The end of an era

The reign of the ubiquitous operating system (OS), Windows 7, is finally coming to a close. The “end of life” date has been announced and is just around the corner: January 14, 2020.

This means that Microsoft will no longer release software or security updates, and will not provide technical support. Although the OS will still function, users will become significantly more vulnerable to security threats moving forward unless they upgrade to Windows 10. Unfortunately for these users, many older devices struggle to meet the modern systems requirements for Windows 10 and may need to update their hardware or transition to a newer device.

Microsoft justifies these upgrade requirements by saying, “these devices running Windows 7 are running 10-year-old technology, and newer devices have moved far beyond that with improvements in speed, functionality, and of course security”. However, if you have a powerful enough device, you should upgrade to Windows 10 before January 14th.

To help put things in perspective, Windows 7 was first launched on July 22, 2009, making it 10 years old. This far exceeds the shelf life of most mass-produced consumer software, but its longevity highlights just how good of an operating system Windows 7 was. Regardless, it is time to move on to newer and better things. This will be quite an undertaking because the market share for Windows 7 remains remarkably high, with an estimated 32% of all personal computers using the OS as of July 2019. Current, Windows 10 has reached a 49% market share since it launched in November 2018.

Security warning

Do not take comfort in knowing there are many others still using Windows 7, take action by upgrading your OS now. For hackers, having a large pool of vulnerable devices lacking modern protection protocols is very appealing and low-effort to exploit.

Another point of interest for hackers will be the Internet Explorer (IE) browser. Microsoft has stated that it will be retiring Internet Explorer along with Windows 7. For a secure and enjoyable web browsing experience, we recommended use the latest version of all modern browsers and avoid IE.

For more information on the end of support for Microsoft products, you can review this list.

What happens to devices running Windows 7?

It is important to note that Windows 7 will not stop working after January 14, 2020. This is the date Microsoft will stop actively supporting the OS. Luckily, if you have Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise, and are unable to upgrade, Microsoft is offering an extended security update package through January 2023. They have provided a PDF with full details.

Need help making the move?

If you need help upgrading to Windows 10, Next Horizon can help. We can also provide network support, cloud computing and other managed services so that you won’t need to worry about upgrades.

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