- July 11, 2019
Are You Ready for Your Windows 7 Migration?
If you’ve been hearing rumblings about a deadline for your Windows 7 migration, you should know the “end of life” deadline is in January. You should have already started your move to the latest and greatest version of the Microsoft operating system.
The looming Windows 7 end of life deadline is also a reminder that you should review how you allocate your IT resources in the bigger picture, including making the most of your Microsoft investments.
What does “end of life” mean?
For the purposes of a Windows 7 migration, end of life means support for the operating system is being discontinued by Microsoft.
After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide feature updates or security patches. The software giant already ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015—new features stopped being added, and warranty claims were no longer valid.
The risks of putting off your Windows 7 migration
If it’s not that you can’t continue to run your business on Windows 7, but there are consequences from continuing to rely on an operating system that Microsoft no longer supports.
Most importantly, after the Windows 7 end of life deadline, the operating system will be inherently unsecure because it will no longer be patched for new viruses and security threats. Furthermore, it’s likely that threat actors will seek out businesses running Windows 7 knowing they are particularly vulnerable to emerging viruses, malware and ransomware. The second major risk is that third party developers are likely to stop supporting Windows 7, which means other business applications you rely on may no longer function properly.
Finally, support for Internet Explorer on Windows 7 will also be discontinued on the same day, which means applications that depend on it may no longer function properly and be more vulnerable to security threats.
What if you want to stick with Windows 7 past the deadline?
Despite the Windows 7 end of life deadline at the beginning of next year, you will be able to install and activate an instance of the operating system after January 14, 2020. However, it won’t be supported with feature updates and security patches.
Microsoft is allowing users of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise to extend their Windows 7 security updates through January 2023, but you will have to pay for it.
What you need to upgrade
The good news is that your Windows 7 migration doesn’t necessarily mean new hardware.
Although Microsoft does recommend moving to a new PC when migrating to Windows 10 to take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities, you can do your Windows 7 migration on your current devices as long as they meet the minimum requirements.
No matter which route you take, you should make sure that your documents are safely backed up. If you’re upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 on the same machine the transfer of your files is part of the process, but it’s best to back up just in case something goes wrong.
Think beyond your Windows 7 migration
Updating software and the hardware that supports it is a reality of doing business. While doing a Windows 7 migration to meet the end of life deadline may feasible for most organizations to do on their own, it’s a good opportunity to review how you allocate your IT resources. How do you want your IT team to be spending their time? Do you want them bogged down doing patches and updates?
As much as your Windows 7 migration is an essential milestone in the next six months, you should look at it as jumping off point to reassess how you deploy your internal resources and at how a managed IT services company can help.
Arun Prakash is executive vice president of Supra ITS.