Windows 7 Going End of Life January 2020, What Should You Do?

Staying up to date with the latest patches, updates, and versions of Windows Operating Systems is critically important to your business. When Windows becomes outdated and unsupported there are severe consequences.

When Windows 7 support ends, your business will be affected.

1) Governance and compliance standards (GDPR, HIPAA, PII, PCI, etc.) will not accept the use of unsupported systems that leave your business vulnerable to attack and data theft.  Neglect can and will result in fines to your company.  More specifically, Windows 7 will become substantially more vulnerable to attack because Microsoft stops researching & creating security patches for end of life versions of Windows.  Hackers and cyber-thieves will focus on finding the vulnerabilities in Windows 7 because they know Microsoft stopped fixing them.  Windows 7 users will be a target just as XP users were when it was retired.

2) Business software developers will discontinue support for their systems running on Windows 7.  As your business looks to improve business process with newer applications (accounting, billing, EHR, case management, etc.), you will be unable upgrade outdated Windows computers.  As you need to replace peripherals (printers, webcams, video cards, etc.) with new ones, manufacturers will not include Windows 7 drivers.  Additionally, if you need tech support from those vendors, they are likely to deny support requests.

So, what should you do?   Take one of two paths to Windows 10.

Path 1:  Buy new Windows 10 computers to replace your Windows 7 computers (and in my experienced opinion, replace any Windows 8/8.1 computers at the same time).  Don’t pick any Windows 10 computer though.   Since the release of Windows 10 in 2015, I have used various Windows 10 PCs from inexpensive budget laptops to costly gaming computers & workstations.  The experience and usability varies greatly in between.  For business use, three decisions will make or break your experience.

– Processor: four-core Intel i5 or greater

– RAM: 8GB at minimum and 16GB will almost never leave you yearning for more

– Hard Drive:  Solid State is the only way to go

Path 2:  Upgrade your Windows 7 (and Windows 8/8.1) computers to Windows 10.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, not really.  There are several considerations.

– Are the components of the computer compatible with Windows 10?  Did the manufacturer create drivers to function with Windows 10.  If not, the upgrade may not work at all or some components may not function properly.

– Does the computer have the suggested resources to provide a productive experience? (See above for suggestions).  I upgraded a 7 year old PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and it works great!  However, I also upgraded to 16GB RAM, a Solid State Drive, and a new video card.  There is an investment whether you choose to upgrade or replace, and sometimes upgrading a computer can end up costing you more in the long run.

In summary,  Windows 7 has treated the business world very well for almost 10 years.  Thankfully, Windows 10 is a very stable and well executed operating system that will treat you well until 2025.  Continue your business’ productivity, security, and compliance with Windows 10 today!


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