Microsoft issues Windows 7 warning … But is it just a scare tactic?

If you happened to check Microsoft’s German news page this morning, you’d be in for a big surprise: Apparently, running Windows 7 is no longer safe. 

That was the message that was put out by the head of Windows at Microsoft Germany, according to several news outlets. In a post that’s currently unavailable, the German wing of Microsoft advised users that Windows 7 “does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments.”

The post cited its “long outdated security architecture” in addition to operating costs as reasons that IT pros and users alike should move to Windows 10 as soon as possible.

Moment of honesty?

Is there actually reason for alarm? It’s difficult to say.

It’s possible that Microsoft feels Windows 7 is currently unable to handle business demands securely. It’s also certainly possible that one Microsoft employee hit “publish” on a bit too strongly worded post.

And there’s no doubt that businesses should think about upgrading to Windows 10 in the near future. The January 14, 2020 end-of-life date is approaching, and businesses and Microsoft alike don’t want another Windows XP situation where so many companies failed to (or didn’t want to) transition out in time to have a replacement in place by the deadline.

(Some companies and organizations are still paying to keep XP supported.)

On the other hand, Microsoft has been giving the hard sell with Windows 10, in some cases resulting in users downloading the newer operating system without realizing it. So it may be that this is just the latest in a series of moves designed to get companies to upgrade sooner than later.

Why (and how) to get started

Regardless of whether you feel the need to immediately upgrade, chances are you have at least a few PCs still running on Windows 7. And those devices will need to brought to a more secure operating system in the next couple of years.

In fact, almost 50% of Windows devices are running Windows 7, approximately double those on Windows 10.

So the important next steps should include:

  • Making a plan. Have a rough time schedule for when and how you’d like to transition to newer versions. Include who will be given priority and how the decision will be arrived at.
  • Check with current vendors. Find out if your apps and services that are on Windows 7 should be Windows 10 compatible.
  • Test everything. Don’t take a vendor’s word for it. Be sure to test every conceivable thing to be sure that it’s actually able to run and run smoothly on Windows 10.
  • Talk to the top. The Windows 7 deadline for end-of-life is probably on your radar, but it may not be on everyone’s. So make sure the top brass knows you’re staring down this project and that they may need to get on board with it sooner than later.

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