Preparing for Windows 7 End of Extended Support

Windows 7 End of Extended Support

What You Need to Know to Get Ready

Preparing for Windows 7 End of Extended Support? Here’s What You Need to Know

Microsoft’s standard Lifecycle Policy indicates that ten years of support will be provided for their business and developer products. With the release of Windows 7 occurring in late 2009, the End of Extended Support for this operating system is near. In fact, Windows 7 End of Support will occur on January 14th, 2020 – meaning that organizations must begin their upgrade process before the new year begins.

The End of Extended Support (EoS) for Windows 7 can pose a variety of risks and consequences that all organizations should be aware of. Read on to learn what to expect and how to proceed with the end of extended support for Windows 7.

What Does End of Support Entail?

The End of Extended support means that your organization will no longer receive technical support or any sort of system updates from Microsoft. These updates include design updates, feature updates – and most importantly – security updates. The end of security updates is what spurs most organizations to begin their migration process, especially since data breaches are top-of-mind for the leaders and IT teams within many organizations.

As well, organizations running Windows 7 on an older machine – or an older processor - must be more vigilant. If these versions are especially unpopular or complicated to integrate in today’s technical environment, Microsoft may choose to end support early. For example, all PCs that used a Pentium III microprocessor had extended support come to an end back in June 2018. Due to this, it may be advisable to consult a Microsoft expert before the end of extended support looms any closer.

What Are the Risks of Maintaining Windows 7?

When Windows 7 EoS occurs, no organization will be forced to stop using the program. While Microsoft will warn them, organizations will have the capability to ignore any cautioning. However, any organization that chooses to delay upgrading from Windows 7 will be at serious risk.

First, organizations should consider potential compliance risks. These will be inevitable for many organizations, and will be especially important for organizations that must follow strict regulations like HIPAA. While these risks may be inevitable, potential compliance risks can be discovered before the end of extended support via a software compliance audit, allowing organizations to address potential issues before they begin.

However, the utmost concern for any organization should be the serious security risks. In today’s data dominated environment, the impact of viruses and malware can have devastating effects on a business. When security updates for Windows 7 come to an end, your business could be extremely vulnerable to these attacks. For a popular operating system like Windows 7, it’s a question of when, not if, a security exploit will be found. For instance, the spread of the WannaCry attack in 2017 has largely been attributed to the unwillingness of executives to upgrade from systems that ran Windows XP and other out-of-date versions of Windows.

Windows 7 EoS - Options for Actions

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What Are the Options to Upgrade?

When seeking to upgrade, there are three primary options suggested by Microsoft:

  • Upgrade to Windows 10 – This is the simplest choice for organizations who can safely say they are ready to upgrade by January 2020. This will require very few changes to the existing structure of your software environment while being more agile than Windows 7. Windows 10 can support apps meant to be run on multiple devices, including PCs, tablets, and smartphones, as well as support for touch screens.
  • Upgrade to Windows 10 Virtual Desktop – Windows 10 Virtual Desktop is a multi-user Windows 10 experience. It’s delivered via Azure, promising a scalable, future-proof architecture that includes built-in security and compliance updates. As an added bonus, Windows 10 Virtual Desktop will provide additional Windows 7 security updates, allowing your organization to ease into the new cloud environment.
  • Purchase Temporary Extended Security Updates – While purchasing security updates will safeguard your organization from security threats and noncompliance, it is not a preferable long-term solution for many businesses. While it will allow your organization to safely use Windows 7 until 2023, it is quite expensive. However, if your organization has Microsoft’s Software Assurance, they will be able to receive a deep discount on extended security updates.

How Microsoft Advisory Services Can Help

When evaluating your options for Windows 7 End of Extended Support, its beneficial to have a team that can help you get the most out of your existing and future Microsoft assets. With our Microsoft Advisory Services, organizations will have access to experienced consultants from a company with over 30 years of Microsoft partnership. By leveraging their expertise, your organization will be able to determine the best path for Windows 7 EoS, and design the best roadmap to upgrade before the end of extended support for Windows 7.

Simplify Your Windows 7 Upgrade

To learn more about to make your Windows 7 upgrade process easy, take a look at our Microsoft Advisory Services page. Or, if you would like to learn more about Windows 7 End of Extended Support from one of our experts, contact us today.

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Dan Ortman, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dan Ortman

Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead

Publisher Advisory | Microsoft

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