25 Sep Preparing for Windows 7 End of Life
As a General Counsel, I worry about a lot of different scenarios and a common concern is hacking and cybersecurity. I always farm out the technical side since, well I am a lawyer, not an IT guy. So I decided to ask an IT guy to give everyone a taste of big changes coming, the End of Life of Windows 7. Here is Brian Guenther of ExceedIT (www.exceeditmd.com) to give a quick synopsis:
The Windows 7 end of life (EOL) date has been announced: January 14, 2020, meaning that Microsoft will no longer update or support this operating system (OS) after that date. And, while Windows 7 is a decade old at this point, it’s still quite popular, with report that it’s still used on 39% of all PCs. If you’re one of those people still using Windows 7, we’ll explain how you can prepare. We’ll look at why the end of support for Windows 7 is so important, and at how you can go about moving to Windows 10, Microsoft’s most recent OS. Also, Windows Server 2008 R2, still used today by many businesses to centrally store data, is also end of life on the same date.
What does this mean?
When Windows 7 reaches EOL, Microsoft will stop releasing updates and security patches for the OS. At this time, support from Microsoft also become unavailable. This does NOT mean Windows 7 will stop working on January 14 – you’ll still be able to use Windows 7 for as long as you want. However, just because you can continue to use Windows 7 after EOL, it doesn’t mean you should. The biggest issue is that it won’t be patched for any new security exploits once it passes EOL, leaving you extremely vulnerable to any emerging threats. What’s more, continued usage would be a big incentive for malicious threat actors (a.k.a. cyber-criminals) to target those now more vulnerable Windows7 machines.
What should you do?
There are a number of things we’d recommend you do in preparation for Windows 7 EOL, and the first is to consider upgrading to a newer OS. While you have a number of choices when changing operating systems, for many people the obvious and simplest option is to upgrade to Windows 10.
Upgrading to Windows 10
Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has a number of benefits. For a start, because both OSs are made by Microsoft the upgrade process is relatively easy, and in many cases you can keep your files on your PC. You’ll experience minimum disruption when upgrading to Windows 10. Most programs will be updated to work on Windows 10, and the layout and interface are similar to Windows 7, so you shouldn’t find it difficult to adjust.
If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, then you can buy a copy, download the installation file and run it to start the process. It’s nice and easy, and you’ll be asked if you want to keep your files. However, we’d recommend that you still back up all your files and folders just in case.
While upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 on your existing PC is possible, it may not be right for everyone. For starters, you’ll need to buy a Windows 10 license. If you were hoping to manage Windows 7’s EOL without spending any money, this isn’t the way to do it. Also, all businesses MUST have a Windows 10 Pro OR Enterprise license. PCs purchased at retail outlets are often Windows Home editions – this is a license violation if used for business.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your current PC to Windows 10, here are our recommended hardware specifications:
• Processor: Intel Core i5 CPU
• RAM: 4GB (min) 8 GB (recommended)
• Hard disk: We recommend a newer (non-mechanical) Solid State Drive (SSD) with at least 128 GB of hard drive space for OS and all your data (256 GB or larger is better)
If your current PC doesn’t meet these specifications, it won’t run Windows 10 very well, and you will have a poor experience. Upgrading your PC can be rather onerous, so replacing it with a new PC (that already comes with Windows 7) is MUCH more cost-effective.
Crucial: Back up your data
No matter which route you take, ALWAYS back up documents and critical data, ALL the time, even when you’re not upgrading your OS. There are a number of ways to do this: You could copy your files to an external hard drive, a flash drive, or you could use a cloud storage service.
Should you prefer to not do this work yourself, and would rather trust the professionals with your Windows 7 EOL upgrades, or any other computer projects, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 240-215-0141. We’re here to help! 😊
More About Brian:
Brian is a successful technology veteran with a 21-year career and he’s the owner of Exceed I.T. (www.exceeditmd.com). He’s also the holder of Project Management Professional (PMP), ITIL, MCSE, CCNA, CCA, A+ and other technical industry certifications.
Acronyms aside, the most important thing to Brian is to help people find ways to make their businesses run more securely, efficiently and profitably. Moreover, he takes a “listen first” approach in an attempt to understand where solutions to business problems can be developed and implemented.
Brian is particularly proud of Exceed I.T.’s approach to doing business: Truly flat-rate managed IT department. One price, everything’s included – no labor bills, ever. (no kidding!) This way, his clients can spend more time working effectively without having to worry what their “IT spend” will be each month – predictable and easy to budget. Now, who wouldn’t love that? 😊
Please feel free to reach out to Brian at email@example.com or 240-215-0141.