Windows 7 End of Life: What You Need to Know

Microsoft has announced that as of January 2020, it will be ending support for its popular Windows 7 Operating System. This is the end of life (known in the industry as EOL) for Windows 7, which first entered service in October of 2009 and at its peak had more than 630 million licenses sold worldwide. But all good things must come to an end: find out what the end of life for Windows 7 means for those organizations still using this once-popular operating system.

Windows 7 was so popular when it was released in 2009 that it set a pre-order record on Amazon, outselling even the 7th book in the Harry Potter series. By 2012, the software had sold over 630 million copies and is believed to currently be in use on more than 33 percent of computers around the globe.

All of these computer users are now faced with a choice: continue to use the soon-to-be-unsupported operating system, or explore other alternatives for replacement.

Why Using Unsupported Windows 7 Is a Bad Idea

The good news about Windows 7 EOL is that the operating system will continue to work even after the software is no longer receiving support from Microsoft. However, there are a number of reasons that business users should be looking into replacing their Windows 7 operating systems as quickly as possible.

One of the most important reasons to replace the software with a supported alternative is that unsupported software no longer receives security updates. That means that after January 2020, your computer will be more vulnerable to cyberattacks that could result in data breaches or loss. If you’re in an industry like healthcare or financial services where regulatory compliance is a concern, this could put your business at risk of hefty fines.

Another key reason that unsupported software is a problem for your business is that other software (called third party software) will no longer be compatible with it. And over time, Windows 7 performance will begin to degrade and functionality will be lost, especially as compared to more modern alternatives.

Replacing Windows 7: Your Alternatives

Microsoft’s recommended replacement alternative for Windows 7 is to migrate your computer’s operating system to Windows 10. However, this is not the only alternative you might consider. Here are some other options:

New Computer, New Operating System: It’s important to keep in mind that most of the computers and workstations now running Windows 7 are themselves older, which means that they have less memory and slower processing speeds than newer models. Plus, they’re often heavy and clunky compared to newer machines, and make working on the go much more difficult. This is why Microsoft recommends replacing computers that run Windows 7 with a new machine that runs Windows 10 or later.

Upgrade to Microsoft 365: Operating systems aren’t the only things that have changed since the release of Windows 7. Today, many businesses are transitioning their business application suites to the cloud, which makes future application upgrades much simpler. To support this, another alternative suggested by Microsoft is to upgrade your entire application suite to Microsoft 365, which includes Windows 10 and the Office 365 for Business suite of applications including Outlook email, Word, Excel and more.

Extended Support for Windows 7: For companies that need extra time to complete their migrations while maintaining security for their users, Extended Support for Windows 7 is available through January 2023. However, given the many advantages of Windows 10, this alternative is not recommended.

Get Prepared For Windows 7 Replacement

Anytime your organization is making a significant change like upgrading your workstation operating systems it’s important to plan properly so that your transition is smooth and successful. Here are the steps your business should take to prepare for Windows 7 replacement, whether you’re moving forward now or in the future.

  1. Establish what computer systems are running Windows 7
  2. Review computer hardware consider replacing to support Windows 10
  3. Check your line of business and other applications for compatibility
  4. Establish a timeline and a budget
  5. Plan time for employee training

If you are still using Windows 7, Tolar Systems’ expert consultants can help you prepare for the transition to Windows 10 by helping map out the most efficient way to upgrade your workstations so that it has minimal impact on your business.

Which Windows 7 Replacement Option is Right for Your Business?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to replacing operating systems for your business computers. Cost must be weighed against performance, functionality and other concerns. If you need help determining which migration path is right for you or have other questions about Windows 7 operating system replacement, contact the team at Tolar Systems today. We can help you understand your options and make the choice that’s right for your business.