Windows 7 End of Mainstream Support Looms on the Horizon

If you have yet to upgrade away from Windows XP for some reason, you might want to think twice about upgrading to Windows 7. Microsoft has cautioned users about the end of mainstream support for several of its products within the next six months, and the popular operating system is one of them.

Why should you be concerned, though? You love Windows 7, and it’s a great operating system, to be sure – but like everything else, all good things must come to an end. You want to make sure that your network is in tip-top shape, and you don’t want to take risks when it comes to your business’s security. If you aren’t receiving support, you aren’t receiving patches, and you will be vulnerable to the many dangerous threats that inhabit the Internet. And, after January 13th 2015, Windows 7 just might be a liability for your business.

Types of Support

You might be a bit confused about what “end of mainstream support” means. The truth of the matter is that there are several different types of support that Microsoft offers to users of their products. Here’s a detailed breakdown of them:

  • Mainstream Support: This is the general support offered for around five years after the release of a new operating system or server OS. This is free support, and it provides patches and fixes for vital security flaws.
  • Extended Support: When a product leaves the mainstream support phase, it enters another (generally) five-year period called extended support. Users still receive free security fixes, but other updates require payment and specific licensing deals.
  • End of Support: This is basically when Microsoft cuts the cord, pulls the plug, throws in the towel, drops it like a hot potato, washes its hands, or other equally as awful analogies for “gives up.” End of support means just that – the end of patches and fixes, regardless of whether they have to do with security or not. Though there are occasions where exceptions are made (take the Internet Explorer debacle earlier this year), you shouldn’t count on them happening often. We just experienced this with Windows XP this past spring.

Microsoft Products Reaching End of Support in the Next Six Months

In addition to many products transitioning into the extended support phase, many are reaching end of support as well:

  • Host Integration Server 2004 – Developer, Enterprise, and Standard Editions
  • Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 Standard Edition
  • Systems Management Server 2003, and R2
  • Virtual Server 2005 – Enterprise, Management Pack, R2 Enterprise, R2 Standard, and Standard Editions
  • Visual FoxPro 9.0 Professional Edition
  • Windows CE 5.0

If you are using any of these products, give 4it a call at (305) 278-7100 to begin the server migration process.

For other products reaching their end of support, check out Microsoft’s official statement concerning end of support.

So, Do I Have to Worry About Upgrading Yet?

If you are using Windows 7, the answer to that is probably “no,” but you really should consider the consequences of not upgrading your system before the end of support. Look at Windows XP – how long do you think users were discussing upgrading before actually doing it? Just thinking about doing something doesn’t mean you are going to do it. Take action and call 4it. We’ll help you make the transition to newer, more secure technologies. Call (305) 278-7100 today and enter a new age of technology.

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