Nothing lasts forever. Whether it’s your current smartphone or the current user interface on your email client, nothing stays the same in technology.
Updates are issued. Hardware gets replaced. The world keeps turning.
But, the next major change you have to be aware of is Windows 7 End-of-Life – are you ready?
All support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020 (yes, you can pay extremely large sums of Money to Microsoft to get support, but that is not likely). What this really means is no more bug fixes or security updates. And over time, the usability of Windows 7 will degrade. There will be a loss of usability and increased risk due to unpatched vulnerabilities.
No support means no updates, and no updates means no critical patches or fixes to protect you against cyber threats looking to exploit gaps in your security. There is no substitute for these patches. Without them, you have no choice but to upgrade to a newer supported OS.
Without security updates and bug patches, you open yourself up to a number of risks:
It’s important to note that End Of Life doesn’t just involve Microsoft. All other products that interact with Windows 7 will also stop providing support for it. Over time computer/peripheral manufacturers will no longer support Windows 7, meaning devices like printers, desktop/laptop companion products, and much more won’t be guaranteed to work as they should. Most importantly, security applications and third-party tools/browsers won’t support Windows 7. So, as you browse the Web and check your email, you could be exposed to cyber threats that are being created for this exact situation.
The simplest course of action is to start planning your move to Windows 10, the newer operating system offered by Microsoft. In addition to protecting you from an unsupported operating system, upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will offer a number of benefits:
To make sure your hardware is ready for the next software environment, you should perform a series of inventories:
You will need more storage space if your hard drive is 32 GB or less. You can try removing applications you no longer need to free up space. You can also try using Disk Cleanup to free up more space. Microsoft might ask you to attach an external drive to free up space for the upgrade. If you do this, be sure to keep it in a safe place in case you need it when using recovery options down the road.
Go through your start menu, programs folder and any other locations on your PC and make a note of all the applications and utilities you have.
Categorize them into 3 groups:
Check your required software versions against the most current versions from the vendor to determine if you need to upgrade them. If so, make a note of the cost to do this.
Decide what you need, how soon, and do a similar upgrade and cost determination. NOTE: Unless you have the original software and licence to complete the install it is usually better to replace software vs. the hassle of installing it and then performing a series of upgrades.
Make sure your current hardware is compatible with the most current Windows Operating System (Windows 10). This means checking:
If they don’t meet the requirements, it may be best to purchase a new machine with Windows 10 installed. Then you can reinstall any current applications that you require.
If your computer is three or more years old, and running Windows 7, in most cases it makes sense to get a new one.
For most Windows 7 users, moving to a new device with a Windows 10 operating system is the best path forward. Today’s PCs are faster, lighter in weight, more powerful, have better energy efficiencies, and provide increased security.
The average price is considerably less than that of the average PC was eight years ago. This Guide from Microsoft can help you choose a new PC in just a few easy steps.
Every Windows operating system has a lifecycle. It’s important that you stay up to date about essential End-of-Life dates.
This will help you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software or hardware. Furthermore, your IT company can also help you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make changes to your other software or hardware.
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