End of Support for Windows 7 – what to do
In an ideal world when Microsoft ends its support for a piece of software, users should upgrade to a new version.
But for SMEs this can be a headache, especially if their current PC or laptop does not have the capacity to cope smoothly with Windows 10, which is much more space hungry than Windows 7.
Plus, if you buy a new machine there is the problem of transferring crucial documents and other data, especially if it is material that is being used all the time.
Obviously, it is important to have back-ups of data, preferably in more than one location such as in cloud storage and on an external hard drive.
It may be possible to increase the capacity of existing machines by having a SSD (Solid State Drive) installed to replace the current Hard Drive.
But if cash flow or time issues mean you either can’t spare the machine or replace it there are some ways to stay at least reasonably safe in the short term. It will still run.
However, without the regular Windows 7 security updates, cyber experts advise your machine will be more vulnerable to hackers.
They advise that you do not use internet banking or send emails on Windows 7 machines and try to use other, more secure devices.
Businesses with large numbers of computers can, however, buy Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESS), which will be available for Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise at £19 per device for the first year, doubling each year thereafter until the end date of 2023.
The ESS is not available to smaller businesses with only a few devices, however, so while you may be able to take the risk of continuing to use existing Windows 7 devices for a while ultimately upgrading is the only solution.