Complete Webinar Transcript: Windows 7 End of Life Common Questions and Concerns


Adam: Thanks for joining our webinar today. My name is Adam Lee from PEI, a Microsoft Gold Partner servicing customers throughout the United States. This is one of a series of short webinars we are recording on a variety of topics surrounded by buzz around. Today we will be discussing Windows 7 going End of Life on January 14, 2020, and what this means for organizations. We will also talk about Windows 10, migration projects, and things to consider based on our experience.

To help talk more about Windows 7, we thought it’d be best to team up with Microsoft to address major questions we’re hearing from our clients. PEI works hand-in-hand with Microsoft on many major projects to ensure we are providing the right solution for our customers’ needs. We’ve got Kevin Martins here with us today. Kevin is a Partner Technical Architect in the Modern Workplace space at Microsoft. Kevin, thank you for being here today.

Kevin: Thank you for having me on today.

Question 1: What Does End of Life for Windows 7 Really Mean?

Adam: So Kevin, Windows 7 has been around for ages and is now going End of Life. What does all of this really mean?

Kevin: Great question. Windows 7 was launched in late October 2009 in its General Availability format. This version of Windows was launched to replace Windows Vista and quickly outgrew the number of Vista deployments. Within 2.5 years of its original release, Windows 7 grew to more than 630 million systems worldwide. That type of deployment speaks volumes to how well it was received and used by so many people and organizations.

The important point here is that it was released over ten years ago. It was built during a time where computer viruses were not nearly as widespread or sophisticated or polymorphic (constantly changing) as they are today. As with most major systems and applications, Microsoft releases, Windows 7 had a ten-year support cycle where Microsoft provided updates and security patches for it. This support cycle is now ending as Windows 7 has reached its End of Life status on January 14, 2020.

Question 2: What are the Risks of Remaining on Windows 7?

Adam: So Kevin, one of the big questions we are getting from our clients is what the risks are for organizations that are staying on Windows 7?

Kevin: There’s a good number of risks, but let me put it in the simplest terms. If you are not on the latest operating system of anything—your phone, your iPad, your computer, whatever it might be—you’re not receiving the updates. And now you’re at risk. You may receive ransomware; you could get malware. You could get many types of computer infections that Windows 7 was never designed to protect against.

This is similar to your Android phone, or your iPhone. We all receive those notifications to update, and when we do, we go ahead and we update them. We update them not just for the new features, but also to help mitigate any new security risks and vulnerabilities that the vendor has identified. They’re putting these updates out there to protect us as the end user.

Question 3: Why is Windows 10 so Popular and Is it a Good Choice?

Adam:  After Windows 7, Microsoft released Windows 8, then 8.1. But now Windows 10 is out and is there is some serious buzz surrounding it. Why is this Operating system so popular and why should organizations consider upgrading to it from Windows 7?

Kevin: Windows 10 was initially released in October 2014 in public preview status. This meant the public could test out the operating system and provide valuable feedback. Microsoft wanted to make sure they got this new interface right! Almost a year later, in July 2015, Windows 10 was officially released as the next big operating system from Microsoft. By December 2019, there were over 900 million devices running Windows 10 globally. Almost one billion systems!

Windows 10 came with a beautiful new interface, one that was refined by almost a year of that public testing and feedback from a lot of different test users. It also came with the latest security enhancements, prompting many to look closely at it. For example, the US Department of Defense evaluated and determined the new patching and security features in Windows 10 strengthened their cyber security posture so much that they ordered a rapid deployment of Windows 10 to over four million of their systems. This was all within the first year and a half Windows 10 was released.

Organizations today are now migrating to Windows 10 not only for the security benefit, but out of compliance concerns. They need to make sure their security posture complies with HIPPA compliance regulations for the healthcare industry, with the finance compliance concerns of the Sarbanes-Oxley act, and with the European Union’s GDPR privacy regulation. They also want to invest in their employees by giving them the latest technology to work with.

Question 4: What are Common Concerns for a Migration Windows 10?

Adam: Let’s talk about some of the concerns organizations have about a migration project for Windows 10. Tell us what these are and how they can be mitigated.

Kevin: Sure thing, Adam. The key thing organization’s need to remember is that they are not the first to migrate to Windows 10. Like I mentioned, there are now close to one billion systems running Windows 10 who have blazed this trail before them. Microsoft has taken all of this learning and applied it into the migration process to enable success. They want you to migrate and have done a lot to make that process as smooth as possible for your users and your organization.

Some of the more common concerns for Windows 10 Migrations:

I have older applications that are not compatible with newer operating systems. How is that handled?

Microsoft wants to enable you to move forward and has services that are often no cost to help mitigate the compatibility of these applications. This includes older business critical applications made by companies who haven’t existed in years, where the source code is not even available. We’ll help you through that process and get you working on Windows 10.

How will my users be impacted? Is my office going to be shut down for a day?

Most of the migrations are done in an automated fashion. They can be done in the evening and afterhours. So users leave one day with Windows 7 and come back the next day running Windows 10 with all of their applications and data running as before. I am not trying to paint a complete picture of harmony here as there are hiccups—there’s always going to be hiccups with this. But for the most part, this is a smooth transition process that is enabled by all of the learning from the migrations before yours.

Can my current laptops and desktops support the hardware requirements of Windows 10?

Well, yes, there are hardware requirements that must be met for that great user experience on Windows 10. But, systems bought within the past 5 years typically meet these hardware requirements. We should talk about replacing systems older than that, beyond just the supportability of Windows 10.

This sounds like a very manual and expensive project?

Well, not so. Most of the migration efforts on these systems are automated, without any user interaction required. Each machine may take an hour (or more) to complete the upgrade, depending on the system hardware capabilities. To help us prepare for the upgrade, one of the ways we get data about your environment is through the use of Windows Analytics. This valuable data is used to identify existing hardware capabilities and those software incompatibility issues. This is so automated upgrades have a much higher chance of success.

Question 4: How is This Done

Kevin: So Adam, we’ve talked about Windows 7, Windows 10 and some of the common questions people bring to Microsoft for these migration projects. Tell me more about the approach PEI has developed with its customers around this project.

Adam: We have migrated multiple clients to Windows 10 and have the experience to get this done the right way.

We start by talking with you about your business, about your goals, your timelines, discover when your users are least likely to be online, and talk about critical dates for your organization. We try to understand everything needed to help plan out a successful migration.

We then take an automated inventory of all of your systems using the telemetry your Windows 7 systems are already configured to provide.

This data is then analyzed to talk about any upgrade issues that are hardware or possibly software related. Then we get reports on applications that are known to be compatible with Windows 10 as well as those that require some investigation.

Using all of this information, we then develop a project plan with dates, user communications planning, targeted systems. We even work with you to identify your executive team who you may need a little bit more of a white glove experience.

Lastly, we have a full operations team on staff to handle day-two support in case any issues ever arise. As Kevin said, it’s never going to go without hiccups. PEI even offers training options for those who want to learn about what’s new in Windows 10 as well as about any other Microsoft applications that are out there.

This is really what makes our migration process so seamless.

Question 5: What is Next?

Kevin: I love the approach to your projects, Adam. So what is next? Organizations who want to know more about Windows 7 End of Life, more about Windows 10, more about their migration options…what should they do next?

Adam: With all of this in mind, we encourage organizations to simply reach out and contact us for more information. We are happy to schedule a no-cost consulting session with you to discuss your environment, provide some recommendations, and see how we can assist you with this project.

Wrapping this up for today, on behalf of Kevin and I, thank you so much for listening to our webinar and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

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