Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system is officially no more. It has reached the end of life (EOL). Mainstream support actually ended five years ago, but support for Windows 7 stopped for good on 14 January 2020. But lots of people are still relying on it, with perhaps 25% of computers still running it. If you’re one of them, it’s essential that you upgrade or find some other way to migrate from Windows 7.
End of life doesn’t mean that the software actually dies. It will still work on your computer just as before. The problem is that there will be no more updates or patches to fix problems. This can leave you open to all sorts of potentially serious problems. One of the biggest problems when products reach the end of life stage is security. Networks to which computers running Windows 7 are connected will not be secure.
You can take steps to reduce the scale of the problem, but there’s nothing you can do to keep your systems safe in the longer term. For now, you can only use your Windows 7 system offline. You can upgrade your security, by quarantining Windows 7 computers behind an additional firewall. But these are weak solutions. It’s impossible to keep it up forever. Eventually, vulnerabilities will become gaping holes in your IT infrastructure and you will be putting your data and operations at serious risk. You may think you can’t afford to upgrade or move away, but the reality is that you can’t afford not to.
Upgrade to Windows 10. This is the obvious way forward. You’ll be sure of getting the updates and security patches you need to keep your systems secure. You will probably be able to install it on the computers that currently run Windows 7 because the minimum specifications for Windows 10 aren’t much more than those required by Windows. You’ll need:
Processor – 1 GHZ or faster
RAM – 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
Hard disk space – 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
Graphics card – DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
Display – 800 x 600 resolution
Note that these are the minimum requirements, so don’t expect great speeds when you upgrade to Windows 10. We recommend that a Windows 10 workstation should have at least a 160 GB hard drive, a 2 GHz dual-core processor and 4 to 8 GB of RAM.
New computers may be needed. This can be expensive, but if you’re unable to purchase new machines then you might consider leasing. New computers typically come with Windows 10 pre-installed, so you’ll get regular updates from day one. Expect some delays if you need to configure your new hardware with your line-of-business software.
Virtualization involves running workstations from a central server where all the resources are stored, instead of having computers with the system, applications and data that’s generated stored on their individual hard drives. The computer that users work on is known as a thin client. Old hardware can be repurposed to serve as a thin client. This is not a cheap option but it could be the best choice for some organizations. Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based service that can help your business switch over smoothly. A flat rate per user is billed, and the package includes Windows 10, Office 365, 1 terabyte of cloud storage using OneDrive, and security software that can be accessed in a web browser. This could be the cost-effective solution for your company.
Windows 7 end of life really means end of life. If you haven’t done it yet, now’s the time to move on from Windows 7, as a matter of urgency. If you’d like help to move on and want to explore the options available, call the IT experts at Quikteks at (973) 882-4644.
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