As of this writing, there are almost 1/3 of PC users still using Windows 7, which is fast approaching its End Of Life (EOL) date. That means that all support ends, including vital security updates.
Each Windows operating system has a lifecycle that typically lasts around a decade. For about the first five years users get full “Mainstream Support,” which means making feature update requests, and support via updates and technical help.
The last five years of a typical lifecycle is when an OS is in “Extended Support,” which includes many of the same types of support, but without the ability to request new features.
While the change over from Mainstream support to Extended support isn’t very monumental, when Extended support ends, it typically means your use of that OS should end along with it.
That monumental date for Windows 7 is approaching fast and it will reach its EOL on January 14, 2020.
What does this mean if you’re still running on Windows 7?
Once Extended support ends, so do those vital security updates and patches that ensure any found system vulnerabilities are addressed. This means that even if you have expert system monitoring and management, there won’t be any patches being put out for you by Microsoft and your devices and network will be completely vulnerable to an attack.
1 in 3 data breaches are due to unpatched system vulnerabilities.
There’s not much time to upgrade before that January date rolls around, so if you still have computers in your office running Windows 7, you’ll want to take the following steps between now and then to ensure your data security.
Comprehensive Steps to Upgrading from Windows 7
Beyond just the big security risk you take if you don’t upgrade Windows 7 before it loses all support, there are other issues with hanging on to an outdated operating system, these include:
- Incompatibility with new hardware
- Incompatibility with new software
- As applications upgrade, they’ll drop support
- Being out of compliance with data privacy or security regulations such as HIPAA, NIST 800-171, CMMC, SOX, FINRA, and PCI-DSS
- Loss of productivity improvements that come with newer operating systems
In these final weeks before the Windows 7 EOL date, here are steps you can take for a comprehensive upgrade to Windows 10.
Step 1: Inventory Devices
If you’ve been replacing computers as they’ve worn out, you may have devices operating on different versions of Windows. The first thing you’ll need to do is to a complete inventory of all your devices, even those that aren’t being used right now.
List the device and the operating system it’s using. This will give you a count on the total number of computers that are using Windows 7 and will need to be upgraded.
Step 2: Divide Upgrades and Replacements
Now is the time to replace any Windows 7 devices that are older and not operating very efficiently. So, your next step is to decide which PCs will be upgraded to Windows 10 and which ones you’ll be replacing all together.
One way to help you decide is to check the device’s system specs against the Windows 10 requirements to see if it meets them or not.
Step 3: Decide on Replacement Options
For those computers you’re replacing, you’ll want to consider your options. This is an area where Texas I.T. Pros can help through our IT consulting. You want to not only ensure you’re getting the best efficiency for your money with a new computer, you may also want to consider the new Windows Virtual Desktops that are completely cloud-based.
Step 4: Schedule Data Migration for Replacements
You’ll want to ensure that you don’t lose any valuable data when migrating information from the old device to the new one. A good migration includes the ability to capture your programs, files, folders, emails, and settings and have them all transferred onto the new device seamlessly.
Step 5: Provision Windows 10 for Upgrades
For those computers that are being upgraded, you’ll need to provision Windows 10 and have them upgraded. If you’re already using Office 365, this could be a good time to upgrade to Microsoft 365 which includes the Windows OS. Look at all your options to make sure you’re getting the most value.
Step 6: Properly Decommission Old Devices
For devices that were replaced, don’t forget to scrub the data off them and ensure they’re properly decommissioned. You don’t want an old Windows 7 computers accidentally being plugged in and connected to your network later, exposing sensitive data.
(Last Resort) What If I Can’t Upgrade in Time?
If you have any devices that you just can’t get upgraded in time, Microsoft is offering a limited time Extended Security Updates (ESU) program that will include critical security updates for Windows 7. This is also available when you use a new Windows Virtual Desktop.
Take the Stress Out of Migrations & Upgrades
Texas I.T. Pros can help your company with a smooth upgrade to Windows 10 and handle any data migrations needed. We’ll take the stress out of updating your office and take care of everything for you so you can focus on your business.
Contact us today to schedule your upgrade before it’s too late. Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.