Windows 7 End of Life: Transitioning to Windows 10

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ATECHSO February 21, 2024 0 Comments

Windows End of Life

With Windows 7 end of life quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done to prepare. Technically, regular Windows 7 support ceased in 2015. However, Microsoft was still patching and performing security updates under the extended support period. Now that this support will be over in January of 2020, this means no more updates or security patches for Windows 7. Windows software is reaching “End of Life” (EOL). Get ready, you may have some work to do.

Many are concerned that their PCs will stop working. That is not the case. Your Windows software will work, but its security will depreciate rather quickly, leaving your PC vulnerable and in danger of cyber-attacks and viruses. Back in 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. It affected 40% of computers worldwide. Now, years later, it is estimated that about 7% of computers are still using Windows XP. These computers are the ones hackers like to target because of the security holes caused by lack of regular patching. Currently, about 70% of businesses worldwide use Windows 7. It’s highly recommended that businesses take the necessary action before Windows 7 retires. The more systems you have on Windows 7, the sooner you need to prepare. Here’s a quick action plan:

  • Determine how many systems need an upgrade: Simply count all the systems running Windows 7 or, if you still have some, Windows XP. If systems are on Windows 7 and the hardware is up to par, you will probably be able to do a simple license upgrade.
  • Assess your hardware: Windows 10 will not work on all hardware systems. You may need a technology refresh. Contact your IT provider to help you determine if your hardware has the right specs. Easiest way to tell? If your hardware came out in the last three years or so, you should be in the clear. We recommend refreshing your hardware about every three to four years to avoid any compatibility issues.
  • Create a timeline and budget: You don’t have to make these changes all at once. You could plan them out up to and including January 2020, but we recommend getting started sooner rather than later. Again, your IT provider will be able to help determine your best path forward.
  • Create contingency plans: Unfortunately, not all line of business applications will immediately jump to compatibility on Windows 10. This is particularly the case if you’re utilizing an older version of the software, or if your software provider has gone out of business, or even moved to their own end of life cycle. Sometimes this is inevitable, but while you take the time to plan your upgrade, we advise you to quarantine these vulnerable systems from the rest of your network. A quality IT company will be able to help you make the decision, as well as set up a test environment so that you know your contingency plans are working long before you need them.
  • Training Your Staff: While the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is not the monumental shift past software updates have been, the new system does take a bit of getting used to. Plan time to work with your staff one-on-one or in a group so that they don’t end up wasting time tinkering or trying to figure out why their favorite button isn’t where it used to be. Again, your IT provider should be able to provide this user-based training for Windows 10, as well as the majority of software you utilize on a daily basis.

Keep in mind that Windows 10 end of life takes place in January of 2025; so, while planning, consider the following key points. Ensure your devices can make the switch again in a few years and that you budget for another upgrade. Also, document your processes during the shift. This can make life so much easier down the road. Above all, act. You don’t want to be stuck without security patches or an up-to-date operating system. It’s as if hackers can smell your outdated system and will gladly break in and cause havoc. Be proactive with your business rather than reactive. Start planning for the transition now.

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