Windows 7 End of Life – What does it mean and what are your options?

Windows 7 has been in businesses everywhere for over 10 years now, having been officially released on October 22, 2009. Windows 7 was a welcomed upgrade from the previous versions of Windows, when first released it introduced several features that have become synonymous with the Windows name, but 10 years later its support from Microsoft is officially coming to an end. The End of Life (EoL) means Windows 7 will no longer be receiving updates and security patches after January 14th, 2020. So, what does this mean for those who still have Windows 7 machines in their place of business? Let’s dive in and find out.

End of Life means that Microsoft will no longer be actively supporting the Windows 7 operating system with updates that keep your computer safe and running smoothly. The biggest factor of an operating system coming to end of life relates to computer security. There are constant new exploits and hacks that are being crafted by hackers to attack older systems that no longer receive security updates, leaving these machines as the most vulnerable point of your network. Having a system that is no longer supported on your network greatly increases your risk of being hacked, not only on that specific machine but over all the devices and servers within your environment. An old system with a known vulnerability can be taken advantage of and used as a pivot point to send nefarious code to the other devices in your network and cause havoc on your entire network.

Not only will Windows 7 be more vulnerable to hackers due to the lack of security updates, but your everyday applications and web browsing will start to slow down as well. As things become tailored to run on modern operating systems with modern hardware, you may see applications starting to break and web pages not displaying correctly. You may have experienced this before if you ever have gone on an old Windows XP machine and tried to do some web browsing and things looked incomplete or off from how it normally looks.   

So, what should you do and how do you prepare for the end of support for Windows 7 machines that may still be used in your business? You have a few options in this case, but the smartest and most effective way to survive the Windows 7 EoL would be to either buy a new computer with Microsoft Windows 10 already installed or to purchase an upgrade to Windows 10 for your current Windows 7 computer. While expense is certainly a concern for all businesses, compromising your security and data by using an old system that is no longer getting updates could end up much more costly than the price of a Windows 10 license or a new computer that will perform better, be more reliable and stay secured versus keeping a potential risk on your network.

If you would like to keep your machine and just upgrade the operating system to Windows 10, Microsoft recommends having a system with at minimum these specs to run Windows 10:

  • Processor: 1GHz process or faster
  • Memory: 1GB of RAM for a 32-bit installation and 2GB of RAM for a 64-bit installation
  • Hard Disk Space: Up to 20GB of space
  • Graphics Card: A screen with a resolution of 800 by 600 or higher, and a DirectX 9 graphics chip

Some older machines may not have the capability to even run Windows 10 so make sure you check your computer specifications against these minimums before deciding whether to upgrade your machine to Windows 10 or to buy a new machine. Comparing the pricing, a Windows 10 Pro license will cost $199.99 MSRP while a new computer with Windows 10 Pro preinstalled can cost anywhere from $300-$1,000+ depending on how powerful of a machine you want to get. A new computer will also have a longer lifespan out of your Windows 10 license, as any computer with Windows 7 still on it will be at least a few years old and may see substantial performance degradation after a year or two of being upgraded to Windows 10 as hardware minimum requirements will rise over time and the old hardware degrades through wear and tear.

Another option Microsoft is offering is extended support for security patches for the Windows 7 operating system at an additional cost per year. This extended support will continue security updates for your machine to keep it safe from any new vulnerabilities that come out after the EoL date. The first year will be $25, second $50/year, and then up to $100/year for the 3rd year per machine. This could be viable with those who have a business-critical Windows 7 machine and need extra time to prepare to move off Windows 7 but in the long run may end up costing more as you will eventually need to upgrade.  

In conclusion, with the Windows 7 End of Life date coming up soon, it is important you’re aware of the risks that will come with keeping your Windows 7 machine in use and plan accordingly to your situation. Whether you are just going to buy a whole new computer, upgrade your current Windows 7 machine with decent enough hardware to a Windows 10 license or buy extra time with extended support to figure out what direction you want to go, Microsoft is offering a variety of ways to survive the end of life for Windows 7 and move onto their modern operating system to keep business moving on a faster and more secure platform.

If you need help assessing your business’s best options when dealing with the Windows 7 End of Life deadline, Next-Level IT is here to help you decide the best route that best suits your needs. To find out more about how we can help, head over to the contact tab and let us know how we can help!

About the Author

mm Josh Fletcher
A performance driven IT support technician with over 13 years of hands on experience in the IT field. Excels at troubleshooting mail, web, and networking areas. Founder and President of Next-Level IT LLC.

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