Microsoft will end support of the Windows 7 operating system on 14th January 2020. This means that after that date they will no longer provide technical support and automatic updates, including security patches, for Windows 7.
Their recommendation is that anybody still using a Windows 7 PC should move to Windows 10 before that date.
By continuing to use Windows 7 after 14th January 2020 you will be making your PC, network and therefore your data vulnerable to cyber security risks.
What are my options?
- Upgrade using an existing licence. Some PCs came with disks for both Windows 7 and Windows 8, some came with Windows 10 as well. If that is the case, it is possible to rebuild the PC with either Windows 8 or Windows 10 without having to buy a new licence.
- Upgrade using a new licence. If you don’t have disks that came with your PC for Windows 8 or 10 you could buy a licence for Windows 10 and have the PC rebuilt with that. Unless you are a charity and can get the licence cheaply this is likely to be an expensive way to extend the life of an old PC.
- Replace the PC. You can plan to replace your Windows 7 PCs with new hardware that will come with Windows 10. Windows 10 together with new PC hardware will start up and run faster and is designed to be secure.
The move away from Windows 7 could be a bigger project even than the move from Windows XP five years ago. According to netmarketshare.com who report on IT statistics, the number of people using Windows 10 eventually overtook Windows 7 in late 2018, but as at January 2019 37% of people are still using Windows 7. The problem, as ever, is that people using Windows 7 don’t see what’s wrong with it. However, it was released in 2009 and will be over 10 years old when support is withdrawn. Since then the cyber threat landscape has changed immeasurably and Microsoft are promoting the move to Windows 10 as the best step.
Make sure the requirement to remove all Windows 7 PCs from your network by 14th January 2020 does not come as a surprise by taking the following steps:
- Know your PCs – make sure you know how many Windows 7 PCs you have in your network
- Know your options – can you upgrade or will you have to replace. You might have some or all of the older PCs already planned to be replaced due to their age.
- Plan the project – Don’t leave it until December. Budget for it and plan to start as soon as you can.
Remember that after January 2020 there will be no security updates for Windows 7. You now know that and so do all the hackers. February 2020 will be a busy month for them.
If you are not speaking to your IT Support provider about this, why not give us a ring?