Are you still running Windows 7 or Server 2008 in your office? Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 on January 14, 2020. Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that they can focus their investment on supporting newer technologies.
This is a standard part of the Microsoft product life cycle. After January 14, 2020 technical assistance and automatic updates that help protect your PC and Server will no longer be made available for these products. Your systems will no longer have security protection and will be out of compliance for all major security compliance requirements (MA Data Security Law, HIPAA, etc), so it’s extremely important to be aware of this deadline and start the planning process now.
For everyone on a managed service plan with Ekaru, the operating system report is included in your monthly report, so that’s a good starting point to look at which systems will be affected. Many newer systems can be upgraded in place and you don’t need new hardware. Older systems will need to be fully replaced.
As a general rule, if the system is relatively new you can upgrade the operating system in place, so your cost is just the license cost for Windows 10 and a small amount of labor. Our general guideline is that a system less than 3 years old, that has i5 Processor (or better) and solid state drive would fine to upgrade in place. For an older system that has light usage needs it may also make sense to just upgrade the operating system in place. Older systems should just be replaced. In business, after a system is five years old, it's time to replace in general. There's not point in putting more money into an old system, and your business will be held back by the slower performance of an older system.
Note that in the early days of the release of Windows 10, many systems were sold as Windows 10 systems, with "downgrade rights" to Windows 7, so you may be lucky and already have a Windows 10 license. Typically we would start the upgrade and then if a new license key doesn't need to be activated, you will be all set. In our experience, we can typically tell in advance from the Serial Number, but it hasn't been 100%.
Other cost factors to consider are your Microsoft Office licenses and other line of business applications you may have that can't be transferred to a new system, or won't run on Windows 10 (Office will be fine, but some line of business applications may not). We want to work with you on planning to help minimize surprises. You may need to run older applications in "compatibility mode". An "OEM" license for Microsoft Office can never be transferred to a new system, so you would need to purchase a new license, or consider moving to Office 365, and we we would advise you to factor in this cost to the process. Also, note that we can now provide hardware on monthly subscription basis, so this may be a fit for many businesses.
All of these factors are why it's not always just a simple answer as to upgrade in place or replace.
Sometimes there are activation issues with Microsoft licenses, so we generally plan on a window of two hours to do an upgrade in place. Typically the upgrades are much faster than this, but if there are license activation issues and we need to contact Microsoft, it may take longer.
For Server 2008, the system will need to be replaced, or it may be time to consider moving the the cloud.
We’re advising everyone in our community to have a Windows 7 / Server 2008 end-of-life plan in place by June 15.