2012 was an interesting year for desktop admins. With a flood of new and highly hyped products from Microsoft entering the market, there were a lot of Windows tips to keep up with.
From Windows 8 and Office 2013 to Windows Store apps and Windows tablets, these are the Windows tips that piqued your interest this year.
10. Five steps to a successful desktop audit
At the beginning of the year, it's a good idea to consider a desktop audit. If you took our advice at the start of 2012 and did your audit, then kudos to you! But 2013 is just around the corner, and now is as good a time as any to conduct a desktop audit for the new year. See why you should take a full inventory of your hardware and software, monitor for hardware errors, make a schedule for reimaging physical Windows desktops and upgrade to Internet Explorer 9.
9. Frequently asked Windows 8 questions
Before Windows 8 came out this October, IT administrators had tons of questions: What are the new Windows 8 features? Will the OS be secure? What will the interface be like? When the Consumer Preview came out, we answered all those questions and more so you could be ready for a Windows 8 upgrade.
8. Finding and fixing Windows flaws with free open-source security tools
If you're looking for ways to find Windows flaws, look no further. This tip lists some must-have open-source security tools that you can use to find flaws in Windows and then fix them. From password crackers, port scanners, server security tools and more, there are numerous free options to help you get ahead of security dilemmas.
7. Metro user interface and Windows 8 app compatibility explained
Microsoft changed the name of its Metro apps to "Windows Store apps," but the confusion over Windows 8 application compatibility doesn't end there: Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 apps aren't Windows Store apps, and the app version of Internet Explorer is designed only for browsing.
6. Installing Windows 8 on your laptop in 45 minutes
Installing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview isn't very hard. There are two ways you can do it, and the quickest one takes less than an hour. There's a more complicated method to install the preview, but it's also more powerful, offering the ability to build testing, development, training or sandbox environments for apps.
5. How to simplify Windows 7 troubleshooting
Some utilities built into Windows 7 can make desktop troubleshooting and information gathering a breeze, but you may have overlooked them. Some basic command-line and graphical user interface tools can fix problems easily.
4. Microsoft may make you recertify all your credentials
Some Microsoft certifications come with expiration dates that you may not be aware of: Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) on Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and MCPD on Windows Phone both have "freshness dates," and the certifications have to be renewed every two years. Soon, many more certifications could fall into this same renewal process, which means you may someday have to recertify all your Microsoft credentials.
3. Microsoft Office 2013: What we know so far
Office 2013 isn't out for consumers yet, but we know a little bit about what it will look and feel like when it gets here. Microsoft Office 2013 has Lync, Skype and Office 365 connectivity. See the specs on support for the new Windows Store apps interface and using SkyDrive to store and sync files.
2. Microsoft's Windows RT tablets will fail
The Windows 8 tablet PC can't join a domain, and some experts think that could be a big strike against the device's enterprise worthiness. Because the device is geared more towards consumers, it doesn't go the enterprise distance. And IT can't integrate the Windows RT tablet with existing desktop and device security policies.
1. Windows tips: Four lessons learned from deploying Windows 7
Remember when you implemented Windows 7? Don't let the tips and tricks you learned from that deployment slip your mind when it comes to your Windows 8 installation. We explain why you won't always need a complete refresh and how virtualization stresses your disk subsystem. Also, learn why virtualized XP needs hardware virtualization technologies to run and how using multiple monitors can boost productivity.
This was first published in December 2012