Windows 7 Support Ends January 14, 2020… Are You Ready?

A good operating system is like a good car. It becomes comfortable and we get used to using it daily. Even through a new model has come out, we often don’t want to leave the familiarity of the OS we’ve worked with for so many years. 

But unfortunately, even through you can keep your classic auto in good running condition through the proper attention, the same can’t be said for operating systems past their prime. Once a Windows operating system reaches the end of life (EOL) date, it may technically still work, but it’s susceptible to viruses, malware, and other types of malicious hacks.

That EOL date for the Windows 7 operating system is on January 14, 2020, so you have just a few short weeks to upgrade before you lose support. 

As of November 2019, there were still over a quarter of Windows users (26.9%) using Windows 7.

What does end of life actually mean?

In the Windows product lifecycle, there are two important dates. The end of Mainstream Support and the end of Extended Support.

  • End of Mainstream Support: No more feature requests can be made, feature and security updates continue
  • End of Extended Support: All support ends, both feature and security updates

The end of life means it’s the end of Extended Support, and your operating system will not get anymore patches that are vital to securing the system against newly found vulnerabilities.

Why Patches/Security Updates are Important

One of the most important IT security best practices is to apply updates and security patches in a timely manner. When those patches aren’t applied, data breaches can happen. 

Close to 60% of companies that experienced a data breach within the past two year, cite an unpatched vulnerability as the reason. When you no longer are receiving any security updates to apply, it’s like a flashing welcome sign for hackers to take advantage of an unprotected system.

How Can I Get Ready for an Upgrade to Window 10?

While time is short, it’s still not too late to upgrade from Window 7 before it loses all support. The following upgrade checklist can help you make the right decisions for your company and upgrade in time to keep your network and data secure.

Prepare for Your Upgrade

The first steps you’re doing to take involve gathering information to prepare for an upgrade. 

  • Inventory: First, you’ll want to inventory all devices used at your business and which operating system they’re running.
  • Upgrade/Replace: Next, you’ll want to choose from all the devices still running Windows 7, which to upgrade and which to replace. Some will be so old that completely replacing them may make better financial sense.

Gather Data and Map Your Course

Microsoft gives you a few different options for upgrading existing machines to Windows 10, you’ll want to review all your options and find those that are most cost efficient and make the most sense for your business. Our CIO as a Service can help you chart the best course.

Upgrade options include: 

  • Purchase Windows 10 software: You can purchase the software outright to upgrade on devices you’re planning to keep.
  • Subscribe to Microsoft 365: If you upgrade from Office 365 to Microsoft 365, you get a Windows 10 upgrade included, plus other helpful applications and security.
  • Migrate to Windows Virtual Desktop: Going to fully virtual desktop environments, means that your Windows operating system is always updated, and you can access it from any device (desktop, laptop, or mobile).

Implement the Upgrades

It’s important to draw up your plan first and make your upgrade choices so you can smoothly implement the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10 with as few snags as possible.

  • Schedule Upgrades: Schedule a day that’s less busy for your upgrades or spread them out doing a different device each day. The key is to minimize any business disruptions. 
  • Get Help from an IT Pro: You’ll want to schedule your IT Pro to help with data migration for devices you’re replacing and to ensure that operating system upgrades on computers you’re keeping go smoothly and are stress-free
  • Train Your Team: There are a lot of new user-friendly features in Windows 10 as well as some great security features that Windows 7 doesn’t have, so you’ll want to thoroughly train your team on the new OS.

Last Thoughts

What do you do if you can’t upgrade in time? Does that mean your network is just unprotected? How do you handle computers being replaced? Here are a few last thoughts on those two subjects.

  • Wipe Old Devices: For computers that are being replaced, don’t forget to wipe all data off the old computers so it’s not compromised.
  • If You Need More Time: While it’s not optimum, if you do need more time to upgrade beyond January 14, 2020, Microsoft is offering a limited-time Extended Security Updates (ESU) program for certain Windows 7 users.

Need a Reliable Upgrade Partner?  

You don’t have to go through a major upgrade alone. Genuine Technology Group can help you make the best upgrade choices and ensure that all your data is migrated smoothly to the new Windows 10 environment.

If you’re still running Windows 7 on any devices, contact us today and we’ll help you with a plan. Call 971-288-0880 or reach us online.