Looking at Windows 7 End of Life: Implications for Your Hardware & Software

It’s the end of an era. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will cease to offer support for Windows 7. According to a March 2019 report by Net Applications, Windows 7 is currently active on “36.5% of all PCs and 41.7% of those running Windows.” This means that a significant number of PC users still have yet to make the jump from Windows 7 to Windows 10 – are you one of them?

Support for Windows 7 Ends on January 14, 2020

While it will still be possible to use Windows 7 beyond January 14, 2020, doing so can put systems and organizations at high security risk. The normal security patches and bug fixes Microsoft issues will no longer be created for this operating system, leaving Windows 7 users vulnerable to hackers and cyber attacks. Furthermore, a lack of new feature updates means Windows 7 users will miss out on the same software capabilities available to Windows 10 users.

The best decision is for organizations to upgrade to a fully supported operating system, such as Windows 10, as soon as possible. However, some strategic planning and considerations are involved in making the switch. Let’s talk about compliance, compatibility, and updates.

3 Considerations in Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10

#1 Compliance

For many organizations, compliance will be a primary incentive for upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10. An operating system that is no longer secure or supported is also an operating system that is no longer HIPAA compliant. Consider the implications of handling sensitive client or patient information on a device running on an operating system known to be vulnerable! Regardless of your industry, this is a major liability.

#2 Compatibility

As you prepare to make the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10, perform an audit of your organization’s current software and hardware usage. Not all of the technologies you currently use with Windows 7 will necessarily function on Windows 10. A scanner you rely on, for example, may not be compatible with Windows 10. Or perhaps an older line of business application used by one of your company’s departments lacks Windows 10 support. Carefully performing an audit will allow you to take stock of your current hardware and software and prepare for any necessary upgrades to Windows 10-compatible software and devices prior to upgrading your operating system.

#3 Required Updates

If an upgrade isn’t necessary, an update probably is. It’s likely that the software you’re currently running on Windows 7 will need to be updated in order to run on Windows 10. All major software and hardware producers should have information regarding upgrades and updates readily available online. As you prepare to make the jump to Windows 10, compile a list of your software programs and hardware that are already compatible and only require an update to remain in use with Windows 10.

Next Steps for Moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10

Talk to Your Vendors.

Your vendors can make you aware of any necessary information with regards to Windows 7 end of life and the software, hardware, and services they sell. Remember, with more than one in three Windows computers currently running Windows 7, you’re not the only one affected by this upcoming change! Your vendors will certainly be able to help you through the transition.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re unsure whether or not a certain scanner will work on Windows 10. In this case, a quick call or email to the vendor should help you determine if a replacement scanner will be necessary or if a software patch update is all that’s needed to keep the device functioning on the new operating system. In many cases, talking directly with your vendors will provide the reliable information you need for a successful move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Of course, as your partners, we are also here to provide guidance on our solutions to keep you up and running. We recognize the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will require strategic planning and execution; we’re here to guide you through the process!

Talk to Your IT Services Department.

While IT services may be well-equipped to install new workstations, not all IT departments are experts on every single piece of software or hardware that’s used in every department. That being the case, start having conversations with IT now while there’s still time to plan.

Ensuring your IT department understands your software dependencies will result in a successful new workstation rollout. Failure to have these conversations in advance could result in a Windows 10 rollout that leaves a critical piece of software or hardware inoperable. This could cause interruptions and delays as your team has to wait for IT to install the appropriate software upgrade or purchase a new Windows 10-compatible piece of hardware.

The Windows 7 Clock Is Ticking. Take Action Now!

The good news is:

  • You’ve got time.
  • Your operations will be more secure by making the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
  • You will have access to new and enhanced features with Windows 10.

Don’t delay your upgrade! Take advantage of the time you have now to execute a well thought out plan that will prevent any unexpected issues from popping up. Have questions about how Windows 7 end of life may affect any of your InStream products or services? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to assist.