Did You Know? Microsoft Stops Supporting Windows 7 in 2020 

By Keenan Harward

On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7.  Microsoft only supports each version of Windows for so long. Windows 7 is currently in “extended support” until January 14, 2020. What does this mean for you?

When Microsoft stops supporting a version of Windows, Microsoft stops issuing security updates for that operating system. For example, even if substantial security holes are found, Windows Vista and Windows XP no longer receive security updates. The same will be the case for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Why be concerned?  If a huge security hole is found that affects Windows 7, Microsoft won’t issue a security update to repair it. You’re on your own.

What about Anti-virus tools and security software?  These tools are great when working hand in hand with Microsoft’s security updates, but these tools are never perfect on their own. Running software with the latest security updates is important, too. Antivirus software and even security programs will gradually drop support for Windows 7.

Granted, Microsoft will keep making security updates for Windows 7, even though they will not be publicly available. Large organizations can sign “custom support” contracts to keep getting security updates for a period while they transition to a new operating system. The cost of this extended support increases going forward to encourage those organizations to move to a new, supported version of Windows.

Third-party software and hardware companies will take their cue from Microsoft and they will stop supporting Windows 7 with their own software and hardware, too.  It is very costly for companies to support multiple operating systems, having to create drivers or software to be compatible with not one but two or three different versions of Windows.

As with Windows XP, it may take a few years, but third-party software will eventually drop support for Windows 7 after the end of support date.

New hardware components and peripherals, like printers or digital cameras, may not be compatible with your system in the very near future. These need hardware drivers, and manufacturers might not create those hardware drivers for your old, out-of-date operating system.

Sure, you can keep using your old operating system with your current software and hardware, but you have no guarantees of future updates or compatibility, but most importantly, your security.

If you are still running Windows 7, it is highly recommended you plan to have all systems upgraded to Windows 10 before year end.  Waiting, while saving money, could cost you more in the long run due to downtime, system corruption, virus infection or worst yet, your system could be compromised, and your data stolen.

Do you have a plan in place? Contact your Technology Support team and ask them if you will be ready for Windows 7 End Of Life on January 14.

Keenan Harward:  Information Technology Consultant and IT Project Manager with NetCarolina.  With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology, Keenan has advised Legal and Financial Professionals of North and South Carolina. (kharward@netcarolina.com)