Proper mainstream support for Windows 7 ended shortly before the release of Windows 10 in July of 2015. Although Microsoft has kept up extended support for the organizations which continued to use Windows 7 on their machines, they have now announced that this will end on January 14, 2020. This leaves just a little under eight months for companies running the operating system to update to Windows 10. Organizations currently using Windows 7 will have to make a choice: upgrade to the latest Microsoft operating system or pay to update Windows 7. It is strongly recommended that companies upgrade now. Technicians who maintain Microsoft Certified Professional certificates for Windows 7, 8, and 10 will help ensure a smooth upgrade.
What Does End of Life Mean?
End of life means that a vendor no longer markets, sells, or supports a product or service. In other words, the service or product is obsolete. Windows 7 will continue to work on machines it has been installed on. However, users who choose to continue with this product do so at their own risk. Technical support, security patches, or system updates no longer exist for this particular service.
End of Life Means No More Patches and Fixes—Unless the Company Pays
Windows 7 remains a popular operating system, with 35 percent of Windows users still refraining from upgrading to the latest Microsoft operating system. Companies — which cannot or will not upgrade — have the choice of paying for further extended support through 2023. However, Microsoft is making this option purposefully unattractive to encourage users to update to the latest – and most secure – version of Windows:
- The price is per device, making it quite expensive for companies running more than one or two computers with Windows 7.
- The price doubles each year until 2023. The highest tier is $200 per device.
- Extended security update purchases in years two and three can only occur if the company has purchased these updates in years prior.
Critically, the paid extended security updates are not available to the general public. Personal users who resist upgrading will be left without support after January 2020.
Why Upgrade to Windows 10?
End of Life for Windows 7 will make machines vulnerable to . Regular security patches and updates occur because hackers and malware programmers are persistent. Data is valuable. Even if firewalls and antiviruses are kept up to date, these measures are useless if malicious codes by hackers find a way through the operating system and the antivirus does not recognize it is there. This constitutes an unacceptable level of risk for businesses.
Windows 8 and 8.1 Will Also Reach End of Life
Microsoft has suggested that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows. Microsoft will update and maintain Windows 10 from this point, and all other versions of the operating system will find their way into obsolescence as well.
Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008R2 Will Also Reach End of Life
Soon companies will be losing another popular Microsoft standby –Server 2008R2. January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be officially ending its support for Windows Server 2008 R2 (including all editions Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard, and Hyper-V role). If your company is running Hyper-V on a Windows Server 2008R2 platform you need to start strategizing now if you want to ensure your company is protected and your infrastructure is secure moving forward.
- No Support Leaves Your Operating System at Risk
Once a product reaches its end-of-life no new features or fixes are releases leaving the operating system open and exposed to outside infiltration because future security gaps will no longer be plugged by software updates.
The year 2020 will be here before you know it, therefore, updating an IT infrastructure is a large task
How to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life
Companies can still avoid costly security updates and office chaos by beginning the upgrade to Windows 10 now. Each machine may take several hours to upgrade as this may require reinstalling programs and reconfiguring each device. However, through a systematic and organized approach, even a single Microsoft Certified Professional technician can enhance a company’s computer fleet over the coming months.
1. Identify Machines Which Require the Update and Ones Which Can’t be Updated
Conduct a full audit of company computers and devices running Microsoft operating systems. Machines which cannot be updated due to software compatibilities will require special attention to maintain security beyond End of Life.
Take extra care to inventory embedded devices on a network. These are electronics with a purpose-specific computing system, and they are commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. They often run a special version of Windows called Windows IoT, which was released alongside each Windows version.
Devices at risk for running outdated Windows IoT versions usually have user interfaces, such as point of sales devices, kiosk computer systems, ATMs, and handheld barcode scanners. For instance, it is estimated that 1.5 million mobile healthcare devices are running this version of Windows 7.
2. Identify Software Which is not Compatible Windows 10
Windows 7 had a compatibility feature to run software designed for Windows XP. This feature does not exist in Windows 10, and some older programs will not run properly. These should be replaced with modern software.
3. Optional: Research Alternative Operating Systems
Companies which are strongly opposed to Windows 10 may wish to look into alternative operating systems including those by Mac and Linux. However, consider whether this involves replacing entire machines rather than merely the operating system.
4. Develop a Timeline and Budget
Upgrading will be time-consuming, but it can be done piece by piece. Develop a timeline which minimizes disruption to employees and prepare a budget which adequately addresses this process.
5. Plan for Employee Training on the new System and Updated Software
Windows 10 uses an intuitive interface, but employee training will help foster confidence and reduce frustration, especially if new software is involved.
Upgrade with a Microsoft Certified Professional
It’s time to move forward and embrace the reality that Windows 10 will be the final, and only, version of Windows which Microsoft supports. However, continuing to procrastinate can lead to unnecessary stress and headaches. Get help from Microsoft Certified Professionals to streamline and simplify the upgrade to Windows 10.
RJ Young’s trained and certified technicians are standing by to assist with the transition to Microsoft 10. Contact us today to get connected with a Microsoft Certified Professional and learn more about upgrading your operating system.