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Windows 7 End-of-Support

As of January 14th 2020 Microsoft ended support, patches and automatic updates for Windows 7. For anyone using Windows 7, this could expose them to serious security risks.

It’s vitally important that we make sure you’re either a) not using Windows 7, or b) are in the process of upgrading, and/or c) have taken the correct steps to protect your data and applications.

For most people it is just a simple case of upgrading to a new computer, after all, Windows 7 is 10 years old in 2020. However, if your hardware is newer, an upgrade to Windows 10 may be cost effective. But, if you have software or hardware that only works on Windows 7, you’ll need to consider other options and care will be needed to ensure you remain secure.

We’ve put together this guide to explain what’s happening, and what you need to do. You can talk to us on 0370 600 9700 or email us if you need any help.

How do I know if I’m runnning Windows 7?

Most Windows 7 installations, for EJC clients at least, only exist on computers running legacy systems. For example, some old accounting or CRM software which isn’t supported by Windows 10.

Don’t forget that we’re not just talking about the computer you use every day for work: it’s possible that if you do have Windows 7 running it will be on a computer in the corner of the office that doesn’t really get used very much, or has a specific purpose as mentioned above.

A basic (although not perfect) way to check is to compare your ‘start’ menu to the two pictures below.

Windows 7 Start Menu

Windows 10 Start Menu

More reliably, you can do this:

  1. Click on the Start menu at the bottom-left of your screen, and either click ‘Run’ if it is visible, or if not just start to type:
  2. Type: winver
  3. Press Enter
  4. Your version of Windows will be displayed on the screen

If you have any doubts or questions, please contact us.

What are my options?

You have four options:

  1. Replace your computers new ones
  2. Upgrade your software from Windows 7 to Windows 10
  3. Take out Extended Security Updates
  4. Do nothing
Option 1: New hardware

In many cases, replacing old computers with new is the most efficient way to go, and we can have them up-and-running much faster than backing-up and then upgrading older PCs. There’s also the benefit that users will find day-to-day work much faster too.

Instead of rushing into this, however, we recommend performing a brief review of your setup. Please get in touch to discuss – we are happy to provide side-by-side options for both upgrade and replacement so you can see the value in each.

Option 2: Upgrade

Your computer(s) can be upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10, normally using the Windows 7 licence. We’ll backup your computer, perform the upgrade and, if necessary, restore the files.

Note, however, there are some risks involved, depending on the age of your computer. 

1. Will your hardware work? Not all laptops and desktops support Windows 10 – most manufacturers have lists of the hardware they have successfully tested (and/or released new drivers for).

2. Is your computer ready? Windows 10 performs best on SSD (solid state drives), whereas many older computers use mechanical hard disks.

2. Is it worth spending the money or time to upgrade? If your computer is running Windows 7 then in all likelihood it’s several years old. How much longer does it have left to perform well? It is often cheaper to buy a new computer than patch-up one that may only have a year or two left. We’d recommend an expectation of at least three years’ of use to make it worthwhile upgrading instead of replacing.

Option 3: Extended Security Updates

If it’s essential to keep running Windows 7 for now, you can purchase Extended Security Updates from Microsoft. Windows 7 Pro will cost $50 per device for year one; $100 for year two and $200 for year three. This is the only option to keep Windows 7 safely, and to keep running Office 365.

It’s important to bear in mind that you are simply deferring the decision – you will still need to upgrade in the future.

Option 4: Do nothing

We don’t recommend it, but Windows 7 will continue to work – however, it will become increasingly vulnerable over time. If we are supporting your network, we may ask you to sign a confirmation statement that you have understood our advice.

Important: if you run Office 365 and choose the ‘do nothing’ option, Office 365 will cease to work. It will only work if you at least purchase the Windows 7 Extended Security Upgrades package.

You should at least make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and that you are extremely careful about what you install on your computer.

If you are hacked or suffer an outage because you’re running an old operating system and lose personal information, you’d have a hard time justifying your lack of action to the Information Commission. Not to mention the potential disruption to your business.

Additionally, new software will soon not be built to run on Windows 7. Microsoft Office 2019, for example, will not even install.

Windows 7 is now ten years old: put simply, it’s a good time to change.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is an informed decision, and that you don’t leave it until the last minute. This is especially important if your Windows 7 system is running business-critical software: we often see old accounting or CRM systems running on old operating systems because the effort to move them is considered too high. But, these are the very pieces of software we should be working hardest to protect.

We are happy to discuss your options in detail with you – just get in touch.

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