Support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are coming to an end on 14 January 2020, which means that patching and technical support via Microsoft’s support center will no longer be available for these products. While users could continue to use their PC running on Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will certainly be at greater risk for viruses and malware.
Continuing to use the operating system after this date will put the system in use at risk of attack from new and unpatched vulnerabilities. Furthermore, running businesses on an outdated (and unsupported) system is a huge security risk.
No Support for Windows 7: What Does It Mean?
While devices running on Windows 7 will still continue to function, they will no longer receive the following from Microsoft:
- Technical support for any issues
- Software updates
- Security updates or fixes
Satnam Narang, senior research engineer, Tenable said: “With Microsoft discontinuing support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 on January 14, it is imperative that consumers and businesses take steps to ensure their systems are not vulnerable. In December 2019, Microsoft released fixes for CVE-2019-1458, an elevation of privilege vulnerability that was exploited in the wild. It affects both Windows 7 and Windows 2008 systems. Users of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 who opt not to migrate to newer versions are at risk of being preyed upon by bad actors, leaving them vulnerable to attacks especially since these systems won’t be supported by Microsoft. We strongly encourage consumers and businesses to take stock of what Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 assets remain and make immediate plans for migration.”
Migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10
Microsoft says that the best way to deal with this issue is by experiencing Windows 10 on a new PC. While it is possible to install Windows 10 on an older device, Microsoft says that it is not recommended. The following steps can be taken, according to a blog piece on the Microsoft website:
- Explore the idea of buying a new PC as not only are new modern PCs faster (thanks to solid state drives) and more durable with batteries that last longer, the average price for a great PC is considerably less than it was 5 to 10 years ago.
- Back up old files and photos to OneDrive or an external hard drive.
- Migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10.