Just four short years ago Microsoft retired its extremely successful Windows XP operating system (OS). Now it is time for your organization to get ready for the end of the next popular and widely used version. The deadline is approaching sooner than you may think, so let’s break down what your business needs to know, and how to prepare for the end of life of Windows 7 (and Server 2008/Server 2008 R2 too).
Sure, Windows XP was a great operating system. But all things come to an end, and back in 2014, after 12 years, Microsoft officially ended support for XP. Fast forward to 2018, and now Microsoft intends to do the same with one of its most beloved operating systems, Windows 7, which is still widely in use. In fact, according to NetMarketShare,
...approximately 40% of all operating systems running today are still on Windows 7 – compared to a little over 37% of those who moved on to Windows 10...
It’s déjà vu all over again. Just like the operating systems before it, Windows 7 is now reaching the end of its life cycle making upgrading absolutely essential for the safety of your PC and your business.
Why You Need to Start Planning Replacement Now
How to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life
It was a good run. First introduced in 2009, Windows 7 will no longer be supported after just over a decade of service. This is not exactly “breaking news” as the end of mainstream support already took place on January 13, 2015. But now we are faced with the impending end of “extended support” on January 14, 2020, which means Microsoft will no longer provide bug fixes and patches putting your computer at risk and making your entire infrastructure less secure.
Don’t worry. Your machines will not spontaneously combust as soon as the clock strikes midnight. They will still work, but they will be increasingly at risk for viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Once extended support ends, Microsoft will no longer roll out security updates leaving your computers virtually defenseless compared to newer OS versions. Even if you have antivirus software, you will not be able to fully protect your invaluable business data.
The end of support for an OS can be a challenge for any business. There are additional expenses that will need to be made from replacing machines, to the time necessary to update/upgrade machines not getting replaced. Depending on the business, there could also be legacy systems and/or software in place that still depends on older operating systems, hardware and/or equipment that may not be able to handle the new OS requirements as well.
Because of these factors, it is recommended that your business begin planning its transition to Windows 10 as far in advance as possible. This process will take time and planning to ensure a smooth transition. The following are some of the questions you will need to answer:
- How many machines need to be upgraded or replaced?
- Are there legacy systems using older operating systems or software?
- Which legacy systems can/can not be replaced to support newer requirements?
- What security needs to be implemented to separate critical systems from non-upgraded/removed Windows 7 machines?
- Do you have a budget prepared for new hardware/software upgrades/replacements?
- What type of end user training will you need to ensure employees remain productive?
Upgrade vs. Replace
There are valid reasons to consider moving on including ridding your environment of potential security and compatibility issues. Replacement will most probably be the best option which can be costly, but look on the bright side, Windows 7’s end of life gives you a reasonable excuse to move on to newer and better things, right?! Ultimately you have two choices, either replace your existing machines or upgrade your OS with a newer version of Windows. Here are some things to consider for either option:
Upgrade: We understand some people can’t or won’t part with the PC’s they have. If you decide to try and keep your current Win7 machines and just upgrade the OS, depending on the age and configuration of your PC, your OS upgrade choices could be limited by insufficient CPU power, RAM, or storage capacity. PCs still running Win 7 will have a chance of meeting the system requirements for Windows 10, but you will most probably experience significant performance issues.
Replace: Most older PCs are not capable of upgrading to Windows 10, or at least without major performance issues. Therefore replacement will be the best option for the majority of users. Fortunately, there are lots of great PCs available at really affordable prices. Replacement is the easiest route and a great way to invest in your technology future. For starters, the new OS will be preinstalled, and the hardware will be up to current standards.
One last thing about replacement. Microsoft has adopted a new policy beginning with the Windows 10 operating system called Windows as a Service (WaaS). WaaS will incorporate continuous updates and support for current product offerings, in the background, keeping Windows 10 up-to-date with the latest fixes and updates and without the need to upgrade to a new operating system. Although Windows 10 may look completely different years from now in the future, incremental updates will assure a smooth transition between iterations of a single operating system.
Also Getting Phased Out, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2
On a side note, but equally as important, both the Microsoft Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 server operating systems are also reaching end of life on January 14, 2020. Once the deadline passes, the operating system will also have significant security issues potentially leaving your infrastructure exposed due to security gaps no longer patched/updated by Microsoft. Although 2020 seems a little ways off, migrating server(s) takes significant time, planning and budget to ensure it’s done correctly. It is imperative that your business starts strategizing as soon as possible to ensure your business and its data remains secure.
Don’t Worry - We’re Here to Help!
It is recommended your business is switched over from all end of life operating systems six months in advance of the actual deadline to ensure a seamless transition. Unfortunately, that does not give you much time to wait. Don’t worry we can help!
LANTIUM is a certified Microsoft partner. Our account representatives can walk you through the process and help further explain the best options to meet your specific environment and business needs. We also offer excellent pricing for all new required hardware through our many strategic alliances as well as environmentally friendly and safe ways to dispose of your E-waste.
Click the button below to schedule a free call with one of our experienced migration specialists. We will walk you through the options available and help design a customized and cost-effective end of life transition plan for your business.