The end is nigh for Windows 7

By Luke Watts // 17th September 2018

Ah, Windows 7. It’s like a delicious piece of cheese sandwiched between the mouldy bits of bread that are Windows Vista and Windows 8. Which explains why, despite being released over 9 years ago, oodles of British organisations are still running it – including almost 50% of local authorities. And whilst this is understandable (after all, it is a good operating system), it’s time for an upgrade if you’re still using it.

Why? Well, Microsoft will be withdrawing support for Windows 7 on 14 January 2020. Known as ‘End of Life’, this means Microsoft will no longer release any updates, security patches or bug fixes for the operating system. If you keep running it after this date, you could open a big can of worms for your IT network. Let’s take a look at some of the issues you could face and how these might affect your business.

Your systems will be wide open to cyber attacks

Remember the Wanna cry ransomware debacle which pretty much crippled the NHS in 2017? The attack happened because a security patch hadn’t been installed in outdated Windows XP operating systems. Once Windows 7 reaches End of Life, your systems will be at risk from similar attacks (not to mention a whole host of other viruses and malware) as security updates will stop. You won’t be able to install the latest web browsing or email software either, as Windows 7 won’t support these. This will only increase the risk of cyber attack or data theft, as you’ll have to run older, less secure versions.

You can wave goodbye to tech support from Microsoft

You may not realise it, but Microsoft will always have your back if you’re running supported software. They’re like a friend in the background, sending out upgrades and identifying and fixing problems without you even realising it. As of 14 January 2020, all this will grind to a halt for Windows 7. Your systems will start to slow down, and performance will decline.

Of course, your friendly Managed IT Support provider (aka RoundWorks IT) will still be happy to help. But it will cost more and take longer to sort out any problems. In short, you’re looking at shelling out more money in exchange for more downtime. And as we probably don’t need to tell you, lower productivity + lower efficiency = lower profits. Ouch.

You could fall foul of the dreaded GDPR

Yes, we’re always banging on about GDPR. But that’s only because we don’t want your business to fork out for a hefty fine resulting from a data breach that could have been avoided. GDPR requires you to have a robust system in place to protect sensitive data, which means an outdated and unsupported operating system won’t cut the mustard.

Your other software vendors will hate you

OK, they won’t literally hate you. But you could well find that business-critical application such as accounting or anti-virus software stop working with Windows 7 as their ever-evolving tech leaves the ageing operating system in the dust. Or, they’ll simply stop supporting you – leaving you out on a limb if your systems fail, or you lose a vital customer or financial data.

Options for upgrading from Windows 7

There are a few different choices out there if you need to upgrade your operating system. For many businesses, the best route could be moving onto Windows 10. There are lots of great reasons for this, including:

  • Automatic updates and bug fixes – no more forgetting to install security patches!
  • Microsoft’s latest security technology. You won’t find features like Advanced Threat Protection or biometric authentication on any older versions of Windows.
  • Rolling system upgrades, giving you an ever-improving user experience and taking away the need for new versions (Windows 10 could be the last operating system you ever need to buy!)
  • A familiar look and feel that isn’t a million miles away from Windows 7.
  • Guaranteed compatibility with third-party applications, as you’ll always be running the latest version.
  • Access to apps that only run on Windows 10, like the Edge web browser.

RoundWorks IT are on hand to help

January 2020 might seem a long way away. But, unless you have a very basic IT infrastructure, you should start planning your upgrade from Windows 7 now. The friendly team at RoundWorks IT is here to help. We can manage the upgrade process from start to finish – from assessing your current set-up and requirements to identifying and installing the right solution for your business. So why not get in touch today for an initial chat about your upgrade? We’re at the end of the phone 7 ‘til 7, 5 days a week. Speak to you soon!

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