The Best Tactics For Surviving the End of Windows 7
Microsoft sets the date to end support for its still popular Windows 7 operating system. Find out when support is ending and what you can you do now.
How This Going to Affect Me?
With the End of Life date set in stone, many users are wondering what it will mean for them. People who plan to continue to use a computer running the Windows 7 after mid-January, are going to see their computing life get a whole lot harder. Besides no longer having access to new features and hardware updates, Microsoft will stop offering security updates which will leave numerous consumers and businesses easy targets for cybercriminals, and make it impossible for many companies to remain compliant with certifications such as PCI and HIPAA.
So, What Can I Do About This?
If there is any good news, it is that users have several options for dealing with the situation.
Upgrade to Windows 10
The easiest option is to upgrade to Windows 10. If you missed out on getting your free Windows update through the Get Windows 10 program, ZDNet reported many of its readers were able to receive a free and legal upgrade of their operating system as recently as June of this year. Of course, you also have the option of buying a copy of the latest Windows version and paying the tech at your local computer store to install it for you. Upgrading may be the best way forward for a few people, but it certainly isn’t ideal for everyone.
Owners of older computers may want to look for another solution. Although Microsoft has streamlined the minimum requirements for running Windows 10, performance is likely to suffer on machines which shipped with Windows 7 installed. A computer should have at least a 2GHz processor with 8GB of RAM and 160G or more space free on the hard drive to get the most out of the upgrade.
Purchase a New Computer
For anyone whose current computer won’t meet the suggested requirements for Window’s latest operating system, a good option is to buy a brand-new machine. Not only will you solve any End of Life issues, but you will notice a significant increase in performance. If you are apprehensive about the headache of transferring your existing applications and files to your new computer, don’t be. There are many methods which make transferring data easy.
Switch Your Operating System Entirely
Are you tired of dealing with all the hassles of running a Windows operating systems? Why not make the switch to a friendlier OS? Operating systems for both Linux and offer more security and fewer problems than Windows, but it does come with a few tradeoffs.
The biggest downside of going with a Linux or Mac OS is limited access to software. Although many popular programs have Mac and Linux versions, there are exceptions, the biggest being Microsoft Word. While both Linux and Mac users can access the web-based version of Word, and there is a desktop version of the program out for Mac, neither option is an exact copy of the Windows desktop version.
For those who must run a Windows-only application, there are ways around this limitation, although a valid Windows 10 OS license is still required. Linux users can use programs such as the free and open-source Wine or the commercial version called CrossOverand Mac owners can use Boot Camp, a pre-installed utility, to allow run Windows-only software.
The other main issue with switching operating system is that you will need to learn how to use it. Taking the time to figure out a new OS is acceptable if it is for your personal computer, but making a company-wide change may severely lower productivity.
Pay For Windows 7 Extended Security Updates
While free support for Windows 7 is officially over next year, Microsoft does realize that businesses may not be able or willing to make the switch on time. That is why Microsoft is offering users of Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise, the opportunity to pay a per-device fee for continued minimal critical security updates. The prices for the first year of updates is 25 dollars for Enterprise users and 50 dollars for Pro users. It is a hefty fee, but it can buy you time to make a more educated decision on what to do next.
If you haven’t thought about what you will do, now is the time to develop a plan which makes sense for you and your business.