In IT Trends, Managed IT Services

The Windows 7 End of Life date has been announced: January 14, 2020 possibly sooner for those not downloading recent security updates. Released July 22, 2009, the Windows 7 operating system is a decade old. Despite its age, it is still incredibly popular with an estimated 39% of all PCs.

The news that Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft means there are many businesses out there who need to start thinking about finally moving on from their favorite operating system.

In order to ease the confusion surrounding Microsoft’s Windows 7 end of life announcement, we wanted to take this opportunity to answer some key questions.

What Does End of Life Really Mean?

The “end of life” description means that Microsoft will stop all paid and unpaid support. Microsoft will stop creating and making available important security updates. It will also stop offering new features or design improvements of any type.

Can I Keep Using Windows 7?

After January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will continue to operate. However, doing so will comes at a considerable risk to your business. More critically is the stoppage of any kind of support for customers having problems with Windows 7. Free support that had been included in licensing agreements has already ended. As of January 2020, any “extended support,” which is Microsoft’s term for paid support and which is currently available, will stop as well.

The cost for this will be on a per-device basis  but no hard numbers have been announced.  But if you can imagine you have 200 computers in your business, and the cost is $100 per month per device, you could be paying upwards of $20,000 for a month of support.  And this support won’t include the addition of any new features, it will just provide access to the patches to keep the system safe.

Are There Any Risks To Continue Working On Windows 7?

The biggest issue with continuing to use Windows 7 is that it won’t be patched for any new viruses or security problems once it enters End of Life, and this leaves you extremely vulnerable to any emerging threats.

What’s more, if a large number of people continue to use Windows 7 after the End of Life date, that could actually be a big incentive for malicious players/ hackers to target viruses at Windows 7.

So, while Windows 7 will continue to work after January 14 2020, you should start planning to upgrade to Windows 10, or an alternative operating system, as soon as possible.

What If I Need More Time?

If you use Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise, you can buy Extended Security Updates through January 2023. Those upgrades became available for purchase on April 1, 2019. 

What Are My Options?

Microsoft is pushing current Windows 7 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. It is also encouraging customers to buy new computers with Windows 10 installed, as older computers may not have the minimum requirements to support Windows 10 and optimize its performance.

If you are currently using or plan to purchase Microsoft Office 365 Business. Office 365 Business license includes a free upgrade of Windows 10 if you are currently using a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 Pro license. Microsoft 365 Business owners can also upgrade all old Windows Pro licensed device at no additional cost.

Lastly, Develop a budget and a timeline for all of the upgrades and replacements that need to be made.  Prioritize what is most important to maintain functionality and keep your business up and running.

The Good News…

The good news in all of this is that with the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft adopted a new policy for the sustainability of their products known as Windows as a Service (WaaS).  What that means for your business is that moving forward, businesses using Windows 10 will remain up-to-date with all patches, security fixes and bug fixes.  You also won’t ever need to upgrade to a completely new operating system again.  WaaS will provide updates to the operating system as they occur, meaning changes will be incremental, and there won’t be major changes to systems in one shot.

We have already started reaching out to all our customers and put a plan in place to upgrade all Windows 7 PCs. We will provide you with a detailed analysis of all current devices and best course of action. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime.

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