Launched in October 2009, Windows 7 is now a decade old. In human terms, not that long, but the life expectancy for an operating system is a much shorter one. Windows 7 reached its official end of life on January 14th 2020. What that means is that Microsoft will end all support for Windows 7.
Surveys conducted in recent years have found that at least a third or more businesses are still using Windows 7. Many users are SMEs, but the NHS also reported in July 2019 that they still had one million users using the operating system. Although current users can choose to continue with Windows 7, there are significant risks that should be considered.
Crucially, Microsoft will no longer patch any security holes in Windows 7. This means that the operating system will be increasingly open to viruses and bugs. Not only will the system be more susceptible to attack, but Microsoft will not provide the technical support to get the problem fixed. For business security and continuity, this is a key risk. It is for this reason alone that it is not recommended to continue using Windows 7 past its end of life date.
The good news is that businesses and personal users can upgrade to Windows 10 with a licence for free. Bear in mind that the facility to do this depends on the devices having the correct technical specifications to run Windows 10. Most devices manufactured in the last few years should meet the minimum specifications for Windows 10. Features required include an Internet connection and processor speed of 1 gigahertz or faster, as well as available memory.
Some businesses may find they face several challenges upgrading in time. There may be an issue with the current hardware running a Windows 10 upgrade, or the remaining time available to switch. In such cases, Microsoft is offering an Extended Security Updates package for Windows 7. This comes at a cost but offers an interim solution if the end of life cut-off date has come as a surprise. Microsoft will offer the service until January 2023. It's important to note that the price per device increases substantially year on year.
Linux is a well-established open-source provider of free operating systems that may merit consideration. While many people may not have heard of Linux, it is frequently used by global companies such as IBM, Google, Amazon and even Microsoft.
The Importance Of A Backup
Whatever operating system the business switches to, all files must get backed up first. This means that if the process of upgrading causes any issues, the rollback feature can restore files.
Finally, when upgrading operating systems, it’s worth thinking about the server in use as well. Windows Server 2008 also reached its end of life on the same date as Windows 7 but alternative servers are still available. To discuss your options with one of our managed IT experts, please call 0333 900 9050 today.
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