• RMK Consulting Staff

Microsoft warns businesses, Migrate Away from Windows 7 Sooner than later!

Windows 7's extended support ends on January 14, 2020. The operating system left mainstream support in 2014, meaning that for the last two years—and next three—it only receives security fixes. But Microsoft is telling corporate customers that even with those security updates, the 2009 operating system isn't really cut out for the world of today. According to Redmond, enterprises should plan to move to Windows 10 sooner, rather than later.

The reason, according to Markus Nitschke, head of Windows at Microsoft Germany, is that Windows 7 "does not meet the requirements of modern systems, nor the security requirements of IT departments."

There are two elements to this. Companies buying new hardware using Intel's Skylake or Kaby Lake processors have little choice but to use Windows 10. Installation and driver support for Windows 7 and 8.1 is limited to certain systems since changes in the Skylake platform, such as the integrated USB 3 controllers and processor-controlled power management, aren't supported in Windows 7. PC OEMs can still make the older operating system work, but it requires extra effort on their part. AMD's new Ryzen processors and Windows machines built using the Qualcomm 835 processor will similarly need Windows 10.

With so many companies holding onto their PCs for so long, that may not be a big reason to drop the older operating system. This is where security comes in. Windows 10 includes a wide range of security improvements that aren't found in Windows 7: stronger built-in biometrics with Windows Hello, cloud-based threat analytics with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, built-in sandboxing with AppContainer (used for Store apps, the Edge browser, and certain aspects of font-handling), virtualization-based security to protect against certain kinds of credential theft, and much more. The value of these improvements is not that they address individual security flaws, rather they make whole classes of flaw harder to exploit, protecting the operating system against both known and unknown threats. Microsoft argues that it is these systemic, architectural protections that mean corporations should adopt Windows 10 over Windows 7.

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