Still using Windows 7? After ten years of operations, Microsoft is ending support service for this operating system on January 14, 2020. That date is less than five months away, so here is what you should know about the end of service of Windows 7 and your options for upgrading.
As hardware and software age and evolve, older systems are replaced even if they continue to work well. Why? After multiple versions are released, the support system can no longer manage old legacy systems, as newer versions replace the old models.
After January 14, Microsoft will no longer provide updates or support for PCs running Windows 7. Users will stop receiving feature updates, bug fixes, and most importantly, security updates. If you continue to use Windows 7 after support has ended, your PC will still work, but it may become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. However, there are a few options worth considering:
Microsoft Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU)
Users who want to stick with Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise can pay Microsoft for extended support until 2023 thanks to the Extended Security Updates program.
But this is not cheap: for Windows 7 Pro computers, it will cost up to $450 for all three years of support. This is more expensive than a Windows 10 license and is only for users or vessels who can’t upgrade yet for whatever reason. And chip manufacturers like Intel and AMD will no longer make hardware compatible with Windows 7.
Switch to another platform
Perhaps you have had enough of Windows and Microsoft and are ready to take your business elsewhere. Changing your OS to MacOS, Chrome, or Linux is possible, but not very cost effective, as the learning curve to switch to the new platform can be time-consuming. That said, the modern versions of Linux are now much more user-friendly and mimic many of the functions in Windows 10.
It is also important to note that if you switch to MacOS, you are also buying new Apple computers to run this system. There are extremely complicated work-arounds to run MacOS on a PC, but that path is for the serious hobbyist with more time than sense on their hands.
Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro or upgrade your computer to a new model
Most machines running Windows 7 are already a few years old. It may be time to consider increasing your computing power and speed by replacing your laptop, desktop or server with a newer, more powerful model. All machines provided by GCS already have Windows 10 Pro installed.
While upgrading your computer is the most effective way to get Windows 10 Pro and the best investment, the quickest resolution is to upgrade your existing computer to Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Pro comes with built-in security features, including firewall and internet protections to help safeguard against viruses, malware, and ransomware. And if you are concerned about allowing Microsoft unfettered access to your system, there are ways to minimize the encroachment of privacy from Microsoft, and delay mandatory updates until absolutely necessary, so they don’t interrupt daily usage.
To upgrade your existing machine to Windows 10 Pro, it must meet these minimum requirements:
Processor: 1 GHz or faster compatible processor
Memory: 1GB RAM for 32-bit; 2GB for 64-bit
Hard Disk Space: Up to 20GB available hard disk space
Video Card: 800 x 600 screen resolution or higher. DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM drive
Connectivity: Internet access
Other Reqs: Microsoft account required for some features
However, these are only Microsoft “minimums” to run Windows 10. In the reality of on-board usage, and to fully benefit from the Win10 environment, we recommend 4GB of RAM as a minimum and 8GB RAM preferred. Same for HD space – you can get by with 20GB, for a day or two, then by day three your Hard Disk will be full and you’ll be complaining about how everything takes forever to load. GCS recommends a minimum of 128GB HD and preferably 256GB to allow for the inevitable data growth that occurs with downloads, documents email et cetera – no one ever needs less space, always more.
Don’t wait until January to upgrade your systems. Contact GCS for a hardware assessment and upgrade to Windows 10. Our Remote IT Support staff are ready to assist your vessel in maintaining the best hardware and software for your network.