On the 14th January 2020, Microsoft ceased issuing patches or security updates for Windows 7 systems.
Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 in January 2015, with extended support running last week. Businesses which failed to migrate in time will be saddled with high fees for further support from Microsoft.
What does it mean?
This ‘end of life’ means no more bug-fixes, security patches or new functionality, making any user - personal or enterprise - significantly more susceptible to malware attacks. Just as it did with Windows XP, Microsoft will continue to offer support for those Windows 7 users still reluctant to upgrade to its Windows 10 OS, but it'll cost you.
While computers will continue to work, users could find themselves open to security holes that are discovered after that date. Malware may be created to exploit any vulnerabilities found, and while users can still update their antivirus software, it’s a good time to start looking at upgrading systems.
Why is Microsoft ending support?
Windows 7 is a nine-year-old operating system. In the meantime, there has been Windows 8, which was designed with tablets in mind, and Windows 10, which got a more favourable reception.
It makes more sense for Microsoft to concentrate on those systems than updating software for a shrinking user base.
Microsoft had a massive upgrade programme for older machines back when Windows 10 officially launched. For a year after its release, Windows 7 and 8 users could upgrade to the new system free of charge, provided the system was compatible.
Microsoft stopped adding new features to the Windows 7 operating system in 2015. Extended support - bug fixes and security updates - continued, but Microsoft had consistently issued repeated reminders that the extended support would be soon coming to an end.
What does this mean for businesses?
There are thousands of Irish businesses out there still using Windows 7 that have yet to make the leap to a new operating system for various reasons. For some, it’s because migrating systems can take up to 12 months to complete. For others, it’s a software compatibility issue, and the requirement to rigorously test any software that will be used on the updated operating system.
So what now?
Users have two options. The first option is to upgrade. For some businesses, though, the upgrade to Windows 10 will mean investing in new machines.
If your business is still using Windows 7 in your business and can’t – or won’t – upgrade, there’s one final option: paying for extended support. Extended support won’t last forever either – even at a price.
PFH can help you smoothly adopt either option. Tune in to a short webinar on Tuesday 28th January at 2.00pm where our experts will tell you what you need to know about Windows 10. During this webinar, we’ll focus on the different versions of Windows 10 available, concentrating on key features, benefits and how to get the most out of your Windows 10. You can register for the webinar here, or to short-cut the process, you can contact us or ask us to turn around a quote inside 60 minutes.