Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates and extended support as of January 14, 2020, from Microsoft. Although mainstream support ended for Windows 7 users almost five years ago, the final termination on the roll-out of free security patches and extended security updates is quickly approaching. This means that while users of older versions of the OS who continue to use Windows 7 can still operate on them, they will not receive updates of any kind including software, features, and the biggest whammy of them all – security. Once the support ends, those operating on Windows 7 will be more vulnerable to security risks. Even if users discover huge holes in security that affect Windows 7, there will be no effort from Microsoft to plug them, Windows 7 users will be on their own. Microsoft will not issue any security updates for those users. The easy solution is to simply upgrade to Windows 10, but we know change can be difficult–especially if you have more than 10 machines to replace or upgrade. We hope that the following will help you plan for the change before the Windows 7 January deadline.
- Understand why moving to Windows 10 is necessary. Some users might think that because they have antivirus software installed on their machines that they are safe. But antivirus protection is only one imperfect layer, running software, like Windows 10, which will constantly have the latest security updates is absolutely crucial to preventing breaches. Further, eventually, all software, security programs, and antivirus software will drop their support for older versions of Windows as well.
- Take an inventory of your hardware and software. This is a good practice to do every once in a while anyway, but in this case, taking an inventory will help you determine what hardware can sustain running Windows 10, and which may need to be replaced. Similarly, decide what software will run on Windows 10, as some vendors may not support it yet. Components of new hardware will eventually stop working on your older system. Manufacturers will eventually stop making hardware drivers for your out-of-date operating systems. Sure, you could keep Windows 7 with your current hardware and software, but there’s really no guarantee for any compatibility with future updates on any software you may need. In other words, if you don’t upgrade, you’re going to have to eventually. With over 6 months until the change, you have time to upgrade at your own pace. In fact, it’s a good idea to replace the hardware slowly rather than all at once like doing a few machines at a time. Change can be hard and it’s best to ease into the new systems, as there will be a learning curve.
- Plan for training. The look and feel when moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is very different and will take users some time to get used to, which could temporarily affect employee productivity. For that reason, we recommend that you set up a test machine and have key users try everything out first. There are also quite a few online training videos available, and customized training can be designed for your team, depending on your requirements and budget.
On top of all of that, don’t forget that remote users on laptops and servers also run Windows and may be running an out of date version as well. It’s always best to check and be sure for the same reasons a desktop upgrade is necessary.
Consul-vation has been implementing seamless network, server and PC upgrades and migrations for almost two decades with a great deal of compassion for budget, time and culture. If all of this is a bit overwhelming, we understand and can help take the sting out of it, handling all of it or just giving you some critical advice. Whatever your company needs, Consul-vation will help.