Support Ends for Windows 7: What Now?
Guest Blog by Alexandre Armellini – Consultant at Cipher
Microsoft has ended support for the Windows 7 platform as of January 14, 2020.
On October 22, 2009, Windows 7 was launched and went on to become part of the lives of millions of people. People used it at home and business on computers, tablets, laptops, media centers and more. This new software from Microsoft had some graphic and access changes, as well as a new Shell that accelerated the performance and brought more stability to some functions. Other features such as Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker and Windows Photo Gallery were not included in Windows 7 but were offered separately as part of Windows Essentials, for free download.
Windows 7 replaced Windows Vista, which was released in 2005. Vista presented numerous problems and complaints around the world.
Even though Microsoft launched Windows 8 in 2015, Windows 7 remained in use by a majority of users for years after. It was not until February 1, 2018 that Windows 7 lost the position of the most used operating system in the world. On that date, Windows 7 had a 41.9% market share, while its successor Windows 10 reached 42.8% of users.
With the adoption of Windows 10 by an absolute majority of users, Microsoft decided that on January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will no longer be supported by its users. The number of users of this version of Windows is still considerable today. Around 27% of the operating system market still use Windows 7.
We will look at the possible impacts of the discontinued support and give some suggestions regarding security. The discontinued support will affect millions of users around the world.
When Microsoft makes such a decision, the first point is the immediate suspension of the creation and distribution of security patches. The decision also means that Microsoft will not offer technical support for the operating system and services. Thus, the computer does not stop working, but it will be more vulnerable to viruses and other threats due to the suspension of security updates.
Interaction with Other Software
Any software that is used on an operating system without security updates can be affected. Microsoft Office and many others will not stop working as a result of the support stopping. However these systems will be left vulnerable as well, since they are on the Windows 7 operating system. This is a huge risk, since each software can contain different risks.
The immediate suggestion would be to make a backup copy of your data and migrate to Windows 10. Use external media such as DVD, pen-drive or even External HD. Even the OneDrive that is integrated with Windows can be used. Windows 10 remains intuitive to use, despite having a different interface. If the change is too much, there are even settings that makes the interface look similar to Windows 7.
If you purchased Windows 7 legally you can likely upgrade for free. This technically ended in 2016, but it appears to still work according to sources. The cost of buying new is $130 for a personal version and $199 for a business version.
Will my old and dusty computer even support Windows 10? If your machine is more than three years old and there has never been a hardware update, it will probably be better to purchase a new machine. Thanks to the invention of SSD (Solid-State Drive) drives, the boot speed of machines with Windows operating systems has increased a lot, batteries are longer lasting, memories and processors are much faster and more effective. But in any case, for Windows 10 to work properly, you must at least have the following configuration:
- 1 GHZ processor
- 16 GB of hard disk space for machines with a 32-bit operating system and 32 GB of space for a 64-bit operating system
- 1 GB of RAM for 32 bits or 2 GB of RAM for 64 bits
- Graphics card with DirectX 9 or higher
- Monitor with 800×600 pixel resolution
It is important to mention that this is the minimum configuration and does not guarantee good performance.
Special Exception for Businesses
Microsoft announced they will offer Extended Security Updates (ESU) businesses until 2023 for a fee. The updates are sold on a per-device price and will increase every year. This makes hanging onto the old OS a pricey proposition. Purchasing this extended security also requires navigating though the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
Carefully assess the impacts on your business before making any decisions. If you need help, let us know. We will analyze your situation and guide you in the best possible way to keep you safe.