As I mentioned in my 2019 EUC predictions, it’s crunch time for Windows 10 migrations. Enterprise adoption ticked over 50% in October, and as of today, we only have one more year until the Windows 7 end of life, on January 14, 2020.
(...Unless you’re on Windows 8.1, in which case you have until January 10, 2023. But if used 8.1, you either had a Surface or you’re the adventurous type, and probably went to 10 right away.) (Also, I have to mention that this is the second Windows migration since I’ve been a full-time writer here, and this sure makes me feel old!)
Anyway, we know the drill. A lot of desktop teams are going to be busy getting down to business this year, possibly pusing other EUC projects off for a while; and the folks that will try to stay on Windows 7 have to figure out a way to stay supported and secure.
Windows 10 migration has already been covered extensively, both here at BrianMadden.com and in the rest of the IT world, so there’s nothing new in particular to say about it today. However, I’ll mention that in rereading old XP to 7 migration articles, I noticed a lot of commentators saying they would just try to ride Windows 7 as close to the end as possible, so there’s another reason why companies waited.
Now, what if you absolutely need to go beyond the Windows 7 end of life?
When XP EOL’d, we wrote several articles about the security implications, extended support costs, and various ways to keep going with it. Plenty of XP machines lived on, and we all get a kick out of glimpsing them in the wild, often in kiosks, digital signage, and point-of-sale terminals in mom-and-pop businesses. And indeed, we saw Microsoft issue a several patches for Windows XP, for example, there was an Internet Explorer patch right after the EOL in 2014, and a patch in 2017 in the wake of WannaCry. Having said that, the “XPocalypse” didn’t turn out to be terrible.
For the Windows 7 end of life, the interesting thing is that you can keep on running it in Windows Virtual Desktop, and Microsoft will provide three more years of support for free. (WVD is basically free since it comes with so many Windows and Microsoft 365 SKUs.)
Hopefully the apps you need to support will work in a virtualized environment (this might not be the case for some industrial machinery control software), but this certainly is a lot better than the options we had with XP. Plus, with Windows 7 is running in WVD, Microsoft will be able to keep a close watch on it.
Of course, there will be plenty of folks that just try to do their best to lock down or isolate their unsupported machines after the Windows 7 end of life, or turn to alternatives like ReactOS.
Again, we have one more year until January 14, 2020. How are you doing? Are you migrated and happy? Migrated and cursing Windows 10? Just getting started? Or will you be running Windows 7 workloads on January 15, 2020? Let us know in the comments.