Almost 10 years ago I initially wrote about Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 7 and how advisors should consider this “new” operating system for their firm. As a quick reminder, the predecessor operating system Windows Vista was not very successful and many firms were waiting for a good reason to upgrade from Windows XP. A lot has changed over the years and now we are just months away from the end of support for Windows 7. Specifically, Jan. 14, 2020.
To be clear, end of support does not mean any computer running Windows 7 will no longer operate; It will continue to work. However, it will not be supported by Microsoft, which means that it will no longer receive new software or security updates.
This is a big deal. Remember the WannaCry ransomware virus from several years ago? This attack primarily targeted Windows operating systems that were not updated to the recent version, which was mostly devices that were running the no-longer-supported Windows XP operating system.
Chances are you have some computers that are running the Windows 7 operating system, especially given its widely successful adoption and stability, as well as the length of time advisors tend to hold on to devices. In fact, it wasn’t until last year that Windows 10 surpassed Windows 7 in market share, based on data from Net Applications.
Mind the Gap
Bottom line: In today’s technology environment, you don’t want to have any “gaps” in your technology. This is especially critical when it comes to security and support for your operating systems and your firm’s overall network.
Microsoft has an “end of life” website to help customers understand the options for replacing Windows 7. Simply search “Windows 7 end of life,” and the website will be one of the first results. Your internal and/or external IT support should know it well. Other “retail” type support items are available on it as well.