It’s official: Microsoft is soon retiring support for its Windows 7 platform. Windows 10 has been slow to gain popularity with Windows users since its release in 2015, and even now, just under 40% of these users still run Windows 7.
If you’re still holding on to Windows 7 and wonder what its End of Life means for your business, here’s everything you need to know — including why you should upgrade to Windows 10 sooner rather than later.
Windows 7 End of Life — when it’s happening
Microsoft has announced that it’s withdrawing support for Windows 7 from January 14, 2020, but what does this mean?
- You can still use Windows 7 if you want to. Your OS won’t simply stop working
- Microsoft will no longer offer tech support for Windows 7
- There won’t be any more security upgrades or patches developed for Windows 7
The good news is that you can run Windows 7 for as long as you want to. But the question is: do you want to?
Keeping Windows 7 versus Upgrading to Windows 10
You’re probably wondering if it’s really worth the upheaval of installing new software, and maybe even buying new hardware, when Windows 7 still works from January 15, 2020. Here’s why it’s worth the upgrade.
Since Microsoft won’t provide Windows 7 users with cybersecurity support from January 15, 2020, you’re more at risk. Hackers may well take advantage of these unsupported systems and target confidential data contained in the connected devices.
Loss of revenue
System downtime, particularly downtime caused by cybersecurity issues, costs money. On average, just one breached record costs SMBs $148 and 69 days’ worth of downtime.
Without the latest security patches available, Windows 7 devices will be especially vulnerable.
If your OS crashes more frequently because it’s unsupported, then the workplace is less efficient. What’s more, you’ll miss out on any new efficiency features that Windows 10 has to offer.
Preparing for Windows 7 End of Life: A 5 Step Guide
If you’re making the switch to Windows 10, here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Plan to succeed
Set out a timeline for phasing out Windows 7 and introducing Windows 10. Take an inventory of your current infrastructure and set a budget for making changes. Stagger the replacements by, say, only upgrading a handful of devices at a time. That way, there’s a chance to sort out teething problems without causing much downtime.
2. Identify what can’t be upgraded
It might not be financially or commercially possible to upgrade all your hardware at one time or install Windows 10 on every device. Prioritize what must be upgraded and enlist the help of IT specialists to keep your Windows 10 devices running on a separate server from Windows 7 models.
3. Backup your files
There’s always a chance you’ll experience compatibility issues or a technical error when switching software. Before you make any changes, back up your existing files and store them somewhere safe. The cloud is a convenient and scalable storage option that’s compatible with Windows 10.
4. Change your hardware
If your hardware is between 3-5 years old, it’s probably worth switching or replacing them with newer models so they have space and tech specifications to handle Windows 10. You can always keep some Windows 7 computers as backups.
5. Train your staff
Since it’s a new OS, there will inevitably be staff training needs. Start the process as soon as possible so that the staff has time to learn the new hardware and software. This is also a great time to ask IT service providers for help with managing the transition.
If you’re still unsure how Windows 7 End of Life planning affects your business, we’re here to help. Contact us today for more information and advice on Windows 10 integration.