What Does End of Life for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 Mean for Me?

Hourglass on top of laptop keyboard

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. The clock is ticking. Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 are reaching their end of life (EOL) in less than six months. What does this mean for you as an individual or as a business?

It means that there will be no free security patches and updates released by Microsoft. It means that if you keep using Windows 7 and/or Windows Server 2008/R2, you will be at a huge risk of being exploited by cybercriminals if new vulnerabilities are disclosed. It means your company needs to put in the effort, starting now, for a smooth transition to a supported version of the OS- Windows 10 for desktops and laptops.

The Truth About Extended Security Updates

After a lot of customer insistence, Microsoft is offering Windows Extended Security Updates (ESU) starting in January, 2020, but at a cost. Customers can purchase Windows ESUs on a per-device basis until January 2023. In the first year, January 2020 to January 2021, Windows 7 Enterprise updates will cost $25 per device, in the second year, $50 per device, and in the third year $100 per device. The cost is twice as high for the Windows 7 Professional edition. With the price per device doubling every year, this can quickly get expensive for companies operating a large number of devices. 

The ESU program is also available for Windows Server 2008/R2. The price is about 75% of the on-premises license cost annually.

The Microsoft ESU program provides “important” and “critical” security updates, but not technical support after the EOL date. 

Another option is Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure — learn more in our ebook: Windows 7 End of Life is Coming: Don’t Put Your Business at Risk by Not Migrating.

The Repercussions of Continued Use of Windows 7 

You can continue using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 after January 2020, but at your own risk, unless you pay for extended security updates. The main reason you might do this is because you have a legacy application that won’t run on the new operating system. In this case, you’ll want to minimize the number of devices that you keep on the EOL Windows platform.

Independent software vendors (ISVs) and hardware vendors are also likely to cease support for Windows 7. New hardware might not be compatible with it and manufacturers might not create hardware drivers for your out-of-date operating system. 

Everyday, new software vulnerabilities are uncovered and new malware is created by cybercriminals. Once Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 support ends, you can be sure that hackers will be ready to pounce on any new vulnerabilities that are discovered. Without regular OS updates and patches, you will be at the mercy of the cybercriminals. 

Prepare Now for the Inevitable Migration 

Considering the security risks and potentially high costs involved with staying on an unsupported OS, migrating to the latest version of Windows is the recommended path for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 users.  

  • Replace outdated hardware 

Moving to a new device ensures that you have the latest features with enhanced security and performance. Also, computers that are running Windows 7 are probably several years old and are due for replacement. With the new hardware you will also get the new version of the Windows operating system- Windows 10. 

  • Migrate existing devices to Windows 10 

Migrating Windows 7 computers to Windows 10 is a cost-effective option. Companies can do an “in-place upgrade” for their desktops and laptops in many cases. However, Microsoft warns that there is no direct path to upgrade from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2016 and beyond. First, you will need to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 and then to Windows Server 2016 and so on. Also, some older hardware might not be compatible with the new operating system. So, companies might have to assess which systems to be replaced and which to be migrated.

Are you overwhelmed with the task of migrating hundreds or thousands of devices to Windows 10? Stay ahead of the threats and begin your Windows 10 migration journey today.  

Download our eBook Windows 7 End of Life is Coming: Don’t Put Your Business at Risk by Not Migrating to begin a smooth transition to Windows 10. 

Stay tuned for our next blog “How to Prepare for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Life”. 

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