Windows 7 has been one of the most successful operating systems developed by Microsoft. Its resilience has been boosted by the controversy surrounding Windows 8. Millions of organizations skipped the Windows 8 OS and stuck to Windows 7. Many businesses are still not convinced that Windows 10 is any better than Windows 8. Even though there are still valid reasons to stay with Windows 7, you need to start preparing for an inevitable upgrade.
January 2020 will be the end of the road for Windows 7. This means that Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7 with security updates, bug fixes and other support. This is known as a product’s End of Life.
Until then, you can enjoy the operating system’s extended support as Microsoft works on phasing it out. As of now, Microsoft is still offering paid support for the operating system but has terminated all the complimentary updates that come with the product license.
Background On Windows 7
This popular operating system was released in October of 2009. It replaced the Windows Vista operating system, which was not very well received. Windows 7 was an instant hit. It was so intuitive. Everything worked well. Users quickly adopted the program and many would not stop using it even when Microsoft released Windows 8. Unfortunately, Windows 8 fell into disrepute as users began having the same old problems they’d had with the Vista operating system.
By 2014, Microsoft was making preparations to retire Windows 7. In the first phase, they stopped all retail sales. Next, mainstream support came to a standstill. In 2016, PCs were no longer shipped with Windows 7 pre-installed.
What Sunset Means
Sunset begins with Microsoft no longer offering extended support for Windows 7. It also means no more security updates, bug fixes, or service packs. The usability, security, and performance of this operating system will begin to degrade. As time goes by, there will be a definite tendency toward inferior performance, serious security issues, and the like.
Upgrading to the Latest Operating System
Once sunset begins, users will not be able to enjoy all the features and security that the product was so famous for. The product will start to have issues that can’t be resolved:
For companies that depend on their software programs to run correctly, these incompatibility problems can quickly become troublesome. Even customers or third-party vendors will not be able to interface with Windows 7. If you try to install new software, it will not be compatible.
The most serious issues with sunsetting are those involving security. Hackers know that Windows 7 has become vulnerable and they will seek out ways to exploit those weaknesses. This will leave your system susceptible to ransomware, malware, and viruses. The probability of suffering from a cyber-attack that renders your computers unusable will continue to increase with time.
What Are Your Options?
Microsoft has worked hard to perfect Windows 10. It has built-in security features that are much more effective than anything they’ve done in the past. But it’s crucial to start migrating to the new operating system now. As the time approaches for Windows 7 end of life, many who have waited till the last minute will be looking for help to migrate all their files and documents over to a new system. There will be a rush period where companies may have to wait to get the help they need with installation and migration.
The other option would be switching to Mac OS. Mac OS is very reliable and users love it. But it does mean introducing an entirely new work environment to your team. There will be a steep learning curve. While some Microsoft programs, such as Office, are available for Mac OS, they work differently so it will take a period before new users become proficient. Mac computers are very reliable, but often more expensive than Windows-based computers.
The Migration Process
Before migrating, perform an inventory of software and group each application into one of three groups: unwanted, optional, or required. Some software may require an upgrade to run on a newer operating system. Next, prepare a similar inventory of hardware. As with the software, some equipment may need to be updated or replaced to remain compatible with the new operating system. Also, check the requirements of the replacement operating system, paying particular attention to available hard drive space, physical memory, and processor needs.
If you’re using older computers, many experts recommend purchasing new computers that come preinstalled with Windows 10. Of course, you’ll still have to move all your files and apps over, but more modern computers with Windows 10 will perform much better.
What’s the Bottom Line?
With the sunset of Windows 7 now on the horizon, it’s essential to begin migrating over to the Windows 10 or Mac operating system. Failure to upgrade will lead to serious issues with performance, compatibility and performance. The security risks alone could put all your data in danger from hackers.
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