January 14th, 2020 will usher in what is essentially the Windows 7 end of life, the Operating System used by hundreds of millions. Microsoft will entirely cut off support for the OS after a 10-year life-cycle. This is the first step towards the eventual fate of most technological products, slowly deteriorating to obsoletion. A certified bummer, but with every ending comes a new beginning so why dwell on the past when we need to prepare for the near future!
Rarely does the death of an OS affect so many users. Windows 10, released by Microsoft in 2015, only surpassed Windows 7 in number of users in early 2019. The number of Windows 7 users when Microsoft drops support is projected to be 35% of all Windows users, or 530 million people.
‘Without backing from the tech giant, Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates and devices running Windows 7 will receive no technical assistance from Microsoft.’
So, what will come of your poor device when it is left behind by its creator? Will your business suffer when all your computers are considered insecure? Well, it might seem like nothing, but it could quickly become something more serious. Since Microsoft will no longer support devices running Windows 7; The lack of security updates could leave your business susceptible to threats. It also means there will be no more technical assistance directly from Microsoft. If you call Microsoft about a problem with your Windows 7 device, sorry, they can’t help. Microsoft suggests that all users upgrade to a newer device with the Windows 10 OS.
Why Must the Window Close?
It may seem a bit counterproductive to cut off support for millions of your users, but it’s a necessity. Microsoft’s corporate vision statement is, “to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.” With this forced migration to a newer operating system, Microsoft is bringing users on this journey towards their full technological potential with increased capabilities and more functionality.
Plus, it takes large amounts of resources to continually update and support that many devices and users. Resources that can be used in more effective and innovative areas. They refuse to dwell on the past and are urging their customers to do the same.
Why Does Windows 7 “end of life” Matter?
It might not seem like a big deal, but it would be wise to prepare for this transition ahead of time. By no stretch of the imagination will your Windows 7 computer spontaneously combust on January 14th, but it will begin to be less effective and more vulnerable. Software companies are alerted when an OS approaches the end of its lifecycle and they will begin to reduce support. Take Chrome for example, who stopped supporting Windows XP in 2016, two years after the end of its lifecycle. The same goes for Hardware; like the most recent Intel CPU which already does not support Windows 7 even though Microsoft still does!
There is also the larger-than-you-realize threat of data a breach. Verizon’s 2019 study looked at tens of thousands of attempted and successful data breaches. They concluded that 52% of data breaches involved hacking and another 28% involved malware. Exactly the kind of attacks that systems become vulnerable to when they are not receiving regular security updates.
How Big is the Adjustment?
The transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for personal use requires little to no training. Windows operating systems traditionally operate under a similar user interface, with slight improvements in appearance and usability. An updated Windows 10 device should be easily operated by anyone used to using Windows 7. It may even make life much easier with added functions and performance capabilities.
For businesses, the transition can be quite the burden without professional help. Devices to be installed, employees to train, and data to transfer will give anyone a headache. It is a big step up, but when the process is completed it should be a refreshing and welcome upgrade.
How Should You Prepare?
Upgrading to a new OS takes time and planning, especially if you’re running a business with numerous machines and systems to assess. Luckily, you still have still a good amount of time. An efficient and successful transition to a new OS requires you to:
- Find machines that are running Windows 7 and thus need to be upgraded or replaced
- Create a timeline and budget for upgrades and replacements.
- Develop security controls to separate critical systems from Windows 7 machines that cannot be upgraded or removed.
- Train your employees on how to use the new OS. This one should not be overlooked!
If you or your business are still using Windows 7 and would like assistance with planning for the “end of life” date, please reach out to our team at Louisville Geek. We can assist you with the planning and execution of this transition. We have all the tools to get you upgraded, running, and secure on a more powerful system that suits your specific needs.