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Are you ready for Microsoft Windows 7 End of Life?

The Windows 7 support end date is January 14, 2020. What does End of Life mean for Windows 7 and how can your business prepare?
November 21, 2019

After a decade, it’s time to say a fond farewell to Windows 7. Once the best-selling operating system of all time, Windows 7 is still wildly popular among both home and corporate users. And while your computer will still work with an outdated operating system, after January 2020 Windows 7 users will lose access to security updates, dramatically increasing the chances of viruses, data breaches, data loss or a plain old buggy computing experience.

If your business devices are still running Windows 7, read on to learn what Windows 7 End of Life (EOL) means for you and how you can make the most of a transition to a modern OS.

What will happen after Windows 7 support ends?

Like all software end of life cycles, Microsoft offered a limited time to provide users with patch fixes, new features and security updates for Windows 7. Can you still use Windows 7 after January 14, 2020? The good news is it will remain a functional operating system – for the immediate future. But the bad news is you are adding increased risk to your business by keeping company data on devices with vulnerabilities that are more likely to be exploited.

Historically, hackers like to wait for end of support dates to find weak points in old operating systems, and it’s not uncommon to see more cyberattacks crop up after EOL, especially on a popular OS like Windows 7.

After January, Windows 7 users will be faced with more threats, more chances for attackers to gain access to proprietary data and no course of action or help from Microsoft if a cyberattack is successful.

Outside of security concerns, you may also experience slowdowns or issues with the apps you use every day. Office 365, especially, will start to see performance and reliability issues once Windows 7 stops receiving bug fixes for those programs. Support for Internet Explorer will also end after January as Microsoft continues to move to their Microsoft Edge browser.

What are the benefits of Windows 10?

Windows 10 offers built-in, comprehensive end-to-end security features. Antivirus, firewall, safe browsing internet protections and more are all included with the software. And continuous Microsoft support means that your security features can evolve to keep pace with new threats.

Of course, some of the new features in Windows 10 are just plain useful, like automatic tagging of stored photos. Looking for that photo from five years ago at the beach? Just type in “beach.” And there’s plenty of other personalization and accessibility features so you can adapt your PC to your work style.

How can I upgrade from Windows 7?

The next generation of Windows – Windows 10 – was released in 2016. While you can purchase Windows 10 licenses individually or in bulk, older hardware might not be able to run Windows 10, and definitely won’t be able to run it at full efficiency.

Microsoft recommends these minimum specifications for Windows 10:

  • Processor: 1GHz or faster
  • Memory: 1GB of RAM for a 32-bit installation and 2GB of RAM for a 64-bit installation
  • Hard Disk Space: 20GB

For better or worse, the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new computer. Ten years of technological advances make new hardware faster and more powerful. New devices often come with security features built into the hardware like fingerprint ID and other multifactor authentication methods. Plus, they may offer other features that you’ve come to expect out of your smartphone, like touchscreen interfaces.

Windows 10 is truly the latest and greatest Microsoft has to offer. And with no confirmed plans for the next operating system, the time is right to find the Windows 10 desktop or laptop that works for your business.

What will it cost to upgrade from Windows 7?

Microsoft offered a free Windows 10 upgrade with the OS’s initial release in 2016, but the date for that upgrade has long passed. You must now purchase full Windows 10 licenses for any of your current computers running Windows 7. It is Microsoft’s recommendation that businesses buy new hardware with Windows 10 pre-installed — and that may just cut down on your long-term costs.

But everyone is at a different stage in the upgrade process. Businesses that choose not to upgrade right away can opt to pay for Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 through January 2023. Microsoft Cloud tenants can provision these update licenses from CDW on a per-device basis for a yearly fixed price. 

The bottom line: Windows 7 was fun while it lasted, but all good things come to an end. In terms of long-term costs and technical headaches, it may be cheaper to bite the bullet and upgrade your systems to Windows 10.

Upgrading to Windows 10?

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