Almost 10 years ago I initially wrote about Microsoft’s intro- duction of Windows 7 and how
advisors should consider this “new”
operating system for their firm. As a
quick reminder, the predecessor operating system Windows Vista was not very
successful and many firms were waiting for a good reason to upgrade from
Windows XP. A lot has changed over the
years and now we are just months away
from the end of support for Windows 7.
Specifically, Jan. 14, 2020.
To be clear, end of support does not
mean any computer running Windows
7 will no longer operate; It will continue
to work. However, it will not be supported by Microsoft, which means that
it will no longer receive new software or
This is a big deal. Remember the
WannaCry ransomware virus from several years ago? This attack primarily targeted Windows operating systems that
were not updated to the recent version, which was mostly devices that
were running the no-longer-supported
Windows XP operating system.
Chances are you have some computers that are running the Windows 7
operating system, especially given its
widely successful adoption and stability,
as well as the length of time advisors
tend to hold on to devices. In fact, it
wasn’t until last year that Windows 10
surpassed Windows 7 in market share,
based on data from Net Applications.
MIND THE GAP
Bottom line: In today’s technology envi-
ronment, you don’t want to have any
“gaps” in your technology. This is espe-
cially critical when it comes to security
and support for your operating systems
and your firm’s overall network.
Microsoft has an “end of life” website to help customers understand the
options for replacing Windows 7. Simply
search “Windows 7 end of life,” and the
website will be one of the first results.
Your internal and/or external IT support
should know it well. Other “retail” type
support items are available on it as well.
Windows 10 is the current version of
Microsoft’s operating system. The easiest way to upgrade to Windows 10 is to
simply purchase a new device running the
operating system and essentially “retire”
the old Windows 7 computer. This is
what Microsoft clearly recommends on
its website. This might not be the most
cost-effective approach in terms of actual dollars spent, but it is likely the best
approach when you factor in all variables
(effort, time, etc.). Also, if you donate or
recycle the old computer, remember to
remove all the information on the device.
You also could purchase Windows
10 by itself and upgrade the current
device running Windows 7. Costs for the
Windows 10 Home edition is approxi-
mately $140 and the Windows 10 Pro edi-
tion is around $200. This seems like an
easy solution, but it comes with a warn-
ing: Be sure to review the system require-
ments for Windows 10 to ensure your
device meets the minimum standards.
And if you go this route, recognize that
Windows 10 likely will operate slower
on the same device versus your experi-
ence with Windows 7. Finally, expect the
upgrade process to take a couple hours,
and always remember to back-up all
important files prior to starting the work.
You also need to remember that some
employees that access company resources use their own devices as well. Find out
if any of these devices have Windows 7 as
their operating system as you don’t want
to go through the effort of upgrading all
of your firm’s operating systems only to
discover that an employee-owned device
still is running Windows 7.
Perhaps some changes are needed
as it relates to the use of employee-owned devices. Or at a minimum,
schedule an employee training session
to make sure that everyone understands the importance of keeping personal devices up to date from a version
and security perspective.
Goodbye Windows 7. You were a solid
performer. Now you can retire.
Dan Skiles is the president of Shareholders
Service Group in San Diego. He can be reached
THE TECHNOLOGY COACH
By Dan Skiles
Coming Soon: Windows 7 End of Life
With Microsoft support ending on a much used operating system, advisors
need to know next steps — especially for security.