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Have you wondered how Microsoft’s planned changes to Windows 7 will affect your business yet? If not, it is time you did because Microsoft will be introducing charges for support to continue using the Windows 7 operating system from July 2019. Microsoft has revealed in recent weeks that its extended support could end in July of this year if they users do not install new patches or security upgrades by April, that is, next month.

Microsoft had already announced that it will be ending all support for the Windows 7 operating system from January 2020. Small business owners really need to be aware of these looming deadlines as failure to install the critical updates next month will mean they will be left on their own in July of this year. So here is what you must do, if you use Windows 7 as your operating system in your business and plan on doing so up until next year.

The changes coming in March signal a security upgrade for Windows 7, and this means that Windows updates will only use the SHA-2 hash algorithm to sign and authenticate changes (insuring they have originated directly from Microsoft without interference).

What exactly are these updates:

Currently, OS updates are double-signed using both SHA-1 and SHA-2 algorithms, however, as the first algorithm has some weaknesses, it plans to discontinue it over time and moving entirely, to the second algorithm, SHA-2 after 2020.

The March updates set the cornerstone for this, but the actual switch to SHA-2 won’t take place until July this year. So it is important that businesses get their SHA-2 support in place and carry out the necessary patch updates in March, i.e this month. If you haven’t got SHA-2 support in place by April 2019, then you won’t get any more windows updates which will slow your system down, cause crashes and potentially data loss which would be catastrophic to any business.

As Microsoft has noted, its clients who are still running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1/SP2 must carry out a patch in SHA-2 code signing before July 16th 2019.

Target date for security updates:

You to make sure you don’t miss the different individual security updates taking place in April and introduce the SHA-2 code support. Microsoft has said that it expects March 12th to be the date for the release of SHA-2 Code on Windows 7..

Everything should happen automatically, if you ensure these updates are enabled to take place in April and July.

What happens if you wish to continue using Windows 7 after January 2020 when support is officially being stopped by Microsoft:

It is going to cost you. A lot more than you would pay to use Windows 10. Updates from Microsoft to ensure that Windows 7 operated devices run effectively will be available for a time, but it will be more expensive that upgrading to Windows 10. The cost will also rise over years. So, for support for Windows Enterprise users using Windows 7 from January 2019-January 2021 will cost around €25 per device.

It is worth considering a switch to Windows 10 for this reasons of cost saving and effectiveness. The best laptops this year only operate a Windows 10 system as well. So, if you want to use the best hardware on the market that keeps your business to the forefront of responsiveness, we recommend that you consider using Windows 10 in the long run.

We will be posting in the near future on Windows 10 and how to upgrade to it, the benefits of the switch and how it can help your business. Stay tuned for more updates on Windows 7 and how to manage the transition and upgrading to Windows 10.