Updated: Apr 14, 2019
All Windows products have a lifecycle, beginning with their release, in this case 2009, and ending with the end of support in the next few months. In the past Microsoft left the expiry of most operating systems open-ended and sometimes extended it many times. Typically, this includes two service periods: mainstream support and extended support. Mainstream support means that Microsoft updates the software and makes changes and improvements in the first five years of use typically. Extended support begins once Microsoft is no longer actively developing the product, shifting instead to the release of updates to keep the product safe. End of life is the point at which no further support will be extended. This doesn't mean that Windows will stop functioning, but simply that Microsoft will no longer support it or fix it if it breaks. This also means that other manufacturers will no longer support it either. For instance, you may no longer have support for a new printer you buy or an accounting package. You may no longer be able to use newer versions of software such as Microsoft Office and have to continue using obsolete versions. You may not be able to install the latest version of iTunes to sync your iphone etc. Browser support will more than likely end as well. So you may no longer be able to do online banking using Internet Explorer or Chrome. Some companies may end support later than others so you may have to switch to a different browser if you want to continue doing banking on your old Windows 7 machine.
There are options however. Most computers that came with Windows 7 can be upgraded to Windows 10 licensing free* of charge. Microsoft doesn't advertise this feature but it is still available. Most computers that were sold with Windows 7 can be upgraded to Windows 10 without any major issues. As long as your operating system is running smoothly under Windows 7 and isn't infected or damaged, you can easily upgrade to Windows 10 in most cases.
If you computer isn't functioning well however, you may need to seek the advise of a professional so Windows 10 can be installed as a "fresh" installation. Your files would be backed up and Windows 10 installed on your computer after your computer is wiped clean. This may extend the useful life of your computer by a few years or more and might be an option worth exploring if you can't afford a new computer at the moment or you have more than one machine and you wish to do the uprade in stages.
If you own a business however, end-of-support is very important to your enterprise. With the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft adopted a new policy for the sustainability of their products. This model is known as Windows as a Service (WaaS) and incorporates continuous updates and support. What this means is that Windows 10 will never become obsolete and won't have an "end date".
This is good news for business. From this point forward, businesses using Windows 10 will remain up-to-date with the latest fixes and updates. They won’t need to upgrade to a new operating system, and they won’t need to agonize over which one will be the least troublesome to implement. It's important to transission to Windows 10 as soon as possible if your office PC's are still using Windows 7 or 8.1
Should you move quickly? Simply put, Yes, it is important to at least begin the planning stages of your upgrade process as support for Windows 7 ends this summer and full support ends in January of 2020. Do you need to rush out and buy new equipment? Absolutely not!
What Do I Need To Do To Prepare?
Upgrading to a new operating system takes time and careful planning, particularly if you have numerous machines and systems to assess. You should:
1-Identify machines that need to be upgraded or replaced
2-Assign "mission critical" system the most urgency, such as computers that do banking or email or that hold confidential company data. Those are the systems that require your first attention.
3-We can help you develop a timeline or a budget for implementing upgrades.
4-Implement security controls for machines that will remain on Windows 7, such as segragating them from other important systems or keeping them off the internet once Windows 7 support ends.
Most newer computers that came with Windows 7 can simply be upgraded to Windows 10 fairly easily and at relatively low cost. We are hear to help from the planning stage all the way through to the implementation stages. If you have any questions contact us today and we will provide you with a no-cost assessment of your needs and assist you with your upgrade path.
*A windows license can be upgrade from Windows 7 HP or Windows 10 HP free of charge.