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OK, so we know we’ve talked a lot about Microsoft ending support for some of their products recently. (Take a look at our articles focusing on Exchange 2010 and Windows 2008 if you haven’t already.) There’s a very good reason for this, as many of these products are still widely used.

But what’s worrying us even more is that some of them are extremely popular, which means business owners may be reluctant to upgrade. Windows 7, which will reach end of life in January 2020, is one of them. According to BT, Windows 7 was still installed on 44% of desktop PCs as of May 2018, compared with 28% for Windows 10.

Why do people love Windows 7 so much? One reason is that its release was sandwiched between the much-loathed Windows Vista and the even more despised Windows 8. And it stood out like a shining beacon of light between these two duds because it was, quite simply, the best thing since Windows XP.

Windows 7 worked. It was reliable. It was faster and more stable than Vista, with fewer non-essential programmes and a user-friendly interface that was pleasing to the eye. Business owners loved it, with thousands of companies still running it despite the advantages of upgrading to Windows 10.

But did you know that, despite all its bells and whistles, Windows 7 has a naughty little secret? It’s actually just a tuned-up version of Windows Vista. Yes, it’s greatly superior to Vista as noted above. Yet it’s still designed on the same principles as a piece of software that became a standing joke.

In short, Windows 7 is out of date. Yes it was great, but it’s had its day and it’s time to start planning your upgrade now if you’re still running it. We’re not going to dwell on the dangers of running an unsupported operating system here, as we’ve already covered this in the articles linked to above. Suffice to say that you’ll be taking some serious risks if you’re still running Windows 7 in February 2020.

Instead, we’re going to focus on the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10.

  1. Automatic security updates

Unlike older operating systems, Windows 10 doesn’t give you a choice when it comes to installing updates, bug fixes and security patches. It takes the matter out of your hands by asking you to choose a convenient time to install them and, if this is repeatedly postponed, just getting on with it.

If you think back to the chaos caused to the NHS (and many other companies) by WannaCry in 2017 – which could have been avoided if a patch had been installed promptly – this is one of Windows 10’s biggest advantages. You need never worry about installing an update again.

Of course, it’s not always convenient for your computers to shut down whenever they feel like it. But as noted above, the updates can be scheduled for a convenient time – out of hours, for example. And you can disable automatic updates if you really want to, although we wouldn’t recommend this unless we’re managing them on your behalf.

As you’d expect, Windows 10 also offers Microsoft’s latest security features, including Advanced Threat Protection, identity management features and biometric authentication. You won’t find these on previous versions of Windows, so Windows 10 offers the best available protection against cyber threats and data theft.

  1. Access to the latest features

As well as regular security updates, Microsoft also releases one or two updates a year that are designed to improve the performance and the user experience of Windows 10.

A recent one is the Timeline feature, an improvement on the previous Pick Up Where You Left Off tool you might be familiar with. Timeline provides a dashboard which works across multiple open applications and files, so you can keep working on documents, or revisit web pages, opened within the last 30 days across different devices.

  1. Enhanced versions of Windows 7 ‘favourites’

One of the biggest pet hates about Windows 8 was the move away from the traditional Start Menu in favour of tile-like icons and floating menus. Some users even installed specialist applications that returned their PCs to the same look and feel of Windows 7.

Fortunately, Windows 10 has learned from this mistake. The beloved Start Menu is back, with a few enhancements. For example, you can still see the tile-like icons on the right hand side when you open it up, although you can get rid of these if you like. You can also view the menu in full-screen mode, with options for regularly-used apps, File Explorer, Settings and a Search bar.

  1. Compatibility with new and existing applications

As older operating systems and software are phased out, they tend to stop being supported by software providers. So if you keep using Windows 7, you might find that your antivirus and accounting programmes, for example, will no longer run or you won’t be eligible for technical support from your vendors. This won’t be a problem with Windows 10, as you’ll always be running the latest version which, of course, will still be supported.

At the same time, Windows 10 will give you access to a host of programmes you can’t access on earlier systems. For example, Microsoft’s web browsing software, Edge, which has replaced Internet Explorer, will only run on Windows 10. And many of the apps you can purchase from Windows Store won’t work on older versions of the operating system.

  1. ‘Windows as a Service’

Perhaps the biggest departure heralded by Windows 10 is its capability for enabling ‘Windows as a Service’. This means Windows 10 could end up being Microsoft’s last full operating system to be released, with future ‘versions’ simply rolled out as regular updates as explained above.

Whilst this could put an end to the constant round of buying or upgrading to new operating systems manually, a word of caution. It’s not unheard of for Microsoft to change their minds, so we could find these plans get abandoned for something completely different!

Like to discuss upgrading? Contact Jalapeno today!

Jalapeno are on hand to manage your upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, as well as upgrades from any other legacy systems you’re using. To book a FREE systems audit with one of our qualified engineers, simply click here or call us on 01636 681 110. Remember: you need to act now to make sure your upgrade is completed in good time.