Operating systems are constantly changing and evolving to keep up with technology. As nice as it would be for systems to never change, this isn’t an option so long as technology continues to advance at such a rapid pace. Out-dated operating systems such as the beloved Windows 7, may still be functional but leave your company vulnerable. It is inherently risky to continue running Windows 7 and much safer to migrate to Windows 10 before it is too late.
Why is Windows 7 Such a Popular Operating System?
Windows 7, released in 2009, took the world by storm, replacing the wildly unpopular Windows Vista. Users appreciated the fast and efficient running of applications as well as useful features such as the ability to pin items to the taskbar, windows snap, and the robust start menu. Many companies chose to stay with Windows 7, even when Windows 8 came out, due to the fact that users weren’t nearly as impressed with its successor. With the release of Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft finally gave users a product that has become even more popular than the infamous Windows 7 operating system. However, companies are so satisfied with Windows 7 that 43 percent of businesses are still utilizing this operating system and have yet to migrate to Windows 10. You might be surprised to find out that an astounding 33 percent of large enterprises with over 100,000 machines are still operating with Windows 7!
As tempting as it is to abide by the saying, “if it’s broke don’t fix it,” there are inherent dangers to staying with Windows 7. However, with the support of Windows 7 coming to an end, it is more important now than ever that companies prepare to transition to Windows 10 before support for Windows 7 ceases to exist. The great news is that companies can still transition to Windows 10 smoothly and in a cost-effective manner.
Why Is It Dangerous to Stay With Windows 7?
On the surface, Windows 7 may seem to be operating just fine for your business. However, due to the out-dated technology, there is a myriad of dangers lurking beneath the surface. For starters, the security is not up to par with today’s requirements. This means your system is vulnerable to hacks, malicious malware, viruses, and unauthorized use. According to Forbes, businesses still using Windows 7 will experience higher operating costs due to compatibility issues down the road. There will come a time that Windows 7 will no longer be a viable option.
Mainstream support for Windows 7 actually ended in 2015, at which time it entered the extended support phase. This meant that Microsoft still made security patches and fixed existing issues but would not add any new features. However, Microsoft has announced that all support for Windows 7 will end come January 2020. What does this mean for users? It means that your business’s system is now vulnerable to security threats, viruses, cyber-attacks, and much more because Microsoft will no longer be releasing software updates for Windows 7. There will no longer be any support for the system.
What are the Factors that Hold Businesses Back from Migrating to Windows 10?
Changing your business’s operating system is a big change and not one to be taken lightly. Understandably, there are numerous reasons companies procrastinate on updating their operating system. The first tends to be the cost of migrating to Windows 10. However, businesses need to look at exiting Windows 7 and migrating to Windows 10 as a long-term investment into their business that will make a return.
The second reason is the comfort of Windows 7. Your employees understand how Windows 7 works, apps and software have been downloaded, and settings have been adjusted to fit your company’s needs to a tee. Users understand how to complete tasks quickly and efficiently on Windows 7 and can be resistant to learning a new operating system that could potentially slow them down.
The third reason is compatibility. You may worry that the software and programs your company uses aren’t compatible with Windows 10. Although you will have to verify compatibility, developers understand that their programs will not be bought if they aren’t compatible with the most popular operating systems. Chances are great that the programs you need are still compatible with Windows 10. If you happen to be using legacy software or other programs that are not compatible, there are chances tweaks can be made to the installation routine to make it compatible with Windows 10.
The fourth reason is a lack of understanding. Many users view software updates as annoying pop-ups that they can live without. They don’t understand the value of updates, which is understandable because the updates and security fixes happen behind the scenes and are typically not a part of the user experience. This means they either do not update their current system or do not understand why keeping an outdated system is harmful. It is believed that so long as everything is working fine, that everything is fine. This is certainly not the case.
The Benefits of Migrating to Windows 10
As much as you and your employees may love Windows 7, there are substantial benefits to making the transition to Windows 10. The most important benefit is security. Microsoft offers support for Windows 10, which means you will receive software updates that include security patches to reduce the chances of any type of cyber-attack. This is especially important when keeping sensitive data and information that needs to stay secure.
The benefit you will notice immediately is speed. Windows 7 was fast for its time, but Windows 10 is even faster! Microsoft reduced the Windows 10 startup time by removing all unnecessary functions and bloatware. Users will also notice that applications and functions respond much quicker in Windows 10. This makes for a more enjoyable user experience, as well as the ability to complete tasks more efficiently.
Increased functionality is a third benefit of migrating to Windows 10. If you missed the start button, you aren’t alone. While Windows 10 does not offer the traditional start button list, it does offer a start button that opens into a tiled list. This is a nice compromise between the confusing tiles in Windows 8 and the original and more familiar start button in earlier versions of Windows. Users can also choose between interacting with Windows 10 in the traditional manner, with a mouse and keyboard, or a touch screen! The versatility is extremely useful for designers, engineers, and architects as well as those who enjoy and are well-adapted to the touch screen features of smartphones and tablets.
How Businesses Can Prepare for a Smooth Transition
The transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 doesn’t have to be a difficult one. There are things your business can do to help make the operating system migration easier. First, compile a list of all machines that needed to be upgraded to Windows 10. Next, take a look at all software and programs. Application compatibility is one of the top concerns in terms of successful application migration. Make sure they are compatible with Windows 10. If you are using certain out-dated programs that will not be compatible, consider updating this technology as well. If updating is not an option and the installation route can not be reconfigured, you may have to choose select machines to remove from the migration to Windows 10 in order to keep these programs. Third, set a time-frame for complete migration and keep employees informed of impending changes.
It might seem tempting to transition your entire company at one time. However, you should ease into the transition and start with just one or two machines. This allows your IT crew to work out any kinks, identify unforeseen compatibility issues, and make sure the system is ready to go live. Transitioning your entire company at one time only to find out that there are unanticipated snags, can make for frustrated employees, and lost hours at work.
Don’t throw your employees to the wolves. Hold as many training sessions as needed throughout the process to make sure everyone understands how Windows 10 works and how to complete tasks needed for their respective jobs. Make sure you have ongoing IT support after complete migration to help with employee and training and sudden issues that may arise.
Although there are inherent risks concerning software and application compatibility when migrating to Windows 10, it is far safer than sticking with Windows 7 and leaving your company vulnerable to cyber-attacks that could have devastating effects on your business, and cost you a fortune!
Readiness is the leader in Windows 7 migration. Our IT professionals offer an innovative approach that reduces your organization’s risk by eliminating the typical investment of dedicated hardware, database servers, backup systems, and specialized outsourced consultants. Contact Readiness today for a free trial or more information!
Director of Marketing
Eric Embacher founded cloud pioneer and insurance technology company Symbility Solutions in 2002, which was taken public in 2004 and now has over 60,000 active users globally. Since leaving Symbility he has worked as a digital marketer in various industries, joining Application Readiness in 2017.