Time is running out for Windows 7 users, and nonprofits and small businesses are being urged to switch to Windows 10 and its host of support services.
Microsoft announced the transition: “After 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for computers running Windows 7.”
“While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10,” Microsoft cautioned.
“It's been some time since Windows 10 overtook Windows 7 to become the most used PC operating system, but with the final end of Windows 7 support looming, there's still much work to do,” ZDNet.com reports. “With six months until Windows 7 goes out of extended support, there's quite a lot of data around to provide at least a rough picture of the current state of play.”
“In order to fully take advantage of the features of Windows 10, users must be sure to move away from old tools and file types, as it won't be as efficient,” Techrepublic.com notes.
Techrepublic.com offers additional tips for making the transition:
• Pick the right version of Windows 10.
• Select an experience team to aid in the transition, and develop a plan that involves users and admins before you start the process.
• When updating your technology, take the time to get rid of obsolete or unused applications or devices.
• Research the methods of transitioning, and consider the costs and liabilities, from buying new machines to reformatting existing ones.
If you are one of the nonprofits or small businesses still using Windows 7, there are options in the form of extended support packages from Microsoft. However, those service packages come with a significant price tag, not to mention the data security risk associated with using outdated technology.
“The large businesses that have spent the time and effort to get to understand Windows 10 will be fine – but the issue could well be with those late adopters who are only now looking at Windows 10 as that Windows 7 deadline looms. They must prepare for more testing and more regular rollouts – not easy when many companies are already well behind with software updates and patching. For many of these companies, their next Windows migration is the beginning, not the end, of the changes,” ZDNet.com cautions.
As the IT managed service provider for hundreds of people at nonprofits and small businesses, we recommend developing a planned strategy for retiring obsolete technology. We understand that it can often take a backburner to more pressing organizational issues, but planning ahead can save you time, money, and mitigate risk. We recommend a 3- to 4-year lifecycle of desktops, and devices are closer to 1 to 4 years, depending on the device. When developing a technology replacement plan, on average, expect to retire 20 to 30 percent of your technology each year to ensure no device is older than four years old.
For more detailed information about updating technology, download our brief, “Top 9 Tech Challenges.”