Windows “Whistler” XP – August 2001 – April 2014

Still running Microsoft Windows XP in your business?  In April 2014,  Microsoft is switching support for XP OFF.

This is no joke: Microsoft is putting XP to the grave. There will be no more security updates or patches. If you’re still using it and a weakness or exploit is found, tough luck: there will be no fix nor protection from Microsoft anymore.  Your computer security WILL be at risk.

From experience, this is not a small or minute problem. Over 35% of all office PCs in Ireland are still running Windows XP. The public sector – including schools, hospitals, government departments, authorities and other institutions – also use the 12-year-old operating system in large numbers. From April 2014, these departments will be at risk, FACT.

Depending on the size of your business and the amount of devices in use, if you haven’t already started transferring over to Windows 8 or even Windows 7, it’s probably too late to make it in time for April 2014. Microsoft calculates that it takes at least a year for most companies to fully ‘migrate’ from XP to a newer operating system. ( this figure varies, obviously)

Why such a lengthy delay?  Proprietary / custom software – specific software programs that are designed to work with Windows XP and Windows XP only, usually in 32bit architecture.  64 bit what?

So, upgrading from XP to Windows 8 or Windows 7 could mean a much larger, costly overhaul with significant logistics involved.

But don’t try pleading that when you’re calling on Microsoft for help – the company’s Irish executives have made it quite clear that such excuses will fall on deaf ears. They have advertised the switch off for years. The company has been warning about this for at least two years. They have sent emails, put out leaflets, blogged, phoned up key customers etc. Microsoft even deferred the shut-off date on a previous occasion due to customer inaction on the matter. But not this time – no more shut-off’s. From April 2014, Microsoft has firmly stated that you’re on your own with XP.

When the first serious exploit and virus attack aimed at XP occurs in April 2014, Microsoft are adamant that they won’t answer your calls on it.

“Microsoft Windows XP is no longer safe enough to defend against the onslaught of modern threats that organisations face on a daily basis,” warns an official Microsoft document given out to multiple Irish business customers.

“Businesses that still run Windows XP will become even more vulnerable to malware and attacks after April 2014. The most significant risk is that PCs, and the data they contain, could be hacked and compromised. Today, Windows XP is 21 times more likely to be infected by malware than Windows 8.”

Thinking of upgrading your office systems from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8?  Call us today for a free, no quibble quotation.

Changing Outlook 2010 RPC Port with a non standard one – ie TCP 446

By default, Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 connect through port 443 for RPC over HTTPS.  This cannot be changed inside of Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010 and must be changed via the registry.  If you attempt to change the port number in Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010, the following message will be displayed:

“The proxy server you have specified is invalid. Correct it and try again.”

In essence, Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 has HTTP and HTTPS hard coded to TCP ports 80 and 443.

Recently, we had a client who had set their OWA to listen on TCP Port 446.  Works fine in browsers / Smart-Devices but is a different situation for Microsoft Outlook.  Using a VPN is an “easy alternative” but is more of a nuisance if out and about all the time.

Imagine you want to move your Outlook Web Access to a different port (security reasons? Or maybe just that another application is hard coded to port 443…)

The following method is unsupported by Microsoft, please use it at your own risk.  Editing the registry is required.

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Microsoft says no to SBS 2012

Microsoft recently announced that the Windows Server 2012 editions will not be seeing a “Small Business Server Edition” –  they have simplified the licensing.  Basically, there will only be four editions – Datacenter, Standard, Essentials and Foundation. For more details, see Microsoft’s post on the official site and also check out the licensing datasheet.

There is also an FAQ available with most of the common questions answered. Specifically, I would point to Q33 because this will sign the end of an era with Windows Small Business Server.

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A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the license for this computer.

Recently, we had to do a repair installation of a Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 for a client.


The repair install ran fine, prompting for the following tasks:


  • Microsoft Windows 2003 SBS License Key
  • Keyboard, Language and Regional Settings


Once the repair install was complete, the server booted up as normal displaying the logon screen ( ctrl alt del )

After inputting our credentials, a boxed opened with the following message:


A problem is preventing Windows from accurately checking the licenses for this computer.


Three options were available:

  1. Yes – resulted in the box closing and nothing happening.
  2. No – resulted in our session being logged off.
  3. Cancel – resulted in the server shutting down.

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