Windows 7 Is Nearly at End of Life. Have You Upgraded Yet?

Windows 7 Is Nearly at End of Life. Have You Upgraded Yet?
Windows 7 Is Nearly at End of Life. Have You Upgraded Yet?

Time certainly flies when you’re working on a stable and well-respected operating system (OS). For many years Windows 7 was the dominant OS, used by offices around the world, but it’s about to come to the end of its life, and if you haven’t upgraded yet, you could be facing some serious security issues.

On January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will be phased out, along with Windows Server 2008 R2, meaning there will be no more OS security updates (except in limited circumstances), which makes them much more vulnerable to data breaches and malware intrusions. 

End of life is an inevitable part of the technology lifecycle and one that can have significant impact on a business if they haven’t yet planned for an upgrade or secured desktop support services. But luckily, there are still a few months left to prepare and ensure your office and network are safe and sound.

As of September 2019, there are nearly a third of computer users still using Windows 7.

So, what does end of life mean anyhow? We’ll go through the details of what EOL actually means and then give you some tips on how to manage a smooth transition before the deadline.

What Does End of Life Mean for an Operating System?

The term “end of life” actually refers to the end of Extended Support for a Windows operating system. There are two types of support, Mainstream and Extended. 

Every Windows product (servers, operating systems, etc.) have a lifecycle of approximately 10 years throughout which both types of support end. Here is a rundown of what each type of support means.

Mainstream Support

This is the support you enjoy during the first roughly 5 years of an operating system. It includes all the things you’re accustomed to getting as far as security and helpdesk support. Mainstream support ended for Windows 7 in January of 2015.

Mainstream support includes:

  • Security updates
  • Feature (non-security) updates
  • Complimentary incident support
  • You can request product features
  • Paid support options

Extended Support

Extended support keeps some of the most important support features going after mainstream support ends. You still get those vital security updates as well as other types of OS support. 

Extended support includes:

  • Security updates
  • Feature (non-security) updates
  • Paid support options

On January 14, 2020, standard patches and all security updates will be discontinued for Windows 7 (unless you purchase a limited extension plan).

Can I Just Keep Using Windows 7 After the EOL Date?

It’s not uncommon to try to get as many years out of your OS as possible, especially if you really like it. But you’re not doing yourself any favors if you use Windows 7 past the EOL date.

Here’s what’s at risk:

  • Your network security: 1 in 3 data breaches are due to unpatched vulnerabilities
  • Hardware compatibility:Often, new hardware won’t be compatible with outdated operating systems
  • Staff productivity:Software designed for Windows 10 may still run on 7, but it won’t be as efficient, the older the OS gets, the more difficulties with compatibility
  • OS support:The farther it gets past the EOL date, the more difficult it will be to find support 

So, while you could technically use a computer with an outdated operating system, it’s going to be very vulnerable to data breaches and it’s not recommended

Making a Smooth Transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10

The good news for those offices needing to upgrade is that Windows 10 is a very well received operating system. Beyond the stability, it also includes several productivity boosting benefits and additional security that wasn’t previously available.

You still have a little time to upgrade before January 14, 2020, and here are the steps to take to plan a smooth transition.

Step 1: Identify the Systems Still Running Windows 7

It’s always a good idea to have a device inventory, so this can be a good reason to create one if you haven’t already. You’ll want to go through all your company desktops and laptops and identify those that are still running Windows 7.

Step 2: Decide Whether to Replace or Upgrade

Some computers might be so old that it would make more sense to replace them with a new one rather than upgrade them. Others might be fine and meet all the requirements for Windows 10

Decide which will be completely replaced and which will need an OS upgrade.

Step 3: Budgeting and Timeline

Put together a list of your costs for the upgrade with a deadline before the Windows 7 end of life date. You’ll only have a few months left to spread out the costs, but it can still be helpful to incrementally upgrade so you’re not hit with all the costs at once.

Items to consider in your upgrade budget:

  • Cost to provision Windows 10 for the machines being upgraded
  • Cost to replace the machines being retired (generally new computers will come with Windows 10 already installed)
  • Tech support costs for any upgrade help or data migration needs
  • Employee training on the new operating system

Step 4: Execute Your Plan

Once your plan and timeline are set, you can begin rolling out your upgrades. Training of employees on the new OS is important to ensure there’s no dip in productivity as they’re learning the new system.

Step 5: Decommissioning Old Devices

For those devices that you decide to completely replace, you’ll want to make sure there is no sensitive data left on them that could be vulnerable should they be used again unknowingly in the future. It’s best to do a full migration of the data off the hard drive so it can be completely wiped clean before disposing of the device.

Let B-Comp Services Streamline Your Upgrade

Upgrading to a new operating system with a deadline looming can be stressful. Let us help take that burden off your shoulders. Our expert technicians can help you through each step of the upgrade process to ensure you’re ready and your network’s completely secure come January.

Contact us today and let’s plan that upgrade! Call us at 303-282-4934 or request a free consultation online.