2020 Signals End of Life for Windows 7 and Other Major Software

2020 Signals End of Life for Windows 7 and Other Major Software

Upgrade now to avoid rush, potential price increases

Most of us can think of a favorite car that provided thousands of miles of reliable driving. For most car owners, though, the day comes when keeping it running properly – by paying the costs for more and more replacement parts, and of course, the labor to install them – isn’t going to be worth it. Returning a 10-year-old car to top shape would still provide nothing better than 10-year-old technology. The same principle here applies to aging computer technology in your business.

In its day, your Windows 7 operating system was the latest, most cutting-edge technology. But in the decade since Microsoft released Windows 7 on July 22, 2009, advances in technology, including software, have made the aged program more obsolete as each year has passed.

“End of Life” Fast Approaching
With that in mind, Microsoft announced more than a year ago that in January 2020 its 10-year-old operating system, Windows 7, will reach its “end of life.” This represents the termination of its “lifecycle,” a span of time the manufacturer has set for the introduction, availability, and discontinuation of one of its products as well as technological support for that product. Dox Electronics supports the manufacturer’s recommendation to upgrade to its Windows 10 platform as soon as possible to avoid issues as the product reaches its end-of-life cycle.

“Every Windows product has a lifecycle," according to the Microsoft website. "The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to update, upgrade or make other changes to your software.”

Not only Microsoft 7 users are affected by end of life software deadlines that are fast approaching. As of Jan. 14, 2020, Windows 2008 and 2008 R2, Exchange 2010, and SBS 2011 will also mark their “end of life” dates. Microsoft Office 2010 will achieve its “end of life” nine months later, as shown in the chart below:

Microsoft Product/EOL Date

Windows 7- 1/14/2020
Windows 2008 & 2008 R2- 1/14/2020
Exchange 2010- 1/14/2020
SBS 2011- 1/14/2020
Office 2010- 10/13/2020

In a similar way, Windows 8.1 will have its “end of life” on Jan. 10, 2023, according to the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet.

So What Does It Really Mean?
“End of life” also means “end of support.” As each software program like Windows 7 reaches its end of life, free updates, upgrades, and support for the OS will start becoming widely unavailable. Anyone wishing to retain their Windows 7 will be required to pay a premium for each device to continue to receive upgrades and support with the cost doubling year after year. In other words, to keep using Windows 7, businesses with multiple computers will have to start paying for technical support separately for each computer.

As Microsoft announced online in Support for Windows 7 is Ending: “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. Your PC will continue to start and run, but Microsoft will no longer provide the following support for your business: No technical support. No software updates. No security updates.”

If you think that sounds ominous, read on to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley’s “How Much Will Staying Patched on Microsoft 7 Cost You? Here’s the Price List,” released in February 2019. She wrote, “Microsoft said last fall that it would offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates on a per-device basis for big customers willing to pay for them after the company ends Windows 7 support on Jan. 14, 2020. Microsoft officials wouldn't talk about how much those updates would cost, beyond saying they'd get more expensive over time.”

The blog went on discussing the real cost of continued Windows 7 updates: “However, Microsoft has briefed some of its partners and salespeople about the cost of these Extended Support Updates (ESUs). And, as you'd expect, they're not cheap, especially for customers who may want to apply them on multiple PCs. They're even more expensive for customers using the Pro version of Windows than the Enterprise one.”

Foley wrote, “Last fall, Microsoft officials said they would provide Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for three years, meaning through January 2023. These will be security patches/fixes like the ones Microsoft is currently providing for free for Windows 7 users, as Windows 7 is still in "Extended" Support through January 14, 2020.”

In other words, if you want to keep making security updates beyond Jan. 14, 2020, you will be required to pay for the extended security updates and those will also end in 2023. Thus, an upgrade is inevitable whether businesses choose to do it now or later.

The Cost of Keeping Windows 7
How much are we talking about? While saying they were unable to get verification of these amounts directly from Microsoft, ZDNet reported what was, “seemingly shared with partners and field salespeople,” that during the first year after “end of life” (January 2020 to January 2021), support for Windows 7 Pro will cost a business $50 per device, or $25 if Windows Enterprise was added to that device. During the second year after “end of life,” that price doubles, to $100 and $50 per device respectively. During the third year, it doubles again, to a sizeable $200 and $100 per device.

Staying on supported platforms is crucial for keeping your systems secure from both old and new vulnerabilities alike. As a result, Dox Electronics advises those on Windows 7 to wait no longer and order upgrades now before IT businesses become buried in an avalanche of upgrade requests in December and January.

Dox also encourages business owners to consider updating their hardware as well. Upgrading hardware will make software upgrades easier and more cost-effective. This is because IT personnel would have to remove the old data and software off of each device, add the new OS such as Windows 10, and then add the data back. This could take roughly four hours for each device and that’s more money you’re paying out to keep old hardware. Plus, you’ll know that your new equipment will have fresh manufacturer’s warranties for peace of mind.

Finally, you will need to consider the time crunch IT companies will come under in December and January as businesses that fail to plan ahead will begin requiring software upgrades. By addressing these upgrades now, you can feel assured that your business will be ahead of the curve and you won’t have to experience downtime or unnecessary security risks while waiting for the upgrades to be installed. Additionally, the closer we get to “end of life” there is a chance that retailers could increase the cost of upgraded software and hardware to benefit from the push so by handling your upgrades now, you could save yourself money.

Proper Management Matters
Once you convert your business computers to Windows 10, Microsoft advises that it is still important to install major version updates to it as well since earlier versions are typically no longer supported after two years. For example, Windows 10 Pro version 1803 support will end on Nov. 12, 2019. If you have any systems stuck on old versions, Dox can help you with an upgrade strategy for those as well.

If you’re ready to save time and money by making the move to a newer operating system and/or upgrade of your business hardware, contact Dox online or call us today at (585) 473-7766. Our IT experts can help make the transition fast and affordable. We even provide regular management to keep your network updated and working flawlessly.