By January of 2020, Microsoft will no longer offer free support for its Windows 7 operating system. It’s a decision that will affect the operations of almost every hospital, medical practice, business, and non-profit in the world. January 14, 2020, to be exact. That means no updates, no technical help, and most importantly, no security patching.
According to Computerworld, up to 35% of the world’s Windows PC’s may rely on Windows 7.
Windows 10 or Bust?
It wasn’t too long ago (five years ago April to be exact), that Microsoft did the same to WindowsXP, yet it’s estimated that 40 million computers around the globe are still limping along with it for many non- critical work applications. But 2014 is not 2019. Security threats have skyrocketed and unpatched or unsupported computers are now targets for every Tom, Dick, and Hacker from Nebraska to Nigeria. If you don’t have an upgrade plan, get one.
Without sounding like a Microsoft Window(s) wonk, the benefits to replacement of old PCs or upgrading to Windows 10 does make sense and it does have its benefits.
- Encryption: This is the process of converting information or data into a code to prevent unauthorized access. Most older computers may not have this feature enabled. If they’re used in a healthcare setting, that could be a HIPAA violation just waiting to happen.
- Speed: Windows 10 reduces unnecessary startup processes resulting in faster overall user experience.
- Usability: Things like enhanced touchscreen capability, universal applications, and tighter sync between multiple devices are included.
- Security: Secure Boot requires that any program that begins as the operating system starts up needs to be signed off by both Microsoft and the hardware manufacturer. Security additions with Windows 10 make the Secure Boot feature tamper-proof.
For those that can’t afford to purchase new computers, upgrade older operating systems, or don’t want to go searching for a pen and pad to write on, Microsoft is offering an option (bless their windowless hearts). Extended support for Windows 7 Professional will start at $50.00 per device beginning in January 2020. That goes up to $100.00 per computer a year later and $200.00 per if you’re still hugging your Windows 7 laptop by 2021. And if you run Windows 7 at home, you might as well get out the checkbook. As they say in New York, forgettaboutit. There’s no extended support for Windows 7 Home so choices are simple; upgrade or buy something new.
January 14, 2020. Unlike the countdown to Y2K, this deadline has some definite consequences.