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What will happen if I have a PC still using Windows 7 now that they have stopped supporting it?

Abigail S

200 million people are estimated to still be using Windows 7 – even after Microsoft ceased support for the operating system on the 14th January 2020. If you are still running Windows 7, you need to be aware of the options and risks moving forward.

By ending their Extended Support, Microsoft no longer provide the following to users of Windows 7:

     • Technical support for any issues

     • Software updates

     • Security updates or fixes

Therefore, while you will still be able to use the software, it will be vulnerable to exploitation from attackers. In order to ensure your data is protected, there are a few options to consider.

1. Upgrade to Windows 10

This is the most straightforward option to keep your services running smoothly, and the route recommended by Microsoft. Windows 10 is the current iteration of the operating system and is constantly being updated to counteract any technical issues and ensure that it is of the upmost security.

The upgrade to Windows 10 is simple, but if you have a number of computers to upgrade or a complex setup, it is best to speak to an IT support company for advice on the migration.

2. Purchase Extended Security Updates

Extended Security Updated (ESUs) are being offered by Microsoft for users with Windows 7 Enterprise and Professional licenses. These are security patches to allow businesses to continue to use Windows 7 safely but must be purchased as a yearly license. These ESUs will cover critical and important security updates for a maximum of three years after the End of Extended Support date (14th January 2020) and can be purchased through volume licensing programmes by contacting your Microsoft Partner.

The ESUs come with premium pricing though, with charges doubling each year. For Enterprise licenses it will be around £20 per device for initial year, raising to £80 on the third year. Similarly, the Professional licences will start at around £40, with a final price of around £160.

3. Upgrade to a New Device

Devices running Windows 7 will almost certainly be reaching the end of their practical life. We usually suggest a five-year life cycle for computers, and so all hardware with Windows 7 installed by default will be at the time for replacement.

By upgrading to a new device, not only will you benefit from the latest technologies, but you will also get the latest operating system pre-installed.

4. Migrate to an Alternate Operating System

If you are looking for an alternative option to upgrading to Windows 10, you could instead migrate your operating system to a Linux distribution. There are a lot of Linux variants depending on your requirements. New to Linux? Linux Lite is a great transitional operating system which will be familiar to all Windows users. This distribution will also work on older machines so your Windows 7 computer should have no trouble running smoothly with this alternative.

5. Continue to use Windows 7

If your only option is to stick with Windows 7, you need to protect your files. Certain software necessary for your business may only run with Windows 7, so if you need to stay on this operating system you need to ensure that you have a strong antivirus package installed. The built-in defences will no longer be updated, and so any security vulnerabilities will be open to exploitation. It is also important to keep regular backups of your data so that you can recover your information in the event of any issues. To further segregate your device from threats, you could keep the machine offline so that it cannot be accessible externally. Although this will restrict the functionality of your computer, it will protect it from any remote access.

The end of Windows 7 is causing a lot of changes to be made for business technologies. If you need any more advice or would like to discuss your options, contact us for more information.

Thanks to Abigail S for sending us this message. Got a question about business computers, connections or telecoms? Let us know and we can write you a comprehensive answer just like this one.

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Written by
Fraser S
in Staff Articles.

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