Microsoft Ending Support for Windows 8, IE 7-10

by ronfluegge 11. January 2016 14:18

January 12th will be a day of reckoning for most people who rely on Microsoft's Windows 8 and Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9 and 10, as the operating system and Web browsers will reach the end of the line for support, with certain exceptions. The software will no longer receive security updates, leaving users open to malware and attackers targeting unpatched vulnerabilities.

All Windows 8 users need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. All Internet Explorer version need to upgrade to IE 11, except for Windows Vista users, who can stick with IE 9.

Windows 8.1 is available as a free update (available through the online Windows Store), and applying it extends Microsoft support to Jan. 10, 2023. If users choose instead to upgrade to Windows 10, which will be free until July 29 of this year, support will continue until October 2025.

Microsoft generally offers 10 years of extended support for its software, but it has cut short support for Windows 8, released in October 2012, because the company considers Windows 8.1 to be a service pack for Windows 8. Microsoft's policy is to drop support for an earlier version of a specific OS two years after a service pack supersedes it.

However, Microsoft is making a significant policy change with its Web browsers. Until now, each version of Internet Explorer got support along with, and as long as, the version of Windows for which it was initially available. Hence, IE 6 and Windows XP were both supported until April 2014.

Under that policy, IE 7 would have had until Vista's end-of-life in April 2017, IE 8 and 9 until Windows 7 calls it quits in January 2020, and IE 10 until Windows 8.1. dies in January 2023. But it seems Microsoft now wants everyone to move to either IE 11 or the Edge browser for Windows 10, so it's making all users upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer available for their platforms.

Those users still browsing the Web with IE 7, 8, 9 or 10 will need to fire up Windows Update and update to IE 11. Many users are have likely updated to IE 11 already, but not those who don't have Automatic Updates enabled. If you're among those, open Control Panel, select Windows Update and click Check for Updates.

If you’re running Windows Vista, you can keep running IE 9 for now, as it’s the most recent version of the browser that works in Vista. Microsoft plans to turn off support for Vista in April 2017. 



Some .NET Framework 4 Versions Losing Product Support Next Month

by ronfluegge 30. December 2015 09:41

Microsoft issued a reminder to organizations that it will be ending product support next month for .NET Framework versions 4, 4.5 and 4.5.1.

Starting on Jan. 12, 2016, those versions of the product will become unsupported software. As a consequence, they won't get future updates from Microsoft, including security patches. The lack of patch support could pose risks for organizations continuing to run the software.

The January deadline maybe will come as a surprise for some organizations because Microsoft accelerated its traditional product support deadlines for those .NET Framework versions. Previously, the .NET Framework product lifecycles had been associated with underlying Windows product lifecycles. Instead, Microsoft switched to a more arbitrary January deadline for versions 4, 4.5 and 4.5.1. The policy change was announced in August of last year.

Microsoft made the change in order to "invest more resources towards improvements of the .NET Framework," per its announcement.

Microsoft is claiming that organizations can simply install .NET 4.5.2 or higher versions and most things will work. The most recent version of the product is .NET Framework 4.6.1.

The newer versions of the .NET Framework will install as "in-place" upgrades, which means that older versions don't have to be uninstalled first. The .NET Framework versions from 4.5.2 and newer will support applications that used the older .NET Framework versions in most cases, Microsoft has indicated. However, it's still up to organizations to test their applications first and see if they'll be compatible.

Microsoft's announcement explained that .NET Framework 4.5.2 and higher versions have a so-called "quirking" feature. This quirking feature "maintains the semantics of earlier versions" of the .NET Framework, assuring compatibility.

Microsoft is also claiming that developers likely won't have to recompile or rebuild their applications after upgrading the .NET Framework -- at least when using .NET Framework versions 4.5.2, 4.6 and 4.6.1.

One exception to this accelerated product lifecycle pertains to .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1. Its lifecycle is still based on the product lifecycle of the underlying Windows version used, according to this Microsoft FAQ. Depending on the Windows version used, it'll still be supported after the January deadline.

The Jan. 12, 2016 deadline for .NET 4, 4.5 and 4.5.1 coincidentally is also the same accelerated product support deadline for organizations to move to the latest version of Internet Explorer. For most organizations, this policy change means that they must have migrated to using IE 11 by that Jan. 12 date or they'll lose IE product support. However, the policy just states that organizations need to use the latest version of IE per supported Windows version, so it's a little nuanced. For example, Vista users can still continue to use IE 9 and have a supported browser since IE 9 is the most current browser for that Windows operating system.

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GADS Working Group Conference Call Notes - November 12, 2015

by ronfluegge 12. November 2015 19:51

The NERC GADS Working Group met on November 12, 2015 via a Conference Call

Agenda Items
1. Chair / Vice chair feedback from PAS – scheduled for Friday, November 6th
2. New NERC GADS liaison / program coordinator – Donna Pratt
3. Board – Wind DRI decision – Wednesday, November 4th
4. Change orders – Lee Thaubald
5. 2016 Data Reporting Instructions (DRI) – Lee Thaubald
6. Training sub-team update: Leeth DePriest
      a. Propose: April in Atlanta; June in Salt Lake
      b. FAQ feedback – Round Table – GADSWG
      c. Data entry – Lewis De La Rosa
      d. Wind – Fred (Doc) Beasom
      e. GADS
          i. Overview
         ii. Data Entry
            (1) Data quality
               (a) Rules for determining event types
               (b) Cause codes
               (c) Descriptions
            (2) OATI (on web)
7. New business

For detailed call notes, click on link below:

GADSWG Meeting Conference Call Notes - November 12, 2015

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