As of January 14, 2020, Windows 7 has reach End of Support. This means Microsoft is no longer offering technical assistance or software updates to devices running Windows 7. This of course leaves your devices more vulnerable to malicious attacks and virus threats if you’re running this OS.
You can pay Microsoft for up to three years of extended support, but that IT bandage is not very sticky at this point. Truly, if your organization still relies on Windows 7 in some capacity, it is time to turn the corner and get a plan for moving those last devices to an OS and hardware that reduces risk and maintains productivity. This last push from the legacy OS, might not happen overnight, your business still needs to function well, and SmartDeploy has some strategies to help.
You may not need to upgrade your OS right away
If you have Windows 7 devices that are not internet facing, your risk of a successful malicious attack is greatly reduced. You can probably just keep those business-critical, Windows 7 only apps going and going. Keep using SmartDeploy to re-image them ongoing and manage them like you do today.
The real problem here though is hardware, not software. Devices created to run Windows 7 are aging, not being manufactured anymore and if they fail, replacement options are minimal. Getting an old OS to run on modern hardware can be at best difficult and more commonly, not possible. Certainly, Intel tried to sunset Windows 7 with Kaby Lake generation processors years ago.
Work on compatibility
Business-critical, specialized applications designed for Windows 7 may not work on Windows 10 and therefore organizations have yet to migrate those machines. Investigate alternative products or vendors to create similar software that meets the organization’s needs and takes advantage of modern computing standards.
In some cases, these are custom applications that can be expensive as well as time-consuming to create or update. Start in on alternatives and options while paying into extended support from Microsoft so that you’re not running that OS when even your last-ditch, extended support option expires.
You can use SmartDeploy in the meantime to deliver additional patches that Microsoft releases during the extended support timeline as well.
Replace the hardware, save the data
When the time finally comes to power off those Windows 7 devices for the last time, use SmartDeploy to migrate to the new device.
SmartDeploy has the option to migrate the user data from the old device, to the new one as part of setting up the new device. This can setup to be automated, zero-touch for a simple IT management experience. Pre-configure an answer file with a guided UI, making it easy to customize the deployments. OS migrations can also be performed on-prem or by leveraging 3rd party cloud storage providers over the internet – perfect for remote site, branch office, and home users where onsite IT isn’t an option.
SmartDeploy makes it easy to maintain business continuity. Whether you need to stay on Windows 7 a little longer or are ready to move on, organizations are free to work the way they need and have the solution in place to tackle the technical implications. Regardless if you need to limp those last few devices on Windows 7 or are rolling out newer but various types of hardware, running different versions of Windows 10, SmartDeploy ensures deployments happen consistently and reliably.
Schedule a one-on-one product tour of SmartDeploy today and see how it can help in your Windows environment.
UPDATE: As of September 10, 2020, SmartDeploy no longer supports the deployment of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.