End of the road for Windows 7

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Still using Windows 7? It might be time to say goodbye.

Microsoft are ending support for Windows 7 on 14th January 2020, a little over 10 years after it was released back in 2009. What does this mean? Well, all those updates that Microsoft releases every month to patch security holes will no longer happen, so any new vulnerabilities will remain open and exploitable.

Phasing out Windows 7.

Windows 7 is currently in ‘extended support’ rather than ‘mainstream support’ which means that Microsoft have stopped releasing features and other updates that improve the user experience. That finished back in January 2015. Extended support only covers security updates.

Windows 7 has been replaced 3 times already; Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 are effectively all separate operating systems. It’s no wonder, really, that Microsoft wants everyone to get on with the latest release. Windows XP was around for a very long time, and well into the lifetime of Windows 7. (I’m sure there are lots still out there; I’m almost certain the self-checkouts in Sainsbury’s at Old Street are running XP!)

Back in the old days, Microsoft released a whole new operating system every 3 years or so. Sometimes they didn’t go as well as others. Windows Vista was terrible, but marked the first big step away from Windows XP. Windows 7 ironed out all the bugs, then Windows 8 more or less repeated the mistakes of Vista, but 8.1 got much closer to the mark. Now Windows 10 has become the stable standard that Windows XP and 7 were in their heyday.

Windows 10 is following a different upgrade path. Microsoft will no longer release a major update every 3 years. Instead, they now do 2 smaller updates in Spring and Autumn, in addition to the normal monthly security patches, all of which are now free, whereas previously you needed to buy the new one. This is more in line with Apple and others, where the OS is updated indefinitely – or at least for as long as the hardware can support it.

What this means for you.

What does this all mean in practice? Well, really, you have no choice but to either upgrade your existing PC to Windows 10 or replace the PC with a new one. Given that Windows 7 hasn’t been available to purchase for a number of years, there’s every chance that if you’re running it, it’s time to replace. In some cases it might be worthwhile upgrading (through Microsoft 365 for example, an Office 365 subscription that includes a license for Windows), however, you would definitely want to check your hardware first to see if it’s worth it.  

One obvious business benefit of Windows 10 over Windows 7 is OneDrive and the integration with Office and SharePoint. The sync is WAY better on Windows 10 because you have so much control over how the files you want sync, whereas in Windows 7 you have to sync everything you want to access. If you have a few hundred GB of files, that’s going to fill up your hard disk pretty quickly. The sync app also tends to run into a lot of problems as well, but on Windows 10 it’s very slick. The latest version of Office is fully integrated.

January 2020 is not that far away. Get planning for your migration to Windows 10 now. As always, we’re here to help.  

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