WINDOWS 7 ALERT
Microsoft Ceases Free Security Updates for
Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010
How will this affect you as a user?
Microsoft has discontinued its free support for Windows 7 and Office 2010. The same goes for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, which also ends today, January 14, 2020. While these programs will continue to run on your computer, your system will be vulnerable to new malware and security threats. Experts are urging all organizations and individuals using Windows 7 to upgrade to Windows 10.
“Continued use of Windows 7 or any other unsupported software leaves an organization more vulnerable. While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10.” – Microsoft.
Windows 7 remains very popular
Windows 7 remains a popular system, making up about one-third of all operating systems. It was first introduced in 2009, following XP and Vista and quickly became one of Microsoft’s most popular operating systems. Even as it comes to an end, Windows 7 stands a close second to Windows 10. Cybersecurity experts recommend not using Windows 7 system to access sensitive information as of today. “We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts. The risk is not just that you will be running software that is no longer supported by Microsoft, but third-party applications may also not support running on Windows 7 in the future.”
Top 10 Most-Used Operating Systems
According to NetMarketShare, these were the top 10 operating systems it saw being used in the world:
- Windows 10: 48%
- Windows 7: 33%
- Mac OS X 10.14: 5%
- Windows 8.1: 4%
- Windows XP: 2%
- Mac OS X 10.13: 2%
- Linux: 1%
- Mac OS X 10.12: 0.9%
- Mac OS X 10.15: 0.8%
- Windows 8: 0.7%
Why is this important in Healthcare?
As a Personal Health Information (PHI) Custodian or Health Care Facility (HCF), you are required to secure your clients’ PHI. The continued use of Windows 7 and Office 2010 beyond today could leave your PHI vulnerable to cybercriminals. Even worse, you could potentially wake up one day and find your clients’ information posted on social media. A breach of this magnitude could have devastating impacts on you and your business.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
What are your options for replacing Windows 7?
There are only two options to consider:
- Upgrade your operating system to Windows 10
- Purchase a new computer (which comes with Windows 10)
Upgrading to Windows 10 operating system
Upgrading to Windows 10 is the only upgrade option. Here are some considerations. First, Windows 10 may run on your existing computer saving you the cost of a new system. Second, it has a different look and feel to Windows 7 and may have a learning curve. Third, it will run all of the existing programs on your current Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft recommends some minimum hardware requirements to successfully run Windows 10.
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC.
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.
- Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
Here is the rule that I would recommend: If your existing computer meets the recommended system requirements for Windows 10 and you do not wish to invest in a new computer, you may upgrade to Windows 10. This Microsoft’s Windows 10 Upgrade Advisor will help you to assess your system for compatibility with Windows 7.
What are your options for Office 2010 replacement?
“You wouldn’t use a 10-year old mobile phone or digital camera, so why would you want to use an out-of-date version of Office?”
Office 2010 users have several options: Office 2013, 2016 or 2019. I would recommend an upgrade to 2016, with a preference for 2019. The learning curve on either option is about the same. Office 2019 costs a bit more but has several advantages. Read this blog from Gartner and this one from Techrepublic.com for more insights.
Office 2019 will not be supported on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, despite those operating systems being expected to remain in use until 2020 and 2023 respectively.
Engage your Tech Support
This Blog is not intended to cover all of the available scenarios or provide technical advice but more so to alert you of the change and some of the options available. You should not hesitate to engage your Tech Support Company or person, who will be in a better position to provide you with great advice.