Well, it's almost here! While Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015, "extended support" is now officially scheduled to end January 14, 2020. So, what does this mean to all the faithful Windows 7 users out there?
If you're still running Windows 7, how much time do you have? What does this mean as far as the licensing costs, upgrade costs, replacement costs, etc.? Can you upgrade your current machine as is or will it require you to replace it with a brand new machine? And how does Office 365 impact licensing? So many questions...
According to Microsoft's website, it says:
"Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences."
The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.
But, for businesses that use Microsoft Office 365, the big question is - whose responsibility is it to back up your data? And further, to what degree is it really being backed up?
1. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?
After January 14, 2020, if your PC is running Windows 7, it will no longer receive operating system and security updates. Therefore, it’s important that you upgrade to a supported operating system such as Windows 10, which would provide the latest security updates to help keep you and your data safe. In addition, Microsoft customer service will no longer be available to provide Windows 7 technical support.
2. WILL MY CURRENT APPLICATIONS BE ABLE TO RUN ON wINDOWS 10?
If your applications are currently running fine on Windows 7 now, odds are, they will continue to run fine under Windows 10. One of the key issues though is that most software vendors will stop supporting their applications when run under Windows 7 once Microsoft pulls the plug on support for it. This is an easy out for the vendors to say, "sorry - it's on Windows 7, we're unable to troubleshoot the problem for you." So, this could become a long-term problem for you for these specific applications.
3. what should i do?
If you're a current client of FPA and have Windows 7 machines, odds are we've already informed you of this as well as have presented our recommended upgrade path. This is a hot topic for us and our clients at our recurring Quarterly Business Review meetings. As always, we will plan for this upgrade and help you make the best choice for your situation. If you are not one of our current Managed Service clients, you should identify which systems have Windows 7 and start planning accordingly (or give us a call).
In some rare cases, some organizations may have critical line of business applications that will only run on Windows 7. Again, a rare situation, but there may be workaround possibilities with server virtualization and/or cloud computing, but this can only be considered a stopgap measure to buy you a few months’ time. If this is your situation, talk to us right away.
Windows 10 requires more firepower than older operating systems. And while most of the more recent machines (ie: within the last year or two) should be fine to handle the resource hog that Windows 10 is, many Windows 7 users may need to move to a new device capable of running Windows 10.
4. WHAT happens if you continue to use windows 7?
Well, technically you certainly can continue to use Windows 7. But, after support has ended (January 14, 2020, your computer will become vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Windows will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft.
Our position is clear - we STRONGLY recommend (if not require) upgrading or replacing all Windows 7 machines on the network before its end of life date. With today's cybersecurity climate, keeping a Windows 7 machine online after this date is just too much of a security risk to expose anyone's business to. At least we still have a little bit of time to make it all happen.
For more information, check out these important links:
- Support for Windows 7 is ending
- Windows 7 support will end on January 14, 2020
- Windows lifecycle fact sheet
Or give us a call if you have any questions.
Are you still using Windows 7? If so, what are you doing to plan for migrating to Windows 10? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or send me an email to continue this conversation more in-depth.