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Windows 7 End of LifeThe Windows 7 end of life date is set for January 14, 2020. That’s when Microsoft will quit providing technical support, software updates, and security patches for Windows 7.

Do you have to switch to Windows 10? No, you can keep using the older version if you want, but you should think about making the change because it might benefit you or your business.

Here are some key questions to consider in order to make the right decision:

How Important is Security to You?

Microsoft’s team of programmers is constantly finding security vulnerabilities that need to be fixed during system updates. Once the end of support phase is here, they will quit providing those critical security patches for Windows 7.

Security is important for any computer. Many people are willing to accept a little more risk on their personal devices. But when it comes to a business environment, maximum security across the entire network of computers is crucial.

A single security breach can easily cost an organization thousands and sometimes millions of dollars in direct damage, loss of reputation, and sometimes even lawsuits. Many hackers are fully aware of which operating systems are still being supported and which are not—they often exploit that information.

Windows 10 was designed to be more secure than Windows 7. Microsoft calls Windows 10 “the most secure Windows ever.” If security is one of your main concerns, then upgrading is probably the best option.

What Other Updates Might You Miss?

Aside from security updates, Microsoft regularly rolls out software updates to keep Windows running smoothly. This includes things like adding features to programs, speeding up the software, and overall system optimization.

Once Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7, your computer won’t get these updates anymore. You’ll be using a snapshot of your operating system from that point on, which will eventually make your computer seem sluggish and outdated.

In addition, third party software vendors stop iterating software for end of life versions of Windows. At some point, you may not be able to update or install critical business applications because they no longer support an outdated operating systems. Be sure to check the supported operating systems before updating critical applications. Software updates often start on the server—which could leave you with a downed application if the client software can’t be updated.

Do You Rely on Windows Technical Support?

Many users rely on Microsoft’s technical support team when things go wrong. If you’ve ever contacted Microsoft to resolve Windows 7 issues, you’ll lose that option once support ends.

This will still affect you even if you never contact Microsoft directly. If you use a local vendor for technical support, that vendor will no longer have Microsoft as a resource to help them resolve certain problems with Windows 7.

Would Any of These New Features Make Your Life Easier?

Windows 10 has many new features. Old features have been improved.

For example, Cortana is a digital assistant that helps complete tasks quickly and easily. Cortana is basically Microsoft’s version of tools like Siri and Alexa, but it comes standard in Windows 10 and ready to use out of the box.

You can ask Cortana questions via text or voice, set reminders based on times or locations, make to-do lists, integrate it with various apps, and much more. You can even track your flights like this:

Windows 10 Cortana

Snapping is already a feature in Windows 7, but the Windows 10 version of the snap tool offers a more seamless and intuitive experience. This tool allows you to easily control the layout when you’re working with multiple windows simultaneously.

For example, you can quickly place windows side-by-side in a couple of seconds using the mouse or keyboard shortcuts (in this case, the Windows key plus the arrow keys):

Windows 10 Snapping

Those are just two of the popular features that Windows 10 has to offer. Many users are also excited about the Edge browser, new apps, and more.

What’s Next?

Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to learn more about Windows 10 to see if it’s right for you or your business.

As you can tell from this post, there are many benefits to switching, especially with the Windows 7 end of support date approaching (January 14, 2020). But ultimately you have to figure out what will work best for your situation.

As always, when dealing with operating systems, if you decide to make the shift to Windows 10, be sure to backup all your important documents and data beforehand.

If your computer is more than five years old, you may want to consider buying a new PC.

At Fortis, we offer a wide range of IT support solutions. Contact us if your company needs help migrating to Windows 10.