Windows 7 end of life preparation guide checklist

September 1, 2019

As a business owner or IT manager, you should seriously think about transitioning to Windows 10 because on January 14, 2020, Microsoft will officially end all technical support for Windows 7. This means no more security updates, paid support, and customer service. You can still use the product but at your own risk.

The end of life of an operating system is tough for businesses because upgrading computers is costly and time-consuming. Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), in particular, are most likely to experience some difficulty moving from legacy systems and software since it can be disruptive if not managed correctly. You might also need to spend time and money to train staff on how to use the new operating system. To reduce risks and prepare your employees for the shift, use this checklist:

☐ Create an inventory of your IT infrastructure

Identify machines and systems that need to be upgraded or replaced. Upgrading devices to Windows 10 will entail a couple of requirements. If your Windows 7 machine doesn’t meet them, you won’t be able to run Windows 10.

Consider the following minimum specifications for Windows 10:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 800 x 600 resolution

☐ Come up with a timeline and budget for each upgrade and replacement

As soon as you’ve determined from your inventory which hardware or software needs upgrading or replacing, prioritize the items on your list based on your budget. This will give you an idea if you can meet your deadlines, giving you more wiggle room for adjustments.

☐ Implement security controls to separate upgraded systems from incompatible Windows 7 machines

According to security experts, there are many risks associated with the continued use of Windows 7 after software support ends. To mitigate these risks, keep Windows 7 machines apart from systems you’ve upgraded to Windows 10. If this is not possible, request a temporary security exception but only if the system cannot be upgraded and depending on the data classification level and the amount of data of that type.

☐ Back up your documents

If you’re moving from a Windows machine to a Mac or Linux device, you’ll have to first reformat your hard drive or move to new compatible hardware. Either way, you’ll want to back up data so you can transfer it to your new operating system and devices. You can opt to copy your files to an external hard drive or use a reputable cloud storage service.

☐ Plan training and education resources for employees to learn the new system

Make sure that your employees are aware of your migration plans and are trained to learn the ins and outs of the new system. For example, if there are security updates, your employees should be diligent in knowing how to check and review applications or other software that require critical updates or upgrades.

Switching from Windows 7 to another OS isn’t an easy process, so it’s best to partner with an experienced managed services provider like CloudOrbis. Call us today to learn more about our OS migration services.