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For many users, this will be a sad day when the operating system is “put out to pasture.” Windows 7 has reached its End of Life. But Microsoft has clearly outlined the product’s lifecycle and here it is. On January 14, 2020, extended support for Windows 7 will end. With so many dedicated users, it will be hard to switch to a new operating system.

If you’re a Windows 7 user, you may not be aware of exactly what this means and how it will affect you. At end of life, a product’s features will degrade as support is no longer available. It will also be susceptible to viruses and ransomware.

The History Of Windows 7

This popular operating system was released in October of 2009. It replaced the Windows Vista operating system, which was not very well received. Windows 7 was an instant hit. It was so intuitive. Everything worked well. Users quickly adopted the program and many would not stop using it even when Microsoft released Windows 8. Unfortunately, Windows 8 fell into disrespect as users began having the same old problems they’d had with the Vista operating system.

By 2014, Microsoft was making preparations to retire Windows 7. In the first phase, they stopped all retail sales. Next, mainstream support came to a standstill. In 2016, PCs were no longer distributed with Windows 7 pre-installed.

The Details of Windows 7 Sunset

Microsoft begins by no longer offering extended support for Windows 7. That means no more bug fixes, security updates, or service packs. The usability, performance and security of this operating system will begin to degrade. As time goes by, there will be a definite tendency toward inferior performance, serious security issues, and the like.

When To Switch To Windows 10
Once sunset begins, users will not be able to enjoy all the features and security that the product was so famous for. The product will begin to have issues that can’t be resolved:

  • Software, utilities, and features may become incompatible
  • Applications no longer receive updates
  • Antivirus will not be updated, and third-party virus protection software will eventually stop supporting Windows 7
  • Software bug fixes are no longer patched, leaving the system open to exploitation
  • Online banking transaction systems may expire if their authentication and encryption methods cannot be supported by Windows 7
  • New devices (e.g., printers or webcams) will have trouble connecting with Windows 7

For companies that depend on their software programs to run correctly, these incompatibility problems will quickly become troublesome. The most serious issues with sunsetting are those involving security.

Hackers will know that Windows 7 has certain vulnerabilities. They will seek out ways to exploit those weaknesses. This will leave your system susceptible to ransomware, malware, and viruses. The probability of suffering from a cyber-attack that renders your computers unusable will continue to increase over time.

What Are Your Options?

Microsoft developers worked hard on Windows 10. It has strong security features built right in. But it’s important to start migrating to the new operating system now. As time approaches for Windows 7 end of life, many who have waited till the eleventh-hour will be looking for help to migrate all their files over to a new system. Companies may have to wait to get the help they need with installation and migration due to the last-minute rush.

The other option would be switching to Mac OS. Mac OS is very reliable and users love it. But it does mean introducing an entirely new work environment to your team. There will be a steep learning curve. While some Microsoft programs, such as Office, are available for Mac OS, they work differently so it will take a period of time before new users become proficient. Mac computers are very reliable, but often more expensive than Windows-based computers.

The Migration Process

Before migrating, perform an inventory of software and group each application into one of three groups: unwanted, optional, or required. Some software may require an upgrade to run on a newer operating system. Next, prepare a similar inventory of hardware. As with the software, some hardware may need to be updated or replaced to remain compatible with the new operating system. Also, check the requirements of the replacement operating system, paying special attention to available hard drive space, physical memory, and processor needs.

If you’re using older computers, many experts recommend purchasing new computers that come preinstalled with Windows 10. Of course, you’ll still have to move all your files and apps over, but newer computers with Windows 10 will perform much better.

Get Ahead of the Rush

With the sunset of Windows 7 now on the horizon, it’s important to begin migrating over to the Windows 10 or Mac operating system. Failure to upgrade will lead to serious issues with performance, compatibility and performance. The security risks alone could put your data in danger from hackers.

National Networks can complete your upgrade and move all your docs and files over to a new operating system. We serve Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas with professional managed IT services.

For your convenience, we have offices in both Lake Charles, Louisiana and Nederland Texas. Contact us at (337) 474-4249 or (409) 724-0440.

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Published on 6th December 2018 by Shawn Maggio