There comes a time in every Windows product’s life when it’s no longer supported. No more security patches, updates of any kind, and no more technical support. This is referred to as the end of life (EOL) of a product.
The popular Windows 7 operating system is less than a year from its EOL date of January 14, 2020, and if you’re still using it at home or work, you’re going to want prepare now and know exactly what EOL will mean for the security and operation of your computer.
As certified IT technicians in Framingham, Natick, Sudbury, and the surrounding Metrowest area, our team at Pro Tech Guy has been helping our business and residential clients prepare for the EOL of Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008, EOL on the same date). Whether you use one computer at home or have several of them at your small business, it’s important to be using a supported operating system (OS).
33.44% of computers were using Windows 7 as of March 2019. (Statcounter)
When you look at user stats for Windows 7 and the current Windows OS, Windows 10, over the last 12 months, it’s easy to tell that Windows 7 is reaching end of life and users are rushing to upgrade before it’s too late.
As of March 2018:
Windows 7 market share: 41.51%
Windows 10 market share: 43.95%
As of March 2019:
Windows 7 market share: 33.44%
Windows 10 market share: 55.77%
Read on to find out how to prepare and what happens if you keep on using Windows 7 past its end of life date.
What Does Windows 7 EOL Mean and Why is It important?
The Windows lifecycle for a product is planned out years in advance. Typically, all support is provided a minimum of 5 years after a product is first released (Mainstream support), and critical security patches and paid technical support are continued for no less than 10 years after a product release (Extended support).
So, while a product still has extended support, which ends when a product hits the EOL date, you can still count on those important security updates to keep your PC safe from any known threats or vulnerabilities.
Windows 7 Lifecycle:
Release date: July 22, 2009
End of Mainstream Support: January 13, 2015
End of Extended Support: January 14, 2020
Can I still use Windows 7 after the EOL date?
There are a number of reasons people don’t want to upgrade their OS until they absolutely have to. One is the cost, and another is that they just like what they’re using and don’t want to switch.
But while you can technically keep on using Windows 7 after its EOL date, you’re putting the security of your computer, data, and network at risk as well as setting yourself up for some software and hardware incompatibilities.
You’re basically on your own when it comes to support, as Microsoft will no longer provide any and your system will be at risk because it will not be getting any security patches or updates for found vulnerabilities. This is actually something hackers look forward to, because when an OS is no longer supported it means something they can exploit with malware or a virus, won’t be getting patched.
Another inconvenience of still using Windows 7 after its end of life is that as more software and hardware come out, fewer and fewer of them will be operational on Windows 7, since the developers no longer need to include that OS compatibility in their designs.
Steps for Preparing Before the EOL Date of Windows 7
The good news is that you still have several months before that extended support is lost for Windows 7, but the date will creep up on you before you know it if you don’t prepare soon.
Here are our tips for preparing before that January 2020 deadline.
Preparation Tips for Residential Users:
Ensure your computer or laptop meets the requirements for Windows 10.
Compare the cost of upgrading your current PC with the cost of a new one that already has Windows 10 installed.
Budget for the upgrade and plan to switch before the Windows 7 EOL date.
Familiarize yourself with Windows 10 through online or in person training to make the switch easier for yourself.
Preparation Tips for Business Users:
Create a list of computers that will need to be upgraded at your office and those which cannot be upgraded.
Develop security controls to handle older PCs that won’t run Windows 10 and won’t be supported with security updates.
Consider costs of upgrading older computers to Windows 10 vs purchasing news ones that will have it installed and have a longer lifespan.
Put together a timeline and budget for necessary OS and/or computer upgrades.
Schedule employee training on the new Windows 10 operating system.
Get Help with a Windows 10 Upgrade from Pro Tech Guy
Need help with an operating system upgrade to Windows 10? Our experts at Pro Tech Guy can ensure a smooth transition. We’ll evaluate whether your current PC meets the hardware requirements, do the upgrade for you to ensure there are no issues, and can provide training to help you ramp up the learning curve fast.
Be fully prepared for Windows 7 EOL by calling us today at 508-364-8189 or using our contact form.