depend on what software you use and your desire to work on a smaller screen.

To be honest I don’t really think it matters what device you use so long as you are productive and the work gets done.  You will always get people on both sides of the fence who say their device is better because of blah, blah, blah but really who cares?

Get the device, or devices, which work for you and don’t listen to anyone else.

Now go and get some work done!!

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



Why I have finally turned my back on the PC

Well it has finally happened.  I have turned my back on the PC and surprisingly it doesn’t feel strange at all.

I have been getting more and more mobile over the last year and I had noticed that I was doing some work on the PC, some on the Mac and some on my tablets (Android and to a lesser extent my Blackberry Playbook).  I store all my files on Dropbox so I can access them from anywhere and the only thing that was really keeping me using the PC was the dual monitor setup.

I thought it was time that I centralised my work and the equipment that I do it on. This coupled with realising that I could purchase a mini DVI to DVI connector and setup up extended monitors on my MacBook was the final nail in the coffin for the PC.  I can do everything on my MacBook that I could on the PC with the added benefit I can take it “on the road”.

Not everyone will go down this route. If you sit behind a desk all day then a PC is the best system for the job – fact. If however you are becoming more mobile like me then there are better options.  You can use a laptop or tablet and which you choose will depend on what work you do and what applications you use.

And the PC? It has now become a Linux server with my virtual machines on it (Windows and Linux based systems). These can be accessed from anywhere using Teamviewer.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



Is Android finally a viable alternative as a desktop OS?

I read a post a couple of weeks ago by a fellow member of a LinkedIN group who was asking  “Can Android replace Windows on the Desktop?” (Thanks for posting Alex) to which I replied no.  I was then asked the same question by a client last week which made me reassess my answer.

To fully answer the question I decided to have a look at what hardware was available at the moment. After a quick google search I came across the new HP Slate 21 Pro and the new Lenovo N308.  The Lenovo is more home orientated while the HP is aimed straight at the business user.  Looking at these two offerings I am beginning to understand why people (and maybe small businesses) might be taking the Android on the desktop seriously.

Android is king (at the moment) of the smartphone wars.  It is very intuitive to use and you can get an app for almost anything through Google Play.  In the home people are switching from the more traditional laptop and PC to tablets and smartphones and most of these run Android.  It would not be a huge leap to start running an Android PC in the workplace as chances are the user would be already familiar with the interface.  Bring Your Own device (BYOD) is alive and well in the business world so a user wanting to work on an Android device is a real possibility.

Now it does all depend on what you do on a daily basis.  If you spend most of your time using web based applications and emails then an Android device could well be the device of choice (or even a Chromebook?), however if you spend all day using Microsoft Office to produce documents and spreadsheets then maybe Android wont do (Office wont run on Android for example).  There are alternatives like Office 365 which is web based and Kingsoft Office which can produce documents just fine but they aren’t “traditional Office” and to some people that is all that matters.

Then there is the little matter of printing.  Printing from a laptop or PC is a doddle but on an Android device it can be a bit cumbersome.  Saying that HP have a cracking app called HP ePrint which allows you to print to any HP wireless printer but not all printer manufacturers provide Android printing support (please correct me if I am wrong).

Another thing to think about is the hold that Microsoft has at the moment in the business space.  To the best of my knowledge Android and Active Directory are not the best of friends and don’t play nicely.  You can administer Active Directory from an Android device but it doesn’t work the other way.  If your IT infrastructure includes Active Directory then this might be a game stopper.

So what is the answer to the question “Is Android finally a viable alternative as a desktop OS?”

The answer is yes it is, however saying that it may not be the best OS for your current working environment.

 About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

Is Windows 8 really struggling that bad?

I have been reading quite a few articles this week from zdnet regarding the failure of Windows 8.  Windows 9 is even apparently being brought forward for a release in April 2015. Is it really a failure though or is this something drummed up by the media?

Lets take a look at the numbers.  As of the end of December 2013 Windows 8 and 8.1 combined has a market share of 10.46%.  Windows 7 is still way out in front with 47.52%.  The installed PC base globally is estimated to be approx 1.6 billion which means at the moment Windows 8 (and 8.1) are installed on approximately 167 million PC’s (and laptops).  To me that is a very large number of installed systems.

While talking to a lot of my clients regarding Windows 8 there is a very noticeable split of opinion between the younger generation and the older one.  The older generation was quite happy on XP (and in some cases Windows 7) so when they see how different Windows 8 is they hate it.  Compare that to the younger generation with their smartphones and tablets who seam to gell with the “Metro” interface.  Personally I don’t mind it (I used to hate it) but I still disagree with Microsofts vision of one interface for all systems.

For a long time wherever Microsoft led the market followed (UEFI anyone?) but times have changed.  Microsoft is no longer the leader of the pack as the market has been turned on its head by tablets and smartphones.  In the enterprise things are chugging along as normal as Microsoft has a very strong grip with the likes of Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V but the poor PC and laptop are taking a battering.  The PC is not going anywhere anytime soon but the market will reach a point where it can’t shrink anymore and stabilize leaving Microsoft as the big fish in a very small pond.

Microsoft knows this and that is why we have Windows 8.  Would it not have been better though to continue to develop Windows along the same lines as Windows 7 and have a brand new operating system developed specifically for tablets rather than the one interface across everything.  Something along the lines of iOS and OS X perhaps?

I don’t think that Windows 8 is struggling as bad as the media is suggesting but I do agree that it isn’t doing as well as Microsoft had hoped.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



Is the PC dead?

I spent way to long on the weekend browsing the internet and came across an article that HP in the last quarter lost $8.8 billion!!!!  This was apparently based on declining PC sales and this got me thinking – is the PC dead?

So what is the answer then? I don’t think the PC is dead just yet but I would say it is on its last legs and I shall explain why.

1. Tablets

Tablet sales are increasing year on year.  People are increasingly using tablets for a variety of reasons and one of the biggest is you can take them anywhere.  They provide an easy to use interface and you are able to expand their use by downloading apps.  Contrast this with the cumbersome PC which is installed in one place and can not be taken anywhere.  The PC uses more electricity too.

2. Laptops

Laptops can now provide the user with anything the PC can.  A laptop now comes with more memory than an average user will ever need and like the tablet can be taken anywhere.  You can also run your favourite programs on them which means you are still able to be productive.  Where the laptop wins over the tablet is that you can actually do proper work on them!!

3. Mobile Computing

Users and businesses are getting more mobile – fact.  Users can now work from anywhere that has an internet connection and are no longer limited to the office – the domain of the PC.  With more and more company employees working remotely there will be less incentive to go out and purchase new PC’s.

Where the PC still stands proud is gaming, however with laptops and tablets getting more powerful with every release surely it is just a matter of time before the PC goes the same way of the dinosaur.

Goodbye old friend we will miss you.

What do you think?

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter



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