As Microsoft have ended product support for Windows 7, we discuss what this means for charities and consider life after Windows 7.
Things change. That’s just the way it is. Change is growth and movement and progress. Microsoft, like all of the tech giants developing software and advancing new solutions, have ceased their support for Windows 7. As this chapter of the Windows operating system product ends, we turn the page and contemplate life after Windows 7.
Microsoft wrapped up their support for Windows 7 on 14 January. They pledged 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was launched back in 2009. They have stopped support to pivot their energy and investment in newer tech breakouts for customers. This does mean that technical help, security updates and software updates that protect your machine are no longer available. Customers using Windows 7 are strongly advised to get Windows 10 to avoid being left unable to access support.
The latest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 10 provides the latest security updates to keep you and your data protected. Services related to Windows 7 will also be phased out. Most Windows 7 users are advised to upgrade to a new device with Windows 10 as some Win 7 devices may not be compatible or might get reduced features. If you continue to use Windows 7, your PC will work but it will miss out on security updates, leaving you vulnerable to risks and viruses.
Do you have questions about upgrading to Windows 10? Learn more here.
What does this mean for charities?
We reported that all Microsoft products have an expiry date. Running expired products essentially means you are using unsupported software that is no longer receiving important updates. The risk to charities includes cyber security as criminals are constantly updating their attacks and finding ways to get around security measures provided by tech giants such as Microsoft. Missing security updates on expired software leaves charities vulnerable to cyber attacks including exploitation and data theft. Security updates are crucial to fix and protect against such vulnerability.
If your charity holds or processes personal data, GDPR requires you to implement appropriate security measures to protect that data as a legal minimum. Under GDPR, any organisation facing a breach of personal data can be fined up to 20m Euros or 4% of their annual turnover. In this situation, charities can keep running current Windows 7 software, or you can move up to Windows 10. You can also change everything and switch to a totally different environment such as Apple.
All new Microsoft machines come with Windows 10 and that is likely to remain the case. Microsoft has altered the way it delivers Windows by moving to a ‘Windows as a service’ model, essentially no new versions of Windows operating systems but instead just regular updates to Windows 10 which automatically download from the Microsoft servers.
It may not be realistic or feasible for all charities to go out and buy new kit so we did a bit of digging for our readers. Existing devices can be upgraded IF they meet these system requirements:
Processor: 1GHz process or faster
Memory: 1GB of RAM for a 32-bit installation and 2GB of RAM for a 64-bit installation
Hard Disk Space: Up to 20GB of space
Graphics Card: A DirectX 9 graphics chip
Display: 1024 x 600 or above
Connectivity: Internet access
Help from Charity Digital Exchange
For charities that have been using Windows 7 for a long time, this might feel like saying goodbye to an old friend, or, like a breath of fresh air for the possibilities of a faster, more intuitive operating system. Here at Charity Digital Exchange, we are offering help with accessing Windows 10. Don’t despair, we can help and you don’t need to be Neo from the Matrix or a whizz-bang techie to do it. With a wholescale change from one operating system to a newer one, there is plenty of help out there. You can chat with a local IT supplier for assistance as many are happy to help charities at a discount or even for free.