Windows 7’s limited future

2020. The 20th year of the third millennium, the 20th year of the 21st century, the first year of the 2020s and the year in which Microsoft officially ends Windows 7 support. The passage of time moves on and all good things must come to an end, for Windows 7 that date is January 14th, 2020.

First introduced in July 2009 and after Microsoft’s missteps with Windows Vista, Windows 7 was seen as a return to form. To say it has been successful is an understatement. The first six months saw 100 million copies sold, rising to 630 million licenses by July 2012.

Despite the introduction of two successors, the less successful Windows 8 and the current Windows 10, its popularity means that as of April 2019, 34% of computers running a Windows operating system were still running Windows 7.

Scary. Around a third of the world’s Window running computers are about to lose official Microsoft support. This doesn’t mean that come January 2020 everyone wakes up to find Windows 7 ceases to work. In fact, unless you’ve been made aware of it, you may not notice anything at all. What it does mean is no more patches for security vulnerabilities which could, in time, leave Windows 7 wide open to attack. A scary proposition for you or me, whilst more malicious hackers and fraudsters will be rubbing their hands together in anticipation.

If you are still running Windows 7 then I think you’ll agree, with six months to go, now is the time to start putting some serious consideration into moving to a more modern operating system such as Windows 10.

Technically most Windows 7 PCs can be upgraded to Windows 10. One purchases the licence and then puts the time in to upgrade the PC.

It is this time that makes it impractical. First a thorough backup is taken, a needed step in case of problems, and with this out of the way the process of upgrading can start. Once complete it is time to tackle the lengthy pitfalls of driver updates and software installations. Most things should work but everything needs to be checked and updated and all the time you’re without a working PC. The end result leaves you with a chunky bill and the latest operating system running on hardware that is often 5+ years old, outdated and due for an update. You are far better putting the cost and time of this exercise towards a new PC.

The pace of technology means any new hardware will be leaps and bounds ahead of your older PC so you need not worry about moving to an inferior system. New hardware, in combination with the operating system, means your PC will be more modern, faster and secure, but importantly, also set to receive security updates for vulnerabilities as they are found.

From a user point-of-view Windows 10 isn’t all too different from Windows 7. All the familiar shortcuts and methods remain but you’ll find new, more intuitive ways to reach your files, a better Start menu and new tools to aid your day.

Some people don’t like change but with our hand forced we will need to embrace it. VCI will be here to take that hand and guide you past the jargon to get to the exciting changes. As with any new VCI installed PC you can rest assured that we spend the time to copy across your bookmarks, files and shortcuts so that when returning to your desk you can hit the ground running. We aim to do as much as we can to aid you in your move and then offer pointers and guidance to show you how anything new works.

“But what about my accounting software?” Good question. We can’t install software if we don’t have the licence or installation media but providing you do we can help. Make sure that is readily available for us when we visit. It would be wise to check the compatibility of any software in use ahead of the installation date. The more niche the software the more important this is and doubly so when upgrading to a newer operating system. Check with software publishers to make sure you’re on the latest version and that those versions won’t face a problem when being run on Windows 10. Unsure? VCI can do the research on your behalf and, assuming the licence allows, even supply the new PC with the latest version of the software pre-installed.

Reading the above and slowly sinking further into the crack at the back of your seat, cringing because you know you’re using the far more aged Windows XP? The above applies to you too. Here a new PC is definitely faster and more secure and of course VCI will help with the move, have no shame in asking us. The only thing you don’t have is the cushion of another 6 months’ support. Windows XP support officially ended 8th April 2014!

That was six years ago and here we are on the doorstep of 2020, a year that once seemed so far in the future. We had promises of flying cars, jetpacks and tiny pre-packaged meals shaped like a pill. None of these have come to fruition (yet!) but recent years have seen lots of exciting advancements. Self-driving cars cruise the roads, virtual reality is now a real and viable thing and we have the ability to watch TV from anywhere thanks to streaming and the likes of Netflix. I know a new version of Windows isn’t the most exciting development but it is a step you need to take. The future is now and if we don’t move on we will never get our jetpacks.