On January 14, 2020, Microsoft officially ended support for Windows 7. For many users, this news isn’t shocking, as we’ve known the day has been coming for quite some time. And now that it’s officially here, it’s time to upgrade if you haven’t already.
What Does End of Support Mean?
You may have heard this term here and there, but never really paid attention to the implications of what this meant. Well, now’s the time.
End of support means that Microsoft is no longer offering technical assistance or software updates to any devices with the Windows 7 software. This means that any vulnerabilities or patches will not be addressed going forward, leaving any device using Windows 7 defenseless.
Because of this very reason, Microsoft has been pressing Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10.
Why did Microsoft End Support for Windows 7?
When Microsoft released Windows 7 in 2009, they also announced that the product would have a minimum ten year period of support. This is quite normal for Microsoft, as they have established a Fixed Lifecycle Policy for many of their products.
The Fixed Lifestyle Policy offers a minimum of ten years of support, with the first five years being Mainstream Support and the following five years being Extended Support. During this time period, Microsoft continually releases security updates and service packs to keep the product secure and up-to-date.
As Microsoft moves on from Windows 7, the company is choosing to focus on new technologies. Therefore, they chose not to continue supporting the software after the minimum ten year time period had ended.
How Will This Affect Me if I Don’t Upgrade?
If you choose not to upgrade from Windows 7, you will still be able to use the software on your devices. However, the looming threat is the lack of security updates. Without this support, your device will be more vulnerable to viruses and malware, putting your data at risk.
So, although your computer will still work and run Windows 7, we highly encourage anyone still using this version to upgrade.
Switching to Windows 10
If you haven’t switched already, we hope you’ll be turning to Windows 10 after you’re done reading this article. But you may be wondering how you should go about switching. Here is a quick summary of some easy steps you can take to get Windows 10 up and running on your devices.
Determine How Many Systems Need an Upgrade
The first step you’ll want to take is determining exactly how many systems and devices will need an upgrade. Take note of any systems running Windows 7, or possibly even Windows XP, which experienced end of support a few years ago.
Assess Your Hardware
Once you’ve determined all of the systems you will need to upgrade, you’ll want to check the hardware for each device. Windows 10 works on most hardware systems, but not all.
If the hardware you are using is only a few years old, you are likely in the clear. However, if your device is older than four or five years, you will need to check if it has the right specs. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to upgrade the infrastructure in order to update the software (we recommend upgrading your hardware about every three to four years, so it’s probably time to upgrade anyway).
You can always contact your IT provider to help you determine if your hardware is compatible or not.
If you aren’t able to upgrade all of your systems, you’ll want to isolate any still running on Windows 7. That way, even if the vulnerable devices are infected with viruses or malware, it won’t affect your network and other systems.
Train Your Staff
Finally, you’ll likely want to train your staff on the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10. It’s not a monumental shift between the two software systems, but some differences take some getting used to.
It’s helpful to work with your employees as everyone figures out the new features, layouts, and functions of Windows 10. This is another area where your IT provider will be extremely helpful.
In conclusion, if you haven’t upgraded from Windows 7, it’s time. The end of support officially went into effect on January 14, 2020, and you don’t want to risk any vulnerabilities in your network.