From January 14th 2020 Microsoft will no longer be releasing patches and updates for the ubiquitous and much-trusted Windows 7.

Some estimates suggest Windows 7 is still used on 40% of computers, even though it is a decade old. There was a time back in 2015 when you could update to Windows 10 for free but for many businesses this was not a wise choice as newly released software users are often perceived as beta-testers. That ‘free’ opportunity has long since elapsed but in the 4 years since Windows 10 has earned a reputation as a solid operating system.

Why update?

As January approaches all businesses using Windows 7 need to prepare for updating. Sure, on January 15th Windows 7 will still be working just fine but going forward newly discovered security risks could be targeted by hackers and put your systems at risk. Software developers, other than Microsoft, who provide updates for your programs & drivers are increasingly unlikely to release new patches leading to further security or functionality issues. An increasing percentage of new applications and peripherals may even refuse to install on your PC.

Keeping your firewall and anti-virus software up to date, whilst ordinarily essential, is not enough to mitigate the vulnerabilities that may emerge in old copies of Windows 7. Security aside, Windows 10 offers improved functionality and better integration with commonly used business software.

If you can’t update due to a vital software compatibility issue, all is not lost. Microsoft will provide user-pays updates per machine (Extended Security Updates) until 2023 but be aware the costs are considerable and will add up if you have many devices. The grace-period is designed to last one year with update costs doubling in subsequent years.

Preparing to update

Planning is key to successful updates.

  1. Identify key software and hardware your organisation uses and check it is compatible with Windows 10. Testing your software on a Windows 10 machine provides a good benchmark. Most programs will work fine but it’s best to be sure with any specialist software. Licences for much of your software such as MS Office, browsers and Anti Virus applications will continue to work after upgrades.
  2. Plan when to rollout updates with minimum operational downtime & a maximum window of opportunity to rectify anY unforeseen issues.
  3. Backup your data.

Windows 10 can run on older computers – Microsoft has worked hard to ensure maximum backwards compatibility but if any of your devices need updating or replacing we can advise. Windows 10’s minimum specifications are:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC.
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
  • Display: 800 x 600 resolution

Pragmatically, we’d recommend at least a 2GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM (8GB ideally) and a 160GB hard drive for Windows 10 to run well.

How we can help

We are highly experienced in system updates & can help with both planning and by undertaking the updates to efficiently and quickly get your computers running Windows 10.

Feel free to contact us to chat about your needs and let us take the stress out of this process.

Windows 7 End Of Life