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How will Windows 7 end-of-life impact IT departments?

By any measure, Windows 7 has had a good run. Launching in July 2009, it became the OS version of choice for Windows desktops. Now, over 10 years later, it is time to say goodbye with end-of-life officially occurring on 14 January 2020. What does this unavoidable change mean for IT departments? Here’s the low-down.

What does end-of-life mean for Windows 7?

Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 in January 2015, but have provided extended support through to 14 January 2020.

From this date, there will be no more security patches or bug fixes. This leaves systems and workstations running Windows 7 susceptible to cyber-attacks and malicious software.

Towards the end of 2019 it was reported that almost 40% of all PCs with Microsoft OS software were still running Windows 7. There are still likely to be many individuals and businesses who are now running unsupported software.

Why is it critical to move off Windows 7?

In one word: Security. As you will no longer receive security updates from Microsoft, your systems will be in the crosshairs of hackers around the world.

The WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017 took advantage of computers still running Windows systems past end-of-life. This meant that, even though Microsoft had already released security updates against the malware, it was able to rapidly spread across the globe.

Microsoft did ultimately release a patch for Windows XP due to the scale of the attack. It is estimated that the total cost of the attack was over $4 billion. This is a clear example of how running unsupported software can be far more costly than updating and migrating your systems.

What are your options?

You still have options if you’re unable to migrate to Windows 10, or need more time to manage the migration. You can pay for Microsoft’s Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU). These will only run to January 2023 and will come at a high cost as it is charged per device. Prices are also set to increase every year.

There are third party suppliers who can provide support at a lower cost than Microsoft. This may be a way to buy some more time until you can update your systems.

Ultimately you are on a timeline and will need to make the move to Windows 10 at some point. As of now, there are no plans to release a new version of Windows past 10. We may have seen the end of Windows versioning as we know it and will now have just a continual update schedule. This should hopefully avoid the large migrations that were needed with the end-of-life for Windows XP and now.

What are the positives for upgrading from Windows 7

This is a great opportunity to update software and infrastructure to take advantage of modern developments and standards. Windows 10 is faster and has many quality of life updates for IT departments as well as end users.

Usability has improved with the interface benefiting from many UI updates and better UX. Virtual desktops are better than ever, meaning that multi-tasking is now much easier.

You can also be sure that you’re getting the best security that Microsoft can offer. Windows 10’s Secure Boot feature ensures that any code that runs when the OS starts is signed by Microsoft or the hardware maker. This is the most secure operating system ever produced.

Managing updates is also easier for IT teams as they have full control over how and where they deliver updates are delivered. You can also effectively manage and monitor users with tools like Active Directory, Windows System Center Configuration Manager and InTune.

Start your migration

We provide support to IT teams and managers by offering a full end-to-end service and capability to manage the software and hardware upgrades needed to migrate from Windows 7. Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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