Windows 7 officially reached End of Life status on 14th January 2020. If you haven’t planned your route to upgrade yet, it’s now more important than ever. 

Windows 7 has been a popular browser since its inception in 2009. Despite Microsoft ending mainstream support for the operating system in 2015, reports from Netmarketshare show that Windows 7 is still used on 33% of all desktop and laptop computers. That means that 33% of all PCs now face increased risk of cyberattacks, on an operating system that moves slower every day.

Our expert IT consultants are here to talk you through the best upgrade options and important next steps for your business.

What End of Life means for Windows 7

‘End of Life’ status does not mean that Windows 7 will be switched off overnight. Rather, it means that Microsoft will no longer continue to support the operating system with security patches and bug fixes.

Microsoft stopped adding new features to Windows 7 in January 2015, so the system has been on the way out for some time. Now, as of January 14th 2020, Windows 7 will no longer receive even the most basic security support. If you do come across an issue or a bug with your Windows 7 machine, even Microsoft Customer Service won’t be able to help. In order to keep your files and machine safe from cyberattacks, End of Life signals the time to upgrade.

What should I do?: Upgrading to Windows 10

If you’re one of the 33% of people still using Windows 7, it’s time to take action.

Backup your files

Before you do anything else, we recommend backing up all of your files and programmes. Upgrading your operating system on an existing device should retain all of your files – but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Cloud backup storage is the most efficient way to secure the contents of your Windows 7 device. Once your files are backed up to a cloud data centre, you can upgrade your device or move to a new machine with ease.

Upgrade your computer to Windows 10

In many cases, the easiest course of action will be to upgrade your operating system to Windows 10. The benefits are clear: 

  • You only need to pay for a Windows 10 licence and installation.
  • You get to keep using your familiar device.

However, some older devices may not be able to keep up with the more modern software. Check your device specification to make sure it meets the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10. For Windows 10 to fulfil its full capabilities, we’d recommend only installing it on machines with:

– At least a 2GHz dual-core processor

– 4GB of RAM (8GB ideally)

– A 160GB hard drive.

WARNING: Don’t be tempted to upgrade to Windows 8. It may seem like a cheaper option, but it’ll soon reach End of Life itself and you’ll have to repeat the upgrade process all over again.

Upgrade to an entirely new device

If your current device fails to meet the minimum hardware specification, you’ll be better off investing in a new computer. 

With top-of-the-range hardware available to buy or rent, Windows 7 End of Life may be the trigger you needed for a company-wide upgrade. As long as your files are stored in an external hard drive or cloud storage, you can start afresh with a Windows 10 device.

Audit your system to help you decide

Unsure what’s the best course of action for your business? A comprehensive IT Audit can help to assess the health, function and security level of your existing IT systems. In certain situations, it can be cheaper to invest in new IT equipment rather than paying to maintain or update outdated systems. 

Risks of Continuing to use Windows 7 after 2020

Despite reaching End of Life, Windows 7 will continue to work on your existing machines. However, just because you can continue to use Windows 7, it certainly doesn’t mean that you should

  • Risk of Cyberattack. 

Using Windows 7 in 2020 will put your computer at an increased risk of cyber threats. As cyberattacks evolve and become more sophisticated, your outdated security patches won’t be able to protect your machine. What’s more, cybercriminals will likely start aiming at Windows 7 users specifically, with carefully targeted viruses and malware.

Approximately one million cyberattacks are attempted every day
Approximately one million cyberattacks are attempted EVERY DAY
  • Failure to Comply with GDPR. 

With increased risk of cyberattacks comes major data security concerns. As Windows 7 machines will no longer be patched or secured regularly, you cannot guarantee the privacy of your sensitive data. If your business suffers a data breach, you may face legal fines and potentially irreparable damage to your reputation.

For details on how to secure your business beyond your operating system, read our guide to GDPR security requirements.

  • Increased Cost of Maintenance. 

For users of Windows Enterprise, Microsoft have committed to extended security updates. However, these updates to Windows 7 will cost businesses for every device individually. Security patches will cost $25 per device until January 2021, after which the price will increase to $50 for year two and $100 for year three. For businesses using Windows 7 Pro, each of these costs will be doubled.

With ever-increasing costs and risks associated with using Windows 7, now is the time to upgrade your IT equipment.

Linten’s Microsoft Services

As Microsoft Silver Partners, we will scope your business requirements and register your company for the relevant Microsoft licence. We provide Microsoft-accredited support and additional security integrations, so you don’t have to wait in line at Microsoft Customer Services.

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If you’ve decided to invest in new IT equipment, speak to our team about affordable lease options as well as installation and set up packages. For a quicker upgrade, our team of IT experts can install the latest, most secure Windows operating system onto your existing machines.

What’s more, in January 2020 we’re helping businesses to bounce back from Windows 7 End of Life. We’re offering a buy one get one free Windows 7 to 10 upgrades; so if you order one device to be upgraded, we’ll upgrade a second for free!

Get in touch, on 0161 503 5050, to make sure that your business is secure and ready for 2020.