Time to do a bit of spring cleaning
♫ r Won’t you open a window sometime?
What’s so wrong with the light?... ♫
– Music and Lyrics by J. Morrison, J. P. Densmore,
R. D Manzarek, R. A Krieger, recorded by The Doors
At the time of writing this, people are drawing New Year’s resolutions for 2019. For 35.55% of you running Windows (according to Wikipedia), I have a resolution for you: to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 in 2019. Time (and Microsoft) waits for no one – Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015, and extended support will end on January 14, 2020 (users of Professional and Enterprise editions of Windows 7 can pay for the Extended Security Updates service extending Windows 7 to January 14, 2023). Otherwise, users must upgrade to Windows 10 to be covered by Microsoft’s updates and patches.
Why should you care? After all, your computers are still running. Here’s why: loss of mainstream support means no longer receiving security updates for bugs that emerge, or receiving updates and design changes. Once extended support expires, new features are not added, and the operating system does not receive security updates. That means your Windows 7 systems will become more and more vulnerable to cyberthreats as new threats emerge but are not patched.
Microsoft Germany states (translated from the German): “Windows 7 is based on outdated security architectures. Three years before the end of the support, in particular, corporate customers should be able to deal with the change to a modern operating system in good time. Companies and users who are still on Windows 7 in three years with their sensitive data are facing enormous dangers. Already today, virtually every company has to expect cyber attacks, 51% of all German companies were already victims of such attacks.”
Windows 10 comes with a number of integrated security features that are not in earlier versions of Windows.
Furthermore, Windows 7 machines may not be able to run the latest software or legacy software upgrades. Peripheral device manufacturers (such as printer manufacturers) may not be issuing drivers for Windows 7 – rendering such peripherals useless.
Another consideration: your existing computers may not be able to be upgraded to Windows 10. System requirements are set out here, but in a nutshell you need at least a 1 gigahertz (“GHz”) or faster processor or System on a Chip (“SoC”); 1 gigabyte (“GB”) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit RAM and a DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver graphics card. If not, the easiest option is then to purchase a new computer with Windows 10 pre-installed and transfer over your data and software. Of course, your existing software may also need to be upgraded to Windows 10 versions (legacy software may create a problem here).
One bit of good news: Microsoft offered a free upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1 that supposedly ended in July 2016. However, ZDNet reports that the upgrade process offered by Microsoft is indeed still accessible as the Microsoft page (Download Windows 10 is still live. It is a good legal question as to whether installing Windows 10 using this page results in a valid digital licence to Windows 10 since the offer has clearly expired, notwithstanding that the download page still exists. To remain legally on-side, you may be required to purchase a new licence for Windows 10.
All this implies that this New Year’s resolution is one that should be tackled early, as you may be facing hardware, software and expense issues. Perhaps it is time to open a new window – after all, what’s so wrong with the light.
The views expressed herein are strictly those of David Bilinsky and do not reflect the opinions of the Law Society of British Columbia, CBABC, or their respective members.
David J. Bilinsky is the Practice Management Advisor for the Law Society of British Columbia
(presently on leave).