Keith Barham: Microsoft support for Windows 7 ending: What it means for you
It’s true, Windows 7 is in its final days. As of Jan. 14, 2020, Microsoft will end all support to the operating system, pulling the plug on Windows 7. While devices with Windows 7 installed will still turn on and continue to run, Microsoft no longer will issue updates for security or optimization, leaving these systems open to possible third-party attacks.
Microsoft is constantly on the lookout for viruses, malware or other threats that exploit vulnerabilities of their systems, proactively issuing updates that prevent said threats from affecting their computers. Currently, Microsoft is issuing these updates for operating systems Windows 7 through 10, but once Jan. 14 hits next year, Microsoft will stop searching for those threats to Windows 7. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that those threats will cease to exist, as hackers and scammers often take advantage of vulnerable or outdated software.
Think of it like a mosquito net, protecting those inside from pesky bugs that can make them ill. Over time, that net will develop holes, which need to be patched in order to keep its occupants safe. Patching might become ineffective because of price or stability, or new nets with better functionality might have come out. The old net might work for a little longer, but those mosquitoes will keep searching for the holes. The best course of action to stay safe and protected would likely be upgrading the net.
Microsoft and those of us here at DeBug Computer recommend updating from Window 7 to Windows 10 before January. This will ensure these devices are protected when support for Windows 7 ends.
There are a few cases where businesses might be required to upgrade to Windows 10 in order to remain compliant. Both the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance rules require that systems are regularly receiving security updates and support, which Windows 7 will no longer do.
So, how can users upgrade? There are certain specifications computer hardware must meet in order to run Windows 10 and its new tools. Older devices should be evaluated to see if they meet the base requirements to install Windows 10.
Incompatible hardware could be updated by a reputable IT services provider in order to bring it up to the required specifications. Additionally, some users may consider purchasing a newer device with Windows 10 pre-installed or creating a custom machine.
Upgrading to Windows 10 doesn’t have to be a complicated process, but it is understandable if some are unsure about using a newer operating system. Talk with an IT service provider to answer questions, weigh the various options and, above all, keep personal information safe.
DeBug Computer has been serving the community for nearly 20 years. With two locations in Carson City and Minden, DeBug provides IT support and consulting services to home users, and dental, medical and business offices.