Is your company still using the Windows 7 operating system? This stalwart, reliable OS has been a popular solution for many businesses looking for stability and functionality.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will cease providing updates and security patches for Windows 7. That gives your business a brief window in which to change to a new operating system.
When Microsoft ends its support of Windows 7, it means the cessation of all support, paid and unpaid, for the operating system. At present, the company is offering “extended support,” meaning paid support only. It no longer offers complimentary support that may have been included in software license or licensing programs. Until January 2020, it will continue to provide security updates but no new design or feature improvements.
You can certainly continue to use Windows 7 after Microsoft stops its support. However, you do so at considerable risk. One of the most important parts of managing your operating system is to ensure that it is protected from viruses, malware and other nasty infections that can derail your technology. Hackers know that Windows 7 is ending and will be looking to exploit the lack of updates and attack computer systems at businesses still using the OS.
When Microsoft stops supporting an operating system, it’s a signal to other software developers and hardware companies to stop providing upgrades and updates to their products on the Windows 7 OS, too. While that support may linger beyond the January 2020 date, it’s likely to end at some point.
In addition, newer hardware components and peripherals are likely to stop working on your computers and devices still using Windows 7. This may create serious compatibility issues with other programs or tools you and your employees need to keep doing business as usual.
Despite facing its demise, Windows 7 continues to be among the most popular operating systems. As of February 2019, Windows held an 87.4 percent share of the OS market. In 2018, Windows 10 eclipsed Windows 7 as the most popular OS worldwide, with 39.2 percent compared to 36.9 percent. In an attempt to speed along adoption of Windows 10, Microsoft had given away the newer OS for free in recent years, though that program has now expired. In one of the company’s most recent Windows 7 releases, Microsoft has included a reminder encouraging people to switch.
The best thing companies can do is to plan to upgrade to Windows 10 well before January 2020. Microsoft has made this process easy, with little to no disruption to files. The user interface is very similar between Windows 10 and Windows 7, ensuring there will be minimal operational challenges for your employees.
The optimal way to approach a Windows upgrade is to work with your IT partner. At Data Magic Computer Services, we help companies migrate to the new operating system and provide ongoing training and support to assist users. To learn more about how Data Magic can support your Windows 7 migration, contact us today.