windows-7

Answering the Biggest Questions About

Windows 7 End of Service

Answering the Biggest Questions About Windows 7 End of Service

On January 14th, 2020, Windows 7’s end of service will officially begin. Following this date, Windows 7 will no longer be supported on laptops, desktops, and many other devices – meaning no more bug fixes, and no more critical support updates. This is a solemn moment for many people and organizations that deploy Windows 7 – despite being over a decade old, it’s the second most popular version of Windows on the market, with 37 percent of Windows devices running Windows 7 at the end of 2018.

With more than a billion Windows users in the world, this translates into hundreds of millions of people being effected by Windows 7 end of service. To fully understand the risks and impact associated with Windows 7 end of service, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions.

What Does Windows 7 EoS Mean For Your Organization?

When Windows 7 end of service occurs, Microsoft will cease to provide support to those who continue to run the operating system. This means that if your organization encounters any bugs or security holes, they will be unable to call on Microsoft for assistance without purchasing extended support. Instead, Microsoft will shift resources to their existing product offerings such as Microsoft 365 and Windows 10. This will apply to every device, including PCs, tablets, and laptops, that run most editions of Windows 7, including Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate.

However, some specialized systems – such as gas pumps and ATMs that run Windows 7 Embedded – will continue to receive support following Windows 7’s official end of service. To verify any details about when the end of service will occur for specific versions of Windows 7, consult Microsoft’s product lifecycle search tool.

What Should I Expect When Windows 7 Support Ends?

When Windows 7 support ends, organizations should expect absolutely no official support for their entire operating system – including security patches. Organizations should also consider that many third-party developers will begin to phase out support for their Windows 7-based applications, too. As a result, many organizations will be left with little to no support for these systems at all, which can result in compatibility issues, delays in scheduling software, data loss, and costly data breaches.

However, organizations should expect a large security patch shortly before the official end of service date. This final update typically strives to patch all security holes that the Microsoft team is aware of, and ensure any last-minute bug discoveries are squashed. However, immediately after this update rolls out, hackers will know there are no more updates coming, and immediately begin working on finding exploits. With the immense popularity of Windows 7, organizations should anticipate that hackers are already readying attacks on organizations that do not upgrade in time.

Can I Still Use Windows 7 After January 2020?

Technically, yes. Short of experiencing a serious bug or security event, your Windows 7 devices will enjoy complete functionality following the official end of service date. However, it’s certainly not recommended to use Windows 7 due to the gaping vulnerabilities caused by an out-of-date operating system.

If your organization can’t upgrade all of their devices with a new operating system before January 2020, Microsoft will be offering extended support for Windows 7 extended support. However, this comes at a hefty financial cost and leaves you at risk for vulnerabilities caused by third-party applications that stopped supporting Windows 7.

How Much Will Extended Support Cost for Windows 7?

The charges associated with extended support depends on how long the system has been expired for, with the expense doubling every year. Here’s a quick breakdown of Microsoft’s pricing for Windows 7 extended support:

  • Between January 2020 and January 2021 – $25 per device for Windows 7 Enterprise; $50 per device for Windows 7 Pro.
  • Between January 2021 and January 2022 - $50 per device for Windows 7 Enterprise; $100 per device for Windows 7 Pro.
  • Between January 2022 and January 2023 - $100 per device for Windows 7 Enterprise; $200 per device for Windows 7 Pro.

If your organization doesn’t have a firm migration plan in place yet, be aware that you may need to sign up for these updates in the short-term to ensure your network’s security. Alternatively, if only a few devices running mission-critical applications need support, this pricing structure will give your IT team three additional years to find up-to-date alternatives.

How Do I Ensure Compliance After Windows 7 End of Service?

There are a few paths that will allow your organization to maintain compliance with regulations and software vendors following Windows 7 end of service. The first option is to purchase extended support directly from Microsoft, which will allow your organization to stay compliant for three more years at a significant cost. The second option is to upgrade your operating system – most organizations will choose to upgrade to Windows 10, but others may choose alternatives such as Linux or Windows 10 Virtual Desktop.

Summary

However, compliance isn’t one-size-fits-all. To fully ensure compliance and get the most out of your existing and future Microsoft assets, organizations should partner with experienced consultants that understand Microsoft products and licensing. Since many organizations find Microsoft’s licensing terms difficult to understand, leveraging the support of experts will ensure your organization is following the best path for Windows 7 end of service.

To consult these experts and learn more about how to prepare for Windows 7 end of service, take a look at our Microsoft Advisory Services page. Or, if you would like to speak to an expert, contact us today.

Download Our Whitepaper

On January 14, 2020 Microsoft will end support for Windows 7, which is still one of the most widely used versions of Windows in the corporate environment. After that date, no more updates for Windows 7 will be made with no more security gaps. Read our guide to creating a detailed plan for the far-reaching impact this will have on your environment.

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Author

Dan Ortman, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dan Ortman

Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead

Publisher Advisory | Microsoft

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