I hope you had a chance to make plenty of beautiful memories with those you love around the Thanksgiving table. Now that we are on the holidays train, it’s all about making the most of your time when behind the screen. Hopefully by making the most of your screen time, you will have plenty of time left to enjoy friends, family at all kinds of fun holiday events like this one.
This week I will demystify Windows virtualization for PC users which, although may sounds high-tech, provides lots of time-saving benefits. MAC users don’t be sad – I do have some time savings tips for you towards the end!
Let’s begin by calling Windows virtualization something shorter and easier: a Virtual PC. Before we talk benefits, you may ask, “what is a Virtual PC and how does it work?” Simple! It’s Windows along with your programs installed on a server in the cloud. You use a remote desktop application installed on your computer or tablet to remotely access it from anywhere in the world at any time you like. Read on to discover how a Virtual PC could benefit you!
No more hardware problems and much easier upgrades!
Virtual PCs run on data center hardware with virtually infinite resources. Let’s assume we start you out with 8GB of RAM, dual core processor, and 250 GB storage. Need an upgrade for more space or faster CPU? Takes a couple minutes and few clicks to do so. No need to buy a new computer or take your computer in for an upgrade. As for hardware quality, your Windows runs on enterprise grade hardware with image backups. You never have to worry about it breaking or slowing down on you. No more hardware related headaches!
Always on and always ready!
Nothing overheats or slows down on a Virtual PC from being turned on all the time. Your Windows PC runs in the cloud and is always ready for you to access it anytime. Need to leave a program open or a document you are not done working on before jumping on a flight? No problem! Next time you connect everything is there as you left it. Enterprise grade hardware, Internet connectivity, and data center power grid means you never have to worry about not being able to get back on your computer. Your laptop may be on fritz and your Internet may be out at the same time, but you can grab your tablet and walk to a coffee shop with WIFI and resume work where you left off.
Security and compliance simplified!
One major part of security that’s often overlooked is the physical aspect. Having data a laptop that could easily be lost or stolen is a major concern hence the reason why many industry regulations require your disk drive is encrypted, your computer password is frequently updated, and you are able to remotely wipe / lock your PC. Virtual PC has a bonus: it can’t really be lost or stolen! Having it all live in the Virtual PC eliminates the physical risk as data centers have 24/7 onsite security. In addition, Virtual PCs can meet strict security requirements much easier since they are easy to manage and update remotely by us on regular bases. Updates happen as scheduled, backups always happen on time, and malware scans are always executed as planned. No comprises occur due to your computer being off or put away. In addition, they often live behind secure firewall and enterprise grade network equipment.
Access from anywhere from any device!
PC, MAC, table, even an iPhone has the capability to access your Virtual PC. You can be anywhere in the world with an Internet connection and quickly get back to work. This flexibility has tremendous benefits, especially when you don’t have your computer with you or you just purchased a new one. Getting up and running takes just a few minutes as you don’t have to install all your software or restore your data. You just need to install the Remote Desktop application, and voila!
There are also savings!
Replacing a computer because its running slow for the task can be an expensive and timely project. Licensing software on multiple computers can get expensive quick. Downtime due to computer issues can be costly. Having a single computer that’s ultra-dependable where everything you need lives saves money and time. Oh, and time is also money
MAC users now it’s your turn – first, please be aware!
Every Apple service or product carries a cost premium over its counterpart. Apple works really hard to ensure once you are onboard, it is hard to leave. Exporting and migrating to another service from Apple can be quite challenging. In addition, you will often run into cross platform integration limitations. Apple plays very nice with Apple, but not so nice with others. If you use a 3rd parity software, app, Windows PC, or an Android device and must sync with Apple service, integration is sometimes very limited and other times not there at all.
MAC users now here are the time saving tips!
Living completely in the Apple ecosystem can be very time saving on its own and that is not by accident. Apple seems to be great at finding all the little frustrating things and make them go away. One of my personal favorites is the ability copy a string of text or an image on your iPhone then paste it on your MacBook. Instead of many little tips I’ll give you a big one because if you experience this, it will be a major time saver! Drum roll please….ladies and gents, it is iCloud! iCloud is often a nuisance as it constantly delivers prompts asking for things. However, understanding it and setting it up properly will simplify quite several things. Apple has broken up all aspects of your digital life into sections within iCloud so it can be synced between your devices. This is a huge time saver. In addition, when you get a new device, turning on iCloud brings everything over to the new device so no need to spend hours restoring or setting things up. I must mention this is not a backup per se (more on that in a future newsletter) so you should still be backing up your important documents. Ready to talk specifics?
When you enable iCloud Photos on all your Apple devices, you gain the ability of having access all your photos from all your devices on any of your devices. Snap a photo on your iPhone and it’s on your MacBook already! Photos can also optimize storage of your devices, making sure your device storage is not filled up by keeping some images exclusively on the iCloud server. Keep in mind iCloud Photos could eat up a lot of iCloud storage.
iCloud Drive can sync documents across your devices. What I like the most about it, however, is that it can sync your desktop and documents folders. You can create a document and save on your iMac’s desktop then it magically appears on your MacBook’s desktop!
I have tried many note taking apps but have always found myself using the Apple Notes app the most. Take a quick note on your phone and it immediately is synced to all your other devices.
Being able to send text messages from my computer is something I can no longer live without. What iCloud messages does is sync these messages across your devices so you can quickly search text messages even from your MacBook. Keep in mind this could eat up a lot of iCloud storage as well. I suggest automatically deleting messages older than 1 year. Here is how.
Nothing works as reliably as iCloud contacts. They sync immediately and so far I have never had an issue. Unfortunately, most email services also offer to sync contacts, but Apple does not play nice in my experience. I suggest using iCloud contacts because it’s reliable and using an app like this to sync contacts with other services as needed.
There are many others iCloud features and there are even sync options for apps. I suggest taking some time to get things syncing right with iCloud across your devices then you will be amazed at all the time savings!
Whether Virtual PC piques your interest or you want help getting iCloud in order, our team is always happy to help.
Have a great December ahead,
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead