After January 14th, 2020, Microsoft will no longer offer support for Windows 7. This means that there’ll be no more patches or updates for this operating system, and they’ll no longer offer free customer support for it. If you’re part of one of the 43% of organisations that still uses Windows 7, you need to understand what this news means for your business so you can make the right choice for what to do prior to January 2020.
To help you with this, we’re kicking off a series of articles that covers everything that businesses still using Windows 7 need to know, starting with today’s blog post focusing on what exactly this change means.
So what exactly is happening?
Well, it’s more accurate to talk about what won’t happen after January 14.
Microsoft will offer no new features or security updates for Windows 7, making the operating system increasingly difficult and unsafe to use after the cutoff date. You can still download and install Windows 7 after January 14, but to make sure you aren’t exposed to unnecessary cybersecurity risks, Microsoft strongly recommends upgrading to Windows 10 by the end of life date.
Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 to encourage PC users to upgrade to the more up-to-date and, frankly better, Windows 10. The idea of changing over from an operating system you might have been using for several years might be scary, but it’s a decision you and your team won’t regret.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you might enjoy using Windows 7, the risks that come with sticking to the operating system after January 2020, which we’ll go into in a bit, simply make it not worth it.
What should I replace Windows 7 with?
Here at Onestop IT, we’re big proponents of Windows 10, which provides a faster, more user-friendly and secure upgrade to Windows 7. Look out for the next article in our Windows 7 series next week on reasons we recommend Windows 10 for people moving on from Windows 7.
An increasingly popular option for software upgrades is opting for subscription-based cloud computing options. This is because subscribing to a solution rather than buying one out of the box offers you more flexibility, while choosing a cloud-based product means that you can access your files anywhere you are. These systems are considered ‘evergreen’ because they have no set end of life dates, but rather, they’re continuously updated.
However, we strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 10 even if you purchase some of these solutions. It offers many of the perks that these cloud-based systems do, like universal access regardless of your device type, regular security updates with cloud-based storage and communications through OneDrive and Skype. You might even find that these make your cloud-based subscriptions obsolete once you’ve made the switch.
We should also mention here that Microsoft’s vision for Windows 10 is that it’ll be their last proper operating system which they’ll keep updating as time goes by with no end of life date, making it similar to the ‘evergreen’ cloud-based products out there.
What if I choose not to upgrade my operating system?
While this is not advisable, it’s possible to stick with Windows 7 after Microsoft finishes support for it. The major reasons for why this is a really bad idea are the massively increased IT security risks, quickly declining usability and pricy, limited access to customer service after January 2020.
With no more updates or patches to the software, continuing to use Windows 7 after January 14 next year makes your organisation more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks.
There’s a reason for why your computer seems to want you to install software updates pretty much every other day: the world of cybersecurity threats moves fast and to keep ahead of opportunistic cybercriminals, software providers have to provide frequent updates and patches to their products to make sure they stay secure.
After Microsoft finishes up their service for Windows 7, there’ll be no more updates available for the operating system, making it increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Organisations who’ve purchased Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise can purchase extended security upgrades up until January 2023.
However, with the improvements in speed, security and usability that the newer Windows 10 offers, we’d still recommend taking the plunge and updating to Windows 10 before January 2020.
No more bug fixes
Similarly, any annoying bugs that can slow down your work won’t be addressed after January 2020 in Windows 7. So any new issues that arise in the operating system after that won’t be fixed. This means that over time, Windows 7 will become increasingly difficult to work with.
Basically, after next January, you’ll be using Windows 7 at your own risk: if your computer runs slow or worse yet, falls prey to cybercrime, the responsibility isn’t on Microsoft, but only you and your organisation. Especially under strict GDPR laws, this could mean hefty penalties for your company.
Pricy customer service
The only way to continue having access to customer service after January next year is by paying for it. The prices for this vary on how many devices you need support for and these charges will increase the more time passes after January 2020. Even this extended support for those unwilling to upgrade will end after January 2023, and by then, you’ll likely be paying a pretty penny for your organisation’s technical support.
That’s why it really is better to just bite the bullet and upgrade to Windows 10 sooner rather than later. People who have already made the change have commented that there isn’t a very noticeable learning curve that comes with the update and that the system is fairly intuitive.