Microsoft will stop providing mainstream support for the Windows 7 operating system on January 14, 2020. From that day on, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows 7. Companies that remain on Windows 7 will instantly become non-compliant and subject to cyber-attacks from the list of common Windows 7 vulnerabilities.
Cyber-threats are everywhere and more prevalent than they were 10 years ago. Hackers are also savvier, launching more sophisticated cyber-attacks. In addition, your Microsoft or 3rd party applications will soon become unsupported on Windows 7, leaving them impossible to run until you upgrade the OS.
What are my options?
- Buy a new device with Windows 10 Pro
- Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro by purchasing Windows 10 Pro
- Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro by purchasing Microsoft 365 Business
Option 1 - Buy a new device with Windows 10 Pro
If you're on Windows 7 or even Windows 8.1, then you probably have an old laptop. Considering Windows 10 Pro is $199.99 on Amazon, it may be best to use that money towards a new computer.
Option 2 - Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro by purchasing Windows 10 Pro
For those not ready to buy new hardware, then you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro by purchasing it on Amazon. Make sure your PC meets the minimum hardware requirements and be aware that some of the Windows 10 features such as BitLocker (hardware encryption) and Miracast (wireless content sharing), and many others have additional requirements. To learn more, have a look at this article.
As a best practice, we also recommend you back up your personal files to OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud-based storage system. Here are some tips on how you can transfer your files.
Option 3 - Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro by purchasing Microsoft 365 Business
Assuming your business is already subscribed to Office 365, you can actually upgrade from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro by upgrading to Microsoft 365 Business. Microsoft 365 Business is Microsoft's newest offering, which combines Office 365, Windows 10 Pro, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (cybersecurity defense features) for $20 per month/user.
Beware of the Four Windows 10 versions
Disclaimer, you should know there are 4 commercial versions of Windows 10: Home, Professional, Enterprise E3, and Enterprise E5. If you are using your PC for work, then you need Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise E3, or Enterprise E5.
Windows 10 Home
If you're on Windows 10 Home, then you'll have one hell of a time migrating your email to Office 365, you won't have the ability to use Single-Sign-On (SSO), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Windows Information Protection, device management, group policy, assigned access, support for Azure Active Directory and much more.
Windows 10 Pro
This OS version is the standard bread and butter for businesses. Windows 10 Pro allows IT departments use Azure Active Directory Join, Microsoft Intune for device management, Remote Desktop, and creating shared devices. Not to mention being able to use Windows Autopilot for on-boarding and Windows Hello for signing in.
Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5
Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 are actually ‘additional services’ that sit on top of Windows 10 Pro. In other words to have Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5, you must first be running Windows 10 Pro on your machine.
Windows 10 Enterprise aims at delivering:
- Intelligent security, to protect your business proactively with advanced security powered by cloud intelligence.
- Simplified updates with tools IT pros trust and give them freedom to drive more business value.
- Flexible management with comprehensive device management on your terms that supports users on-premises, in the cloud, or both.
- Enhanced productivity with an intuitive user experience and built-in tools and features
It enables additional functionality such as:
- Multi-session Windows 10 with Windows Virtual Desktop
- Zero touch deployment with Windows Autopilot
- Upgrade efficiently with Desktop Analytics
Windows 10 Enterprise is sold as a software subscription through Microsoft reseller partners. It is also bundled with Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 for commercial users and Microsoft A3 and A5 for Education.