06 Mar 2020

Still Using Windows 7? We Have New Reasons Why You Might Want to Upgrade

Ashli LoppNews  

If your business is still using Windows 7, some new research and recent bugs might persuade you to reconsider that decision. Here is what you need to know.

Deciding whether or not to upgrade to Windows 7 can be tough decision for businesses. Upgrades take time and money, especially if a company’s business apps or systems are not compatible with Windows 10. However, some new research and recent bugs might prompt some companies to reconsider their decision to keep using Windows 7, even if they are installing Extended Security Updates on those machines.

 

Research Reveals Some Scary Statistics

In February, Webroot released the “2020 Webroot Threat Report“. This study brings to light some scary statistics for Windows 7 users.

The security researchers found that systems running Windows 7 are nearly three times more likely to get infected with malware compared to their Windows 10 counterparts. Moreover, malware targeting Windows 7 devices increased by 125% in 2019 — which is before the operating system reached the end of its lifecycle on January 14, 2020.

Now that free security updates are no longer available for Windows 7, the researchers expect the amount of malware specifically targeting Window 7 to continue to rise. As a result, any business that is using Windows 7 computers but not patching them with Extended Security Updates will be much more susceptible to cyberattacks.

 

Bugs Are Bothering Windows 7 Users

Less than a month after Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7, two bugs started plaguing Windows 7 users. In mid-January 2020, they started reporting that their computers’ desktop wallpapers were replaced with black images. And a few weeks later, some people found that they could not shut down or restart their Windows 7 machines. Every time they attempted to do so, they would get the message “You don’t have permission to shut down this computer”, even though they had the necessary permissions.

Since Windows 7 has reached the end of its lifecycle, Microsoft is no longer obligated to provide fixes for bugs like these (i.e., patches for non-security issues) — even if users are installing the Extended Security Updates. The Extended Security Updates only patch security issues deemed “critical” or “important” by the Microsoft Security Response Center. They do not include any bug fixes, feature enhancements, or technical support.

As it turns out, Microsoft did release a patch for the wallpaper bug. This gesture was likely due to the fact that the glitch was caused by the last free security update for Windows 7 (Monthly Rollup KB4534310). “After installing KB4534310, your desktop wallpaper might display as black when set to Stretch,” admitted Microsoft. Anyone who wants this patch, though, will need to manually download and install it.

The cause of the bug that prevents people from shutting down or restarting their Windows 7 machines is still unknown at the time of writing. Whether or not Microsoft is planning to create a patch for it is also unknown. As a result, Windows 7 users affected by this bug will need to use a workaround or an unofficial fix for the time being.

 

It Might Be Time to Reconsider

If your business is still using Windows 7 devices, it might be time to revisit whether you want to continue to do so. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting Windows 7 machines, especially those not protected with the Extended Security Updates. Plus, you will likely have to use workarounds and unofficial fixes to deal with new bugs that appear, even if you are installing Extended Security Updates.

We can go over your options if you are leaning toward upgrading your business’s computers to Windows 10. Together, we can develop a migration strategy that makes sense for your company.

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