It’s already been announced: The End of Life date for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. And, if you didn’t install the patch update released earlier this year, your machine stopped being supported in July of 2019.
If you think you’re the only business that hasn’t updated to Windows 10, think again.
Despite its decade-old life, Windows 7 is still being run on a whopping 39 percent of all PCs currently in use. That means that the new year will see a lot of users having to move on to the next version or risk loss of support.
An unsupported operating system (OS) is a liability for every business.
The Risk of an Unsupported Operating System
While it’s true that your Windows 7 OS will continue to work after the end of life deadline, Microsoft will stop providing updates, support, and patches for it. So, if you experience any problems with your OS, you’ll have to figure out the solutions—if there are any—on your own.
Dealing with buggy or lagging software is no fun, but the biggest problem with running an unsupported operating system is that you won’t be protected against emerging security threats. That’s because Microsoft will not be releasing new patches for viruses after the end of life deadline has passed.
Cybercriminals are smart—they are bound to take advantage of a large number of users still on Microsoft 7 and develop specific viruses and malware that target the outdated OS.
Add to that the fact that weaknesses and issues with Microsoft 7 security can affect your compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and you begin to see just how large this problem can grow.
Finally, your overall maintenance costs will increase as you’ll need more IT assistance—from internal staff or an external service—to keep your unsupported OS running.
What to Do Right Now If You Have Microsoft Windows 7
There are several ways to tackle the move from your tried-and-true Windows 7 and one is bound to meet your business needs. Let’s look at a few of your options.
Purchase Windows 10
You can purchase a license to run Windows 10, the latest Microsoft OS, on your machine(s). However, Windows 10 Pro for 1 PC or Mac currently runs approximately $199.99. For many small businesses, this represents a significant investment of capital, particularly if they’re running it on several machines.
If this option is out of reach budget-wise, check out the other suggestions, below.
(Yes! You Can Still Get a) Free Upgrade to Windows 10
As part of the November update for Windows 10 in 2016, Microsoft allowed users to use a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 key to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 OS. While the offer has officially ended, users can still use these keys to get the Windows 10 OS through the Anniversary Update or by using Microsoft’s Windows 10 media creation tool.
Just be sure to back up all your files before proceeding, or, better yet, have an IT professional help you make the switch.
Explore the Idea of Switching Operating Systems
One final way to secure your computer and stay on the cutting edge of technology without upgrading to Windows 10 is to change operating systems altogether.
One suggestion is to install an open-source software called Linux on your machines. It’s totally free and updated regularly by volunteer developers. However, you’ll need to make sure you get the version that will meet your needs—and there is a wide range of distributions to choose from.
Making the right choice can take the expertise of an IT professional.
Finally, you can change computer systems entirely and make the move from PC to Mac. Of course, this is the most expensive option and would require a large capital investment for most businesses, as you would have to purchase entirely new hardware across the board.
Kelley Imaging – Your IT Experts in Portland, Oregon
Kelley Imaging has been providing IT expertise in the Portland, Oregon area, for decades, so we understand how to keep your business running smoothly through all kinds of changes, including those posed by the latest Windows update.
Our experts can guide you through the available options and keep your system secure and updated while minimizing breaks in service.
If you’re ready to see how our experts can help keep your IT on the cutting edge, get in touch with one of our Kelley Imaging consultants today.