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Windows 10 Upgrade

In July 2015, Microsoft has launched its latest OS, Windows 10, with the offer to move from a genuinely installed and activated Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to the new operating system for free. The offer ends on 29 July 2016 so time is running out to get the free version of Windows 10 that will cost $199.99 resp. CHF 149.95 afterwards.


We recommend our customers to upgrade for free before the deadline of 29 July 2016th (do not forget to create a complete backup of your user data before the upgrade). Even users who do not want to upgrade in the near future are advised to migrate to Windows 10 (and then downgrade again) in order to obtain the free Windows 10 license. That way your PC receives a “digital entitlement.”, i.e., your particular PC’s hardware is identified as eligible for Windows 10 going forward and the upgrade can be executed at a later point of time. To activate Windows 10 in the future, just download the Windows 10 installer files from Microsoft and create a bootable USB drive. You can then install Windows 10 and it will activate automatically thanks to that digital entitlement.

Keeping an Eye on the Settings

Windows 10 has been mostly well received by users with the exception of the “recommended” privacy settings that have been a trigger for many discussions between prospective Windows 10 users. The express settings of Windows 10 allow user data to be collected automatically by the operating system. These include voice commands, calendar entries, contacts, location or browsing history. Inexperienced users or those who are in a hurry and do not read carefully often choose the default settings and share so unknowingly their privacy with Microsoft. This can be avoided to a large extent by disabling the corresponding settings right after installing Windows 10. If one has already taken over the express settings, a tool like "DoNotSpy10", which is available for free, can facilitate the access to all relevant AntiSpy settings so that you can change them to let the operating system to learn as little as possible about you. You can find alternatives to “DoNotSpy10” here.

Another point of criticism is that Microsoft collects application data on user behavior or App Store activities to improve their ads, which are then displayed on the lock screen. This is another preset option for Windows 10, which can be switched off in the personal settings menu.
We therefore recommend that all users read the official Microsoft Privacy Statement carefully.

Support from Laptop Manufacturers

HP and Lenovo offer Windows 10 support on their own support pages. The upgrade process is described in detail and can be followed step by step.
First of all, please be aware that the upgrade program will prevent the installation of Windows 10 if your hard drive is encrypted with manufacturer-specific security applications such as HP ProtectTools. According to HP support, you must decrypt it before moving to Windows 10 and can encrypt it again after upgrade. Since the HP Client Security Manager/HP ProtectTools may block the upgrade process, it is recommended to deinstall the Client Security Manager prior to the upgrade in order to prevent error messages. It can be reinstalled after the upgrade again. Detailed instructions for the Windows 10 Upgrade can be found right here. Similar obstacles are not known to us with Lenovo ThinkPad models. The instructions and guidance for an update to Windows 10 can also be found on the support page of the manufacturer. Microsoft’s own devices, Surface 3, Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 should not cause any problems as far as we know. Here also some helpful guidance can be found on the manufacturers website.

Forever on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1?

As already mentioned, users who are not satisfied with the new operating system, may downgrade it again after the upgrade to Windows 10 (in the first month via automatic downgrade or simply by restoring it from a system image / system backup). Instructions can be found on the official Microsoft website. If you do not want to give Windows 10 a chance at all and would like to remain on one of the previously launched operating systems “forever”, it is not enough to simply close the upgrade reminder. Some users of Windows 7 and 8.1 mistakenly believe that the upgrade to Windows 10 can be refused simply by clicking on the red "X”. Again, it is recommended to read the content of the advertising window carefully and to act accordingly. You can also download a registry patch "NoWin10.reg" which suppresses the upgrade reliably.

If problems occur during the upgrade process, we recommend to contact the manufacturer support or Microsoft support directly. Our support is of course also available for assistance, either at our walk-in Help Points or by e-mail.

 

28/06/2016

iPad Pro Review

The iPad Pro with its proud 12.9-inch screen size and the corresponding Apple Pencil has been around for half a year now. In my opinion, the launch was a step in the right direction, but its size and weight is not suitable for students who are looking for a portable replacement of pen and paper.

This spring Apple introduced the newest member of the Pro-family, an 'small' 9.7 -inch iPad Pro that looks very much the same as its predecessors of the iPad Air series. Weighing only 437 g and paired with the smaller display size, it becomes attractive again for the modern student.

As an advocate of the paperless study and self-proclaimed lecture notes scatterbrain I have already tested several devices (Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga, Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Wacom Cintiq 13HD, HP Pro Slate 8) and in the end I chose the Galaxy Note 10.1 / 2014 for its weight and ease of use that has served me well for a long time now. Due to hardware and technical problems the time has come to replace my loyal companion. With the 12.9-inch iPad my curiosity was already piqued, but as mentioned before, I chose not to buy it because of its size. The recent introduction of the 9.7-inch iPad was now the opportunity to take the plunge and to check whether my prejudices against iPads are still justified.

First impressions

First things first: the price. The iPad Pro 9.7-inch is available in three versions with 32/128/256 GB of storage respectively and cost from CHF 689.- to CHF 1049.-. I opted for the version with 128 GB of storage space for CHF 869.- because I wanted to have the possibility to store and edit images while on the go. Add another CHF 109.- for the Apple Pencil that is sold separately. Additionally, since it is advisable to get a protective case to cover and protect the screen, I picked one from Apple, always demonstrating brand loyalty, which added a further CHF 118.- up to a total sum of CHF 1096.- for the package.

Such a sum has a non-negligible impact on an average student’s expenses. Nevertheless, the iPadPro’s price is within the range of other tablets (see Microsoft Surface Pro 4, the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix or the HP Elite x2). Although it must be said that most other tablets with a pen run a full version of Windows so the comparison might not hold too much water.

The first impression of the packaging is as you would expect it from Apple: white, plain and high quality. A charger and a very short instruction manual are included. The iPad Pro itself looks externally very much the same as the iPad Air 2 series, except for the protruding rear camera (more on that later) and the four speakers that are characteristic for the Pro series. The Apple Pencil also comes in a sleek, white cardboard. A spare tip and an adapter for charging the pen on the iPad charger are included.

What strikes me is the weight – it is the lightest device so far according to my experience with other tablet brands. Otherwise, the device makes a very solid impression. Starting and setting up the iPad Pro is very simple. After I logged into the home WLAN and followed the step by step instructions, I got the option to disable the "true tone" feature of the screen and compare the colors. Since the image without "true tone" had an unpleasant blue tint, I suppose that the color settings were not configured yet and not that this was the standard calibration of an iPad Air.

The iPad Pro as a daily driver

According to Apple the iPad Pro can replace a laptop. In my opinion, the biggest disadvantage compared to Windows tablets is the installed iOS, because it can only be used with applications that are available in the App Store. For technology or natural sciences students who often use complex tools, the iPad Pro is unable to completely replace the laptop.
However, as a small, mobile companion for simple tasks like reading and writing e-mails, office work, or photo editing, the iPad Pro is in the lead. The handful of preinstalled apps cover e-mailing and taking notes, for everything else the motto is "there is an app for that". The Microsoft Office Suite, for example, can be downloaded in the AppStore (free download, an existing Office license is required).
Using the device proves to be very pleasant, as it easily fits into your bag or on one of these narrow tables in the lecture halls.
Apple promises the same 10-hour battery life of every iPad that has come before. After several weeks of usage, I can confirm this statement.
One complaint would the design of the camera lens, which protrudes from the back of the iPad and therefore always runs the risk of being scratched on an uneven surface. Using a protection case solves the issue, but makes the device slightly thicker.

The Apple Pencil

For note-taking in lectures I use, like on my prior device, the OneNote app from Microsoft. The use of the Apple Pencil during lectures proves to be very comfortable, it has a good size and a pleasant weight. My concern that it would just roll off the table turns out to be unjustified. The weights inside the Pencil are positioned in such a manner that one side of the Pencil is heavier and it therefore it remains stationary on a level and even on slightly inclined surfaces if they are not too steep.
Writing or drawing is very accurate, the pencil slides with little resistance over the display. Somewhat unusual is the fact that there is no cursor displayed in the place where the pen would hit the screen. The laminated display and the high accuracy of the Apple Pencil create the illusion of writing on paper. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the pen is very exact in each area of the screen. With most other devices the pen behaves differently on the edges of the display, making it either noticeably inaccurate or completely useless for writing.

Conclusion

The iPad Pro proves to be a very useful device in the life of a typical student and is hereby awarded sole lead in terms of pen and display. Unfortunately, it loses a lot of points because of the lack of a fully featured operating system and the dependence on the App Store. According to the slogan "Faster than a speeding laptop.", the installation of an fully funcional OS X instead of the iOS should not be impossible.
Therefore, I can recommend the iPad Pro as a loyal companion throughout the studies, but not as a substitute for a "real" laptop.

 

About the author: Matthias Leutenegger is a master student in the Compotational Biology and Bioinformatics programme at ETH Zürich. He is a longtime Projekt Neptun webmaster, passionate webdevelopper and gamer.

20/06/2016

Get Office 365 Free for Students

Microsoft offers Students of eligible universities the possibility to use Office 365 for free. Students can download Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote & 5 TB Online Storage) on all their devices, incl. Mac & iPad.

Click here to find your university, enter your student E-mail address and download Office -> it’s that easy!

If you cannot find your university on the list, try this link or contact the IT-department of your university

What does the free Office Version include?

When downloading the free Office version, you receive the full and locally installable version of Office including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and OneNote. You can install Office on up to 15 devices, no matter what device or operating system (5 PCs/Macs, 5 Tablets, iPads, 5 Smartphones/iPhones).

Additionally, you will receive 5 TB free Online Cloud storage with OneDrive for Business to make sure you can access your documents from any device and whenever you need it.

Who gets the free Office?

Basically all Students of educational institutions can benefit from the free Office offer. However, it is the university itself that chooses to enable the free Office Benefit for their Students. Check here whether your university has enabled the free Office for Students.

How long can I use the free Office?

You can use the free Office during your whole student life.

More information: http://aka.ms/freeOffice4Students

 

25/02/2016

Neptun Demo Days Spring 2016

Come and visit us during the Neptun Demo Days, where we will showcase brand new hardware from Apple, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, NEC and more. You can have a look at the Neptun hardware here or download the Product Flyer (.pdf).

During the Neptun Demo Days you have the opportunity to check out all of the Neptun products live at an university near you. Along with the Neptun team there will also be representatives of the respective notebook manufacturers and shop owners on site to demonstrate the equipment and answer all of your sale and technical questions. Demo Days run from 10:00 - 14:30 on each given date.

We are looking forward to meet you at the Neptun Demo Days which are currently ongoing until March 7, 2016: 

 

23.02.2016 | ZHAW, St. Georgen Mensa

23.02.2016 | ETH Zürich Center, Alumni Pavillon

24.02.2016 | University of Bern, Gesellschaftsstrasse Foyer

24.02.2016 | PH Bern von Roll, Main Hall

25.02.2016 | FHNW, Passarelle

25.02.2016 | University of Basel, Kollegiengebäude Foyer

29.02.2016 | ETH Zürich Hönggerberg, HIL D

29.02.2016 | PHZH, LAB Foyer

01.03.2016 | University of Zürich Center, Lichthof

01.03.2016 | University of Zürich Irchel, Lichthof

02.03.2016 | University of St. Gallen, 09-FOY

02.03.2016 | University of Luzern, Foyer

03.03.2016 | University of Fribourg, Pérolles

03.03.2016 | BFH Biel, Cafeteria EG

07.03.2016 | University of Geneva, Uni Mail EG

 

 

 

 

24/02/2016