Last fall, Microsoft announced that paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates would be available on a per-device basis through January 2023. Essentially, these are the security patches Windows users receive for free while the operating system is supported. With Windows 7 end-of-life (EOL) fast approaching on January 14, 2020, and more than one-third of computers still using Windows 7, the folks at Microsoft decided to throw out a temporary lifeline.
In February, we learned exactly how expensive that lifeline will be.
The cost per device for Windows Enterprise users will be $25 in the first year, $50 in the second year, and $100 in the third year. The cost per device for Windows 7 Pro users will be $50 in the first year, $100 in the second year, and $200 in the third year. If you wait until the second or third year to purchase these updates, you still have to pay for the prior year(s).
You would think the risk of using an unsupported operating system would be enough of an incentive to migrate to Windows 10. However, according to Netmarketshare, Windows 7 market share actually increased slightly in January to 37.19 percent, just a few points behind Windows 10, which broke the 40 percent barrier for the first time. Windows XP, which hasn’t been supported in nearly five years, is still running on 2.76 percent of computers.
Make no mistake about it. Organizations that continue to use Windows 7 or any operating system after its EOL date are gambling with the security of their data assets. Those PCs will become prime targets of hackers who know you’re not receiving security patches.
If you don’t want to pay for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates or continue to use an unsupported operated system, you have options. You can move to Linux, which is an open-source operating system. However, there are a number of Linux versions available, so you have to first choose the one that suits your needs and then train your employees to use the new system. You can also switch to Mac, but this is the most expensive option in terms of the operating system and hardware upgrades.
Of course, the most obvious choice is to do what Microsoft has been urging users to do for years – upgrade to Windows 10. Do not fear a sequel to the Windows 8 horror. The Windows 10 layout and user interface are very similar to Windows 7, so the learning curve will be minimal. Windows 10 also offers a number of security features that Windows 7 does not, making Windows 10 machines far less vulnerable to newer malware and attack techniques. As a more modern operating system, Windows 10 is cloud-friendly and has few compatibility issues with applications.
The Windows 7 EOL date of January 14, 2020, may seem eons away, but the migration to Windows 10 could take upward of a year to complete. Let Verteks help you develop and manage a migration strategy that minimizes business disruption and allows you to take advantage of a modern, fully supported operating system.