Change comes slowly in the world of business. Usually it is the expense and time-consuming process of update and upgrade computing devices that prevent many from addressing aging systems.
However, for many users of Microsoft Windows 7, the time is running out. Although Windows 7 has been a popular operating system for most businesses worldwide, Microsoft has annouced its “end of life” is set for January 14, 2020.
“End of life” is the date set after which an application is no longer supported by the company that makes it. Microsoft explains that “every Window product has a life cycle. The life cycle begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this life cycle helps you make informed decisions about when to update, upgrade or make other changes to your software.”
If this change impacts your office, now is the time to consider your options and plan your migration to Microsoft Windows 10 Pro.
What does Windows 7 End of Life Mean?
Windows 7 had already reached and passed its mainstream support cycle from Microsoft. The end of mainstream support meant that Microsoft had stopped enhancing the older product with non-security hotfixes, reviewing new feature design change options, and voiding any new warranty claims. However, it continued to provide bug fixes and patches for security and reliability issues for Windows 7. (End of mainstream support was January 13, 2015.)
Users that opted to purchase “extended support” have been able to receive continued pay-per-incident premier and essential support along with security updates. Access to freely available online content, such as Knowledge Base articles, online product information, and online support webcasts have also been accessible through Microsoft’s communication channels. After January 14, 2020, none of these options will be available.
However, your computing device will still work but not without great risk. Microsoft can block support for any machine it deems necessary at any time. Additionally, lack of support also means zero patches and support for new viruses, malware, and other emerging security threats. Windows 7 computers will be open to any malevolent attacks sinister individuals would wish to deploy against vulnerable systems.
Preparing for Updates and Upgrades
If you are like most of the nearly 70% of businesses worldwide operating with Windows 7 devices, careful and meticulous planning needs to begin now. Knowing what you need to do in advance of this change will help make it less disruptive to your operation, especially where you need to budget for replacement systems.
- Determine the number of machines running Windows 7 in your office.
- Assess the hardware specifications of these devices to determine hardware upgrades verses if a machine replacement is required..
- Identify legacy systems and consider replacing with their updated counterparts. These systems often use older operating systems and/or software.
- Create a budget for hardware upgrades, system replacements, and Windows 10 Pro licenses.
- Identify machines running critical systems that would be required to run Windows 7 after the deadline date. Devise and implement security controls for these machines, such as isolating them on their own network without Internet access to reduce security risks.
- Consider employee training to learn the new operating system, as necessary.
The New Windows Product Life Cycle
Beginning with Windows 10, the product life cycle of Windows products will change. Instead of their current release and ending of support for aging software, Microsoft has adoped a new policy for the continued sustainability of their products. They introduced it as Windows as a Service (WaaS). It now incorporates continuous updates and support for their current products, such as Windows 10.
This is excellent news for businesses. It means that those using Windows 10 will remain up-to-date with the latest fixes and updates moving forward. They won’t need to anticipate and plan for another operating system upgrade. Windows as a Service (WaaS) assures a smooth transition between incremental updates of the system without major disruption to your business operations.
Get the Help You Need
If you need assist with your Windows 7 issues, contact Think of I.T. Computer Services. We have years of experience with handling upgrades and updates to computer operating systems. We know what it will take to resolve your issues before they become a problem. Call us at 940-692-1119.
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