Windows 7 Loyalists Face Serious Security Risks
On January 14, Microsoft ends the support for Windows 7. This means no more fixes and security patches for the aging operating system, which was first released in 2009. If you're using Windows 7 past that date, your workstations will be increasingly vulnerable.
Data breaches, system hacks, and security vulnerabilities are frighteningly common, and ransomware has the ability to bring a business to a grinding halt - and every business is a potential target. Unsupported operating systems are easier to exploit, which leaves an organization's entire network exposed.
Rather than continuing with Windows 7 past January 14, upgrading to the fully supported and patched Windows 10 Operating System is recommended.
Microsoft will start displaying full-screen notifications on Windows 7 devices on January 15 to remind users that their operating system is no longer supported and that they should upgrade to the latest Windows 10 version.
"For customers requiring more time to move to the latest product, the Extended Security Update (ESU) program is available for certain legacy products as a last resort option", Microsoft says. The ESU program provides security updates for up to 3 years after the End of Support date.
There's More to Come in 2020
Windows 7 is not the only Microsoft product reaching the end of support this year, with several other major Microsoft products including Office 2010, Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2008 (including 2008R2), and multiple Windows 10 versions also being retired. You can find an overview of all Microsoft products that are reaching end of support in 2020 on their product lifecycle overview. We've listed the major ones below.
|Product||End of Support Date|
|Windows Server 2008 and Windows 2008 R2||January 14, 2020|
|Exchange Server 2010||October 13, 2020|
|Office 2010||October 13, 2020|
|Sharepoint Server 2010||October 13, 2020|
|Project Server 2010||October 13, 2020|
3 Helpful Resources for Windows 7 End of Support
Upgrading to Windows 10 takes time, especially if you have plenty of machines and systems to assess. A smooth transition requires you to identify all machines that need to be upgraded or replaced. An accurate and thorough IT inventory is the prime directive for success. This critical first step is emphasized by Microsoft in their "Now is the time to shift to Microsoft 365" collateral: Take an inventory of the software and devices being used in your business. This step will help you scope the extent of your plan.
Once you've established your inventory baseline, you can leverage these 3 Windows 7 End of Support resources.
1. Windows 7 End of Support: The Bigger Picture
Our Windows 7 End of Support Audit Report shows you which machines in your network are running unsupported Windows versions and which ones have been updated already.
2. Windows 10 Hardware Readiness Check
To check whether your current machines are ready for Windows 10, our Windows 10 Readiness Audit checks if your computers meet the Windows 10 minimum hardware requirements. This will help you to more effectively plan your Windows 10 migration.
3. Extended Security Updates (ESUs) Readiness Check
Migrating to Windows 10 is highly recommended. However, as many business and enterprise users are not able to switch from Windows 7 before the EOS date, Microsoft introduced a paid-for service called Extended Security Updates (ESU) that allows licensed users to continue to receive security updates. Our Windows 7 Extended Security Updates Audit Report checks if the installation prerequisites on your devices have been completed.
If you haven't already, download a free trial of Lansweeper to make use of our Windows 7 End of Support resources.