What to do When Microsoft Stops Supporting Windows 7
Many businesses around the world are impacted every time a piece of software product reaches its end of life, mainly when we're talking about an operating system such as Windows. Back in 2014, when Microsoft ended support for its popular Windows XP, 40% of all computers around the world were directly affected.
Not upgrading the system on time will leave it vulnerable to all sorts of cyber attacks and security concerns. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why some businesses are still hard pressed to change their systems. On the one hand, it could be because updating/upgrading computers can be a time-consuming process - mainly if we're dealing with small to mid-sized organizations.
At other times, it's because the business is running on legacy systems and software that only work on older operating systems. There's also the possibility that the hardware, itself, is old and they can't handle the requirements needed for the upgrade. Then, there's also the issue of training employees to use the new software. All of these will bring added expenses and disruptions that small to mid-sized organizations may avoid undertaking.
Nevertheless, those operating on Windows 7 should know that Microsoft will terminate its support on January 14, 2020. And while this may still seem like a long way away, it leaves little room for a comfortable transition to a new operating system as well as figuring out the next course of action. So, with that said, what are the options for those using Windows 7?
The Extended Security Option
If you, somehow, find yourself past the due date on January 14, 2020, and are still using Windows 7, Microsoft is offering businesses three more years of extended security for them to come up with a plan for transitioning to newer software or hardware.
However, this program comes at a cost, which can be paid on an annual basis. The pricing is by the total number of devices, starting from $50 per device in the first year, moving to $100 in the second year, and finally to $200 in the third. Do, however, keep in mind that, if you're planning to exercise this option, you must do so from the beginning. Microsoft will not allow you to buy in years two or three if you haven't been in the program from the start.
Upgrading or Replacing Your System
When transitioning to Windows 10, there are several options available to you. If you already have a relatively new computer, you can either choose to upgrade Windows 7 into Window 10 or wipe everything by doing a clean install.
The second option is generally more preferred since the system will have a better overall performance than the first option. The clean install route, however, is also more time-consuming as you will need a backup of your data, as well the download and installation of programs.
There's also the option of buying a new computer with Windows 10 already installed. It is the preferred option if you have an older PC that's unable to support the new systems.
It's safe to say that the faster you start on this road, the better and less expensive it will be. That's unless you want to keep your old system, but at the cost of not being connected to the internet. Together with Managed Solution, you will experience a fast and seamless transition to the new system.
Are You Ready for Windows 7 End of Life? What’s Next?
As many of us know, Microsoft will be terminating its service and security support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. It comes at a time when a vast majority of businesses are using it as their default operating system. And even though Microsoft has been advertising Windows 7's end-of-life, many organizations are reticent in making the transition - looking at the whole situation as having to fix something not broken.
Statistics also show that a whopping 31% of IT and cybersecurity professionals from around the world believe that the Windows 7 end-of-life has already occurred, when, in fact, it's due for January 2020. Besides, only 30% knew when it would happen, while 44% felt unprepared or were unsure about what to do next.
There are, of course, several challenges associated with upgrading or replacing the operating system of an organization. For starters, many organizations have a large number of legacy apps, which may or may not work equally as well on Windows 10. Second, this transition will require a fair degree of time, manually testing compatibility processes and ensuring that everything works as it should.
And while some have already made the transition, others are still trying to figure out the best approach that will have the least impact on the day-to-day operations. The biggest worry, however, comes in the form of securing vulnerable endpoints such as remote workers and those operating off the network.
Windows 10 Presents and Easier Transition
Transitioning from an older to a newer version of an operating system has traditionally been a challenge; organizations had to go through every few years. This time, however, Microsoft looked into ways of streamlining this operation for organizations using its system.
For instance, Microsoft has offered more options to make it easier to combine PC management with cloud computing. Also, they've encouraged people to adopt Windows 10 on their personal computers since 2016, thus lowering the need for employee training and familiarity when Windows 10 will become standard in business.
Furthermore, for those using Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise, Microsoft will extend their security updates for three years after January 2020, offering organizations more time to develop a transition strategy. This offer will come at a cost for customers in Volume Licensing and will sell on a per-device basis. The price will also double with every passing year ($50 in the first year, $100 the second year, $200 third year, per device.) This package is only intended to maintain security, not to introduce any new features.
Windows 7 End-of-Life Preparation
The best way to prepare for this inevitability is by starting as early as possible. The first step should be to make an inventory of all applications that need testing for Windows 10 compatibility. Categorize them based on criticality, security, and needs. You can also use the Windows Insider Program which lets you test updates before their release so that you make an informed decision about what a particular update will be able to deliver.
The areas that you will need to focus your efforts the most when it comes to testing will be security, mission-criticality, lowering downtime, and limiting disruption. Least Privilege Accounts and Application Control, for instance, are two upgrades that will improve your overall safety in Windows 10.
Making the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is something that many organizations would like to avoid, but it's something that they'll have to do, regardless. To help you streamline the entire operation and find the best strategy that will fit your needs, Managed Solution is at your service.