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The countdown has begun, the very popular version of Windows, Windows 7 will soon be officially, End of Life come January 2020. This is when the extended support will end. This will have knock-on effects for businesses both large and small in the short and long term.

What is Extended Support?

Windows products such as their operating systems for both Desktop and Server environments have Mainstream Support and Extended Support. I will touch on Mainstream Support later, but for now, let us concentrate on Extended Support. What is it?

After Mainstream Support ends, Extended Support takes over, Microsft for the length of the Extended Support will continue to apply bug fixes and security patches to the software. This is all part of the Windows Life-Cycle.

Windows Life-Cycle.

This Microsoft policy states that every version of Windows will ideally have an active lifespan of roughly 10 years from the first release to the end of support. This is usually split into 2, 5-year segments, listed under Mainstream Support and Extended Support. Mainstream Support classifies the time from the initial release of the product. During this time Microsoft will actively make changes and enhancements to the product, alongside bug fixes and security patches. Once this section ends, the Extended Support timeline begins, offering as previously mentioned, solely bug fixes and security patches for a further 5 years. After Exended Support ends for a product, it is officially End of Life in the eyes of Microsoft.

The Changes.

Below is a list I have put together of the most common and/or popular Microsoft products that are officially going End of Life in 2020.

  • Windows 7 – Extended Support ends on 14th January 2020
  • Windows Server 2008 – Extended Support ends on 14th January 2020
  • Exchange Server 2010 – Extended Support ends on 14th January 2020
  • Hyper-V Server 2008 – Extended Support ends on 14th January 2020
  • SQL Server 2014 – Support ends on 14th January 2020
  • Visual Studio 2017 – Support ends on 14th January 2020
  • Internet Explorer 10 – Support ends on 31st January 2020
  • Microsoft Office 2010 – Support ends on 13th October 2020

What does that mean for you?

In short, if your business uses any of the above Microsoft products, you could be at risk. Once the Extended Support ends at the various times next year, using these will be a detriment to your business. When Microsoft pulls the plug, you will no longer receive security patches and bug fixes. What does that mean for you? Each device running these products are potentially entry points for hackers and the like. A massive issue for your cyber-security.

Hackers could exploit a specific weakness that would no longer be repaired by Microsoft. Viruses might sneak through the new gaps left in your armour. I’m sure you understand if these kind of actions were to happen to your business, the risk of outages and data loss is exponential.

How DNA IT can help.

If you are reading this prior to the 14th January 2020, you are the lucky ones. Why? This is because you still have time to protect yourselves for the future. If you start acting now, and prepare yourselves for the changes in 2020, you can spread out the costs of replacing or upgrading the systems.

In an ideal situation, your business doesn’t use any of the soon to be End of Life products. If this is the case, great, you guys and gals don’t need to worry. You can continue on with your working lives, safe in the knowledge that you are fully prepared.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses out there won’t be in this position. I was at a business networking meeting the other morning, and I mentioned the looming End of Life date, a member laughed. She couldn’t believe that people would still use Windows 7. “It’s well old.”

If your business falls into the latter category, do not panic, we can help.

The first step to rid yourself of the potential risks would be to perform a very quick audit on your equipment and products used. Your aim would be to gather the following information:

  • Specification of equipment
  • Operating System Used
  • Software Used

The reason that you need this information is you can comfortably put a plan in place, knowing what needs doing. Here is an example of how you would use this information:


Your business currently has 10 desktop PCs and 1 server. The server is running Windows Server 2008 but the hardware has recently been upgraded. The 10 desktop PCs are split down into 3 categories, 5 or brand new machines running Windows 10. 3 of the PCs are very old, running Windows 7. The remaining 2 PCs are running Windows 7 but they were bought only a year or so ago, refurbished models that came with Windows 7, rather than Windows 8 or 10.

The above scenario is very basic description of potential businesses out there. Below is how we would recommned you acted in this situation.


The server is more than powerful enough to still be used, unfortunately it is running Windows Server 2008. Simply back-up the server data, and install a new version of Windows Server such as the 2016 version, before moving the data back.

The 5 Windows 10 desktop PCs do not need to be touched.

The 2 refurbished PCs do not need to be replaced, following the same process as the server, back-up any data. Uprade the operating system to Windows 10.

The 3 old PCs are probably too old to warrant upgrading the hardware and then upgrading to Windows 10. In this situation I would then recommend purchasing new replacement PCs that come with Windows 10.

Things to consider.

The above solution would effectively solve any potential problems that might arise with the operating systems of your equipment. This could be spread across a period of time, to reduce the impact of the cost involved. The total cost of this project would be totally dependent on your current situation.

Once you have resolved the operating systems issues, you will need to look into the software used, to see if any used are going end of life, simply replacing them with newer updated versions will suffice. However, there is a chance that you might have some specific tailored software to your business, that for whatever reason might only work on Windows 7. You would need to speak to the provider to see if there is a different version avaialble, or you might have to look for an alternative solution that is comaptible with newer versions of Windows.

In Conclusion.

  • Perform the audit sooner rather than later.
  • Act upon the results of the audit straight away, to spread the cost and time.
  • Speak with professionals to get expert advice on the direction to head.
  • We are offering a FREE audit service to help you and your business get ready for the End of Life dates next year.