The Countdown on Windows 7 End of Life Has Started

After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7.

What does this mean?

After this date, vulnerabilities that are discovered in Windows 7 will no longer be fixed, and over the weeks and months that follow, it will expose the user to significant risk, as attackers develop exploits for security holes they know will remain unpatched.

More immediately, users will observe software and websites (especially banking and investment sites) displaying nagging notices that their operating system and browser software is unsupported.

Third-party developers will not put resources into making their products work with an unsupported OS and, over time, compatibility checks may prevent their products from installing on the OS.

What should I do?

To avoid these and other problems, customers should upgrade to Windows 10. This could be by:

  • Upgrading to a new PC or laptop. If the computer is slow or no longer under its manufacturer’s warranty, it may be best to invest in a new computer and migrate documents and applications from the old computer. MMRIT can arrange secure disposal of old assets.
  • Purchasing a Windows 10 upgrade. This can be installed in place, if there is sufficient disk space and the computer meets the minimum requirements.
  • For computers with limited space, or to combine the Windows upgrade with an SSD upgrade (giving the computer a performance boost in performance as well as an operating system upgrade), a better option may be to perform a clean installation of Windows can be performed. This generally involves more work, but by not carrying through any issues and legacy applications from the old system, can give the computer a new lease of life.

Upgrading to Windows 10

Windows 10 can be purchased outright (licensed per computer) but is also available as a subscription product (per user – multiple devices per user can be upgraded). Computers that were purchased with a Windows 10 license but downgraded to Windows 7 can be upgraded at no additional cost.

Things to consider before upgrading to Windows 10

Some legacy applications and devices may not support Windows 10. By January 2020 these are unlikely to be in common use, but might include legacy accounting packages, building management (HVAC or access control) and old printers and scanners.

It is advisable to contact the supplier(s) of such products to find out if there is an upgrade or a migration path to a supported product. Where this is not possible, there are options for mitigating the risks of using an unsupported operating system, such as placing the computer in a network that is isolated from other production systems, not using the computer for web browsing or anything unrelated to the legacy application, and running 3rd party security software that will detect and block attacks.

Find out more

If you would like to know more about upgrading to Windows 10, whether your systems are compatible for an upgrade, or to find out more about how this may affect you, contact us.

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