Windows 7 goes end of life and your business should be prepared
Every Microsoft Operating System has a lifecyle - and Windows 7 is no different. In January 2020, Windows 7 goes "end of life" and your business needs to be prepared.
We reported the end of mainstream support for Windows 7 back in July of 2014. But, although that meant no more feature updates, Windows 7 still received security patches - making it a viable option for businesses that wanted to stick with the Operating System.
But end of life is different. It means no more security fixes and it will very quickly become a security issue, as happened when Windows XP finished a few years ago.
Upgrade to Windows 10
If you haven't already, now is the time to start planning your upgrade to Windows 10. The good news is that you can still get free (yes, free) upgrades directly from Microsoft. Any machine running a legitimate (that is fully licensed) copy of Windows 7 (and Windows 8.1 for that matter) so it won't mean the cost of a whole new license. If you visit the Download Windows 10 page on the Microsoft website you will see a "Download tool now" button that will actually upgrade your PC for you. You will just need to follow the on-screen prompts.
Windows 10 will then be licensed with a proper digital license that entitles you to the latest updates and patches.
NB: This is true at the time of writing this article. We accept no responsibility if this option has been removed, or if Windows 10 fails to activate.
Not so fast...
Of course it may not as simple as just upgrading your PCs. Before starting the process you should consider;
- Legacy software - Although most will, not all software will install and run on Windows 10. It's worth listing your key business applications and testing them on a spare PC, running Windows 10, to make sure everything works as expected.
- PC specification - The minimum specification, quoted by Microsoft, for a PC running Windows 10 is actually very low. But, in our view, the specification needed to have an enjoyable and productive Windows 10 experience is a SSD (Solid State Drive) an Intel Core i5 (or above) or equivalent processor from another manufacturer, and 8GB RAM. Especially if you are going to be running the latest version of Microsoft Office as well. This spec sounds high (and expensive) but you can buy a Dell Optiplex desktop or Latitude laptop with this spec for around the £600 mark, or you may even be OK just upgrading your existing machines for a fraction of that cost.
- User training - If your staff have been using Windows 7 for a long time then they will probably require a little training to get up to speed with Windows 10. Windows 10 and Windows 7 are similar in many ways but the small differences may will trip some users up. Consider an hour or so for each user - just to go through the basics.
As we said at the start, you won't be able to avoid the upgrade to Windows 10 after January 2020, so it's better to get planning for it now. But you'll be pleased to know that Windows 10 is now a mature Operating System and can provide many benefits for your users and your business if the upgrade is handled correctly.