Why Windows 7 eol “end of life” should be on your business’s radar?
Over the last 40 years, the development of personal computer (PC) technology has been rapid, to say the least. When it comes to operating systems, however, we haven’t always been willing to adopt every shiny new incarnation. So, has the time come to finally say goodbye to Windows 7?
Since its release on 22nd October 2009, Windows 7 has become one of Microsoft’s best-loved products. So much so that over 40% of PCs are still running the software, despite the introduction of Windows 10 back in 2015. All good things must come to an end, and the time for change is upon us.
How much longer will Windows 7 be supported
Back in 2009, Microsoft made a commitment to provide extended product support – including technical assistance and security updates – for Windows 7 until 14th January 2020. So, what happens next? Having already ended mainstream support on 13th January 2015, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 extended support to focus on newer technologies. This will herald a new era for Windows 10, with businesses advised to upgrade to the current system before its predecessor’s end of life date arrives – the point at which product support ceases.
What’s the difference between mainstream and extended support periods?
Everything has a shelf life – especially in the fast-paced world of IT technology. The lifecycle of a Microsoft operating system begins with its release and ends with the termination of support. This typically includes two service periods: mainstream support and extended support.
During an operating systems mainstream support period, Microsoft continue to implement security updates, release design changes, and provide paid online and phone support. This typically ends five years after the release date, at which point the extended support period commences. In Windows 7’s case, this first phase of support ceased on 13th January 2015.
Extended support typically runs for a period announced by Microsoft until the operating systems end of life – 14th January 2020 for Windows 7. Rather than continuing to develop the product during this period, Microsoft simply release security updates to keep it safe.
Will it still be safe to use Windows 7?
The constant evolution of computer viruses and other malware means security updates play a pivotal role in protecting a business’s data. Newly identified vulnerabilities will not be patched by Microsoft .Therefore, businesses that choose to continue running Windows 7 beyond this point will be doing so at their own risk. Leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
What’s the best route to change?
Implementing positive change can be expensive and time-consuming. To ensure your business experiences an efficient and cost-effective migration to Windows 10, you must understand your options: replace legacy systems with new devices that run Windows 10 or upgrade existing devices with a full version of the software.
Replacing legacy systems
According to Microsoft: “For most Windows 7 users, moving to a new device with Windows 10 will be the recommended path forward. Today’s PCs are faster, lightweight, yet powerful and more secure, with an average price that’s considerably less than that of the average PC eight years ago.”
Upgrading existing devices
Alternatively, it’s possible to upgrade compatible Windows 7 PCs by installing a version of the Windows 10 software. This is the most cost-effective option in the short-term. However, it’s worth noting that PCs older than four years often cost more to maintain than a new Windows device.
How to implement your migration project
Avoid a situation where you need service or support that’s no longer available, by carefully planning your business’s migration to Windows 10. Having decided whether to replace or upgrade existing devices, it’s time to devise your implementation strategy. Will you choose to budget ahead for this expense or adopt a phased approach over the coming months?
Some businesses will choose to budget ahead for the cost of migrating to Windows 10, before delivering the project at a time that suits them. Including IT in the budget planning helps to control costs, while also keeping technology updated. The sooner this process begins, the more strategic the business can be in terms of budgeting, ensuring the project is delivered on time and within budget.
By implementing a phased approach to Windows 10 migration, businesses can control the impact of change on their operations and customers. This includes user training – the Windows 10 interface is about 70% the same as Windows 7, but that last 30% must be accounted for – and the perceived risk if something fails.
Common issues to avoid during the migration
As well as the financial and strategic implications of upgrading to Windows 10, there are several technical issues to consider. ..
- Avoid compatibility issues – evaluate the compatibility of Windows 10 with your business’s applications – these might include finance, HR, CRM and ERP. Despite being the most compatible version of Windows ever, take the time to liaise with your application vendors to confirm their compatibility and avoid disruption further down the line. Applications that need upgrading should be tested separately prior to the upgrade to minimise user impact.
- Avoid post migration issues – mitigate against potential post migration issues by implementing a strategic plan for each application. Adopting a proactive approach to your Windows 10 migration will help ensure a smooth user experience.
- Avoid integration issues – some applications may require integration setup – this might include Outlook and CRM integration on the client PCs, browser add-ins and Office application plugins. To prevent any disruption, setup processes should be tested when upgrading to Windows 10.
- Unsupported applications – although some applications may not be supported by Windows 10, this does not rule out an upgrade.. TDM Group can propose alternative solutions based on best security practices. For example, a legacy application can be replaced with a new Cloud based solution.
Taking the time to implement your business’s migration to Windows 10 in a considered and well planned manner will ensure a smooth transition for users and reduce risk.
Get help from the experts
When it comes to switching from Windows 7 to 10 there is much to consider – from strategy and risk to timeframe and budget. However, implementing such a major migration project doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect.
IT project management and business change specialists TDM Group understand just how disruptive even positive change can be, if not managed properly. Whether acting as consultants to your internal team or managing the entire business change project from start to finish, we can provide professional project management services backed by industry-leading experts.
What about the cost? By choosing TDM Group you save time and money without compromising on quality or taking risks. we pride ourselves on delivering on time, on budget and with exceptional results.