As Windows 7 Dies, Windows 10 Transition Could Prove Tough for Firms

Windows 7 has reached the official end of its support. Companies (and technologists tasked with managing their tech stack) should have seen this coming, but even so… transitions are always hard. Upgrading employees to a new version of an operating system can quickly turn into a most annoying task.

A new version of Windows or macOS, for example, can easily break lots of software programs that were formerly compatible. Even worse, a new OS can cause all sorts of hardware problems—speakers, monitors, and drives may stop working. During these transition periods, an unlucky administrator is often hit with a flood of emails from employees angry over apps and PCs not functioning as they did before.

With Microsoft ending Windows 7 security updates and patches (making it more and more vulnerable to attack), a number of companies that have been putting off a Windows 10 upgrade will need to rush one through. In a 2019 research note, analyst firm IDC said it expects “a sizable amount of last-minute Windows 10 migration projects to be completed this year, especially among SMBs with an aging installed base.” Now that we’re in 2020, have those projects actually been completed?

There’s good reason to think so. In mid-2018, a survey by PolicyPak and found that 26 percent of surveyed companies were in the planning stage of their eventual Windows 10 migration. But as companies increased in size, their readiness for the transition seemed to decrease: Whereas 42 percent of tiny SMBs (i.e., those with fewer than 100 employees) had reached the final phase of the migration process, only 13 percent of companies with 5,000+ employees had done the same.

Those big companies also complained about a variety of challenges, including (but certainly not limited to) unexpected file associations, standardizing elements such as the Start menu, standardization of image deployment, and security. With the deadline passed, those challenges won’t get any easier.

If there’s any sort of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, it’s that Microsoft seems determined to end the massive jumps between Windows versions; with Windows 10, updates will be incremental. That won’t end problems—some Windows 10 updates have wrecked folks’ systems—but it might spare tech pros the utter chaos that often comes with huge migrations onto new OS versions.

Although it hasn’t confirmed as such, history suggests that Microsoft will likely continue specialized Windows 7 support for big companies willing to pay hefty fees. For every other Windows-centric company out there, though, the time to transition to Windows 10 is now, if you haven’t already—unless you plan on jumping to Linux, macOS, or another platform entirely. Time has run out.

14 Responses to “As Windows 7 Dies, Windows 10 Transition Could Prove Tough for Firms”

  1. fmtaylor

    I refuse to do a hardware refresh just because microsoft says so. The current software runs fine on the current hardware. I will run it on an isolated network if necessary. Granted I am getting 15+ years on some systems, and transition them to Linux as necessary. TCO anyone?

  2. Technology is ever-changing and so are the needs of the users that depend on their computers. Either we adapt to these changes or prepare to add more frustration to an already demanding environment.

  3. David Davisson

    Microsoft is forcing a huge budget change in many companies. Many existing platforms running “7” cannot support “10” because of memory restrictions. This is all aside from the software failures associated with the change. Disgusting that a software company can dictate what we can and cannot do in our businesses.

    • Elizabeth

      Windows 7 will continue to work just fine. Security programs like Trend Micro will provide protection. Any bug or vulnerability that Microsoft has not found in ten years is unlikely to be found now.

      I will keep my Windows 7 and enjoy knowing that Microsoft won’t be changing anything on my computer in the middle of the night in the name of security.

  4. Sorry, Dice staff, but this article is the shoddiest you have produced in a long while.

    Firstly, the body of the article and the title are disjoint, and the body is superfluous, and adds little to the topic.

    Secondly, your statements are not borne by facts. For example, you write: “A new version of Windows or MacOS, for example, can easily break lots of software programs that were formerly compatible…..” While this may be (definitely is) true for the WIndows world it is far from reality in the MacOS world; the majority of applications there continue to run after an upgrade. The first time of a MacOS X issue may be now, not being able to upgrade the latest version on a middle 2010 Macbook Pro. That is a 10 years old device!. Equally you can easily install and upgrade Unix, or any of the myriad of Linux distributions, with relative ease. So that declaration of your staff is a broad incorrect generalization.

    So why are companies, small and large, reluctant to upgrade to the “latest and greatest” version of Microsoft product?

    First and foremost, the added features and capabilities of the new version are not sufficient to induce the IT staff to suffer the tremendous pain that a Windows upgrade, company wide (small, medium, or large, does not matter,) would entail. The IT organizations do not trust the purported added security of the new version; they don’t believe and expect that MS has changed or substantially improved their notorious poor QA and attention to cybersecurity during development/release cycle.

    The amount of systems administration hours invested in such an upgrade of Windows has been very high in the past. And, wasn’t it Bill Gates who, when introducing Windows NT to the world promised to his audience of CEOs and CIOs that they could fire all their Unix Systems Admins because Windows NT does not need administration. What a crock of …, but worth tens of billions of dollars.

  5. Kirk Augustin

    What is funny is that Windows 7 worked best before any of those unwanted upgrades forced upon us. Microsoft never fixed any security problems at all because Microsoft is still dependent upon COM and DCOM, which prevent any memory security at all. So this is just a sick joke. Windows 7 is far more secure than Windows 10, and people are foolish to upgrade because of false fear mongering by Microsoft.

  6. When the NSA alerts MS to a zero day vulnerability to MS instead of just using it, all while emphasizing that Microsoft should actually patch this Windows 10 catastrophic vulnerability, then upgrading sounds like a security threat. Why not improve 7 but avoid the bloatware and spyware? Too many customers have problems with Windows 10. I had to roll pcs back and I’m upgrading to Linux on laptops. No one wants Bill Gates’ excuses. They farmed out their workforce to cut costs and increase profits and they’re driving people away in the process. Inferior products get left on the shelves.

  7. I had a personal laptop with factory installed Win 8. I made a gross mistake of upgrading to Win 10 using free offer from MS. Since then my laptop continues to have performance issues. Win 10 has lots of memory and disk intensive processes. I wonder why my disk usage is always at 100%. I have even formatted hard disk and re installed every single piece of software that I needed from scratch. I even took my laptop to a computer mechanic to fix performance problems spending $100 out of my pocket. And no, there are no hardware issues in my laptop. Every single day I face issues with my Win 10 laptop. I wish I had stayed with Win 8, which is yet another blunder by MS but far better than the bloat called Win 10. I am glad there are some happy users with their Win 10. I just recommend XP and Win 7 lovers to stay with your current Win OS or move to Mac/Linux. Never ever install invasive and process intensive Win 10.