Windows 7 end of life is approaching. What does that mean for you and your business? If your office is still relying upon Windows 7 as a foundational technology, the time to start planning a transition is now. From here, Windows 7 is only going to become more expensive and disruptive to use.
When Will Windows 7 Support Be Discontinued?
Technically, Windows 7 support was already discontinued as of January 13, 2015. However, extended support doesn’t end until January 14, 2020. That’s not a lot of time—not for any business that currently relies upon Windows 7 technology.
Once Windows 7 is officially discontinued, companies are going to need to pay per device for their security updates. Without those security updates, the Windows 7 ecosystem will quickly become vulnerable to new exploits. Consequently, Windows 7 is about to become very expensive for businesses that haven’t made a transition to a newer technology.
Should You Upgrade in Place or Replace Your Machines?
There are multiple options for Windows 10 deployment, which include either upgrading your existing technology in place or replacing it altogether. Which option is more affordable depends on whether your existing technology will need to be upgraded to meet the new demands of Windows 10, in addition to where your products are on their existing lifecycle. In general, most technology will need to be replaced at the end of a 4 to 5 year term regardless.
If existing machines require significant upgrades to run Windows 10, ultimately replacing these machines will likely prove less disruptive. If the existing machines can run Windows 10 with minor changes, an in-place upgrade is a fast and non-disruptive solution.
Preparing for Windows 7 End of Life
- Create a complete inventory of your current digital assets: security solutions, firewalls, antivirus products, customer relationship management suites, accounting programs, productivity suites, and more.
- Plan a transition to Windows 10. Windows 10 is the likely upgrade path for any organization that is currently using Windows 7. All Windows 7 updates will need to be upgraded to Windows 10.
- Plan upgrades to integrated assets. Your inventory of digital assets will also need to support Windows 10. If any of your solutions have incompatibilities with Windows 10, alternatives will need to be researched.
- Train employees on the differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10. Employees who have been working with Windows 7 will need to be trained on the use of Windows 10, as well as any software updates that come along with Windows 10.
- Determine the type of upgrade. It’s possible to do a rolling upgrade of Windows 10 that only involves some employees rather than all of them. It’s also possible to transition everyone at once. This depends on how large your organization is and how disruptive the transition it will be.
- Schedule the upgrade. The Windows 7 upgrade shouldn’t take long, but scheduling it during normal downtime for your business is usually advisable. By scheduling during downtime, you can avoid disruption and give employees time to adjust.
The Importance of Transitioning to Windows 10
Windows 7 is about to become a significant security risk. Though organizations may continue to pay for Windows 7 patches and support, eventually they will be discontinued. Moreover, businesses are already losing productivity. Without the advanced, constantly evolving features of Windows 10, businesses aren’t leveraging technology already available to their competition. Once an organization has switched to Windows 10, new solutions can be explored.
While Windows 7 will still have extended support through 2020, it’s time to start planning a transition now. A large scale transition to a new operating system is complex. The longer an organization waits, the more likely it is to potentially lead to business disruption. For more information about planning your transition from Windows 7, contact the experts at NetLogix.