Are You Ready for Windows 7 End of Life?

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Windows 7 has been one of the most loved operating systems that Microsoft has ever come out with and many people are still using it today. Recently, Microsoft announced that if you haven’t upgraded systems yet, come January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer offer extended support for this version. You might want to consider upgrading now to avoid any problems later on.

What Does Business Systems End of Life Mean?

When a company announces end of life for their software product, it looses it’s extended support which includes free phone and online support and security updates to keep you safe. This can have a huge impact on the businesses that use it. When Microsoft ended its support for the popular Windows XP product in 2014, it affected 40% of the worlds computers. That is nearly 500 thousand computers. If we didn’t learn the first time, we are sure to experience the same shock when Windows 7 end of life is finalized on January 14, 2020. Here we are four years later and it’s estimated that up to 7% of the world’s computers are still using this outdated operating system.

Most businesses don’t adapt because of the expense and the time consuming work it is to update all their computers. If these businesses are using older hardware and equipment, it is most likely that the new software programs won’t run on their existing equipment. There is also a fair amount of training that goes into learning a new system which can also be a factor and cause a significant burden on any small or midsize business.

Most manufactures will warn their users in advance so that these businesses can make a plan to upgrade their equipment and systems.

Will I Still Be Able to Use Windows 7? 

Now I am sure that a few of you might be asking if it is safe to continue to use Windows 7. Once an operating system looses it’s extended support, the user will be on their own to troubleshoot any problems should they arise at their own risk. So to answer the question, the answer is yes. You will be vulnerable to security breaches and bugs after January 14, 2020 but your software will still run.

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare? 

Microsoft strongly recommends planning your company’s transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 now so you are ready for the 2020 deadline.  Changing systems takes time and careful planning. If you have several systems, you will want to have a plan in place so you can upgrade each one in a timely manner. First start by identifying which machines need to be upgraded or replaced. Consider replacing older systems or software with updated technology. If you can do all this at once, put together a timeline and budget for these upgrades. If you can’t replace outdated software programs immediately, put security controls in place to protect your business until you are able to do so. Lastly, set up an employee training so that you can go over the new system together.

Understanding Product Life Cycles

A product life cycle is anywhere from 5 to 10 years. As a business owner, it is important to catalog your equipment and systems so you know how to plan and budget your needs as a business. It is important to note that with the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft adopted a new policy for the sustainability of their products. This model is known as Windows as a Service (WaaS) and incorporates continuous updates and support for current product offerings, like Windows 10. This is great news for business owners that worry about having to update their system year after year.

If your business is still using Windows 7, it is important to start planning now for the Windows 7 End of Life date. If you aren’t sure where to begin with this process, Protek can give you the help you need.

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Image credit: Windows Lifewire

For more information, see Windows 10 upgrade FAQ.