The date that Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 – January 14 – is now in the rearview mirror – Windows 7 EOL. Microsoft has stopped issuing security updates/patches for Windows 7 and Server 2008. These security patches address vulnerabilities that Microsoft has found or that hackers have discovered. Once these security patches are no longer available Windows 7 computers and servers are at a higher risk of being exploited by hackers and malware – which exposes you to the risk of extended downtime as well as a data breach. If you are in a regulated industry (e.g. HIPAA or FISMA), you will be considered non-compliant.
If you still have Windows 7 what should you be doing now? There are three options:
Replace with New Windows 10 Computer
This is the most straightforward option to dealing with Windows 7 EOL, but also the most expensive. If your hardware is more than 4 years old it makes the most sense.
Upgrade Current Hardware to Windows 10
If your computer is less than 4 years old and otherwise meets your needs, you can consider upgrading the operating system. We usually replace the hard drive with an SSD and do a new install of Windows 10. The Windows 10 upgrade is typically available at no charge from Microsoft. An in-place upgrade is an option, but we have found that issues can often result.
Purchase Windows 10 ESU (Extended Service Update)
Microsoft recently announced an Extended Service Update (ESU) for Windows 7 – essentially a paid service that will continue to provide security patches – one more way to get around Windows 7 EOL. This is a new and unexpected development allowing their small-medium clients (under 500 desktops) to remain protected. The price for the first year is $61 per computer and increases each year for a total of up to 3 years. The ESU is only available through Microsoft Cloud Service Providers, of which BEI is one.
If you need assistance navigating Windows 7 End-of-Life please let us know and we’d be glad to assist.