How to prepare for Windows 7 End of Life
April 30th 2019
Although many Irish businesses and home users have long since abandoned Windows 7, there are still plenty of PCs out there running on this legacy operating system. Windows 7 may still be preferable because of a version of program you use is particularly stable on the platform or because your computer doesn't have enough resources to run anything else! However, Microsoft has now called time on Windows 7 and you will soon have to take steps to ensure that you remain protected.
Why Is the End of Windows 7 Nigh?
When Microsoft launched Windows 10 back in 2015, its preferred platform, they made it clear that people with most of their legacy platforms – principally from Windows 7 up – would have a free upgrade path and that, eventually, its older operating systems would no longer be supported. Although this meant Microsoft put most of its resources into maintaining and developing Windows 10, and not 7, the older versions of its operating system did still receive updates and patches. In other words, the full withdrawal of Windows 7 has been on the cards for at least four years. It is a commercial decision based on the amount of money Microsoft needs to spend keeping the operating system up-to-date and hacker resistant.
When Will Windows 7 Stop Being Supported?
Despite the news that will disappoint some, in fact, Microsoft has given plenty of notice that it will cease its support of Windows 7. You now have until January 2020 to ensure that your systems are ready for the change. The final date that Windows 7 will work will be in the middle of that month so you have time to do something about it so long as you don't delay. Bear in mind that this deadline is only possible if you have downloaded all of the latest updates from Microsoft. If not, it may stop working sooner.
What Do You Need to Do?
Your best option is to contact us for advice. In many cases it may be possible to upgrade your computer to Windows 10. Note that Windows 10 does have higher requirements in terms of hardware than Windows 7 and it will not always be possible (or recommended) to upgrade. If your computer is over 5 years old, it will most likely be more cost efficient to replace it with a new Windows 10 system. IT Force can advise you of the best course of action for each computer.
Microsoft have also started to display alerts in Windows 7 stating that the operating system will reach end of support on January 14, 2020. This alert links to a page that then recommends users upgrade to Windows 10. Note that we recommend contacting IT Force for advice before considering upgrading as not all computers will run Windows 10.
What Happens If You Don't Act?
Windows 7 will continue to work once support for it ceases. If you choose not to update your PC with its latest patches, then you can do so. However, it is likely that your computer will be targeted by hackers if this is the case because no new defences will be built for it. Even relying on third-party anti-malware software is not likely to be enough to protect you when support discontinues. Remember that it is not just that your Windows 7 PC will be more vulnerable once no new patches come out but that criminals will deliberately focus their attention on such systems. Cybercrime costs Irish business huge sums each year and failing to act will only place you in a higher risk category of computer user.
We strongly recommend that you stop using Windows 7 before the end date and upgrade or replace all Windows 7 computers.