What You Need to Know Before Upgrading Your Operating System

Mike ArvidsonBy: Mike Arvidson

By now, everyone should be aware that Windows XP is an unsupported, unsafe operating system for business and personal use in 2016. Perhaps lesser known is that Windows 7, XP’s rightful heir in many organizations, entered end of mainstream support last year. In fact, all support options for Windows 7 from Microsoft have expired except for extended support — offered through January 2020 — which only offers security updates, pay-per-incident system support, and access to Microsoft’s Knowledge Base resources.

With this in mind, many organizations today need to be considering their OS contingency plan. After all, 2020 is not far off.

Those businesses aiming to be proactive with their OS migration may also be interested to know that Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 expires on July 29, 2016.

Now, not every organization will have access to the free offer; Windows 7 and 8/8.1 Professional editions are eligible, but Enterprise versions are not. Whether or not your business is able to take advantage of the free upgrade depends on your particular Windows licensing agreement. As a general rule, if your business purchases your software licenses as you add PCs, you should have the ability to upgrade for free. If, however, your organization practices volume licensing, you will likely not be eligible. Check out Microsoft’s FAQs resource for more information on upgrade qualifications.

Regardless of if you can upgrade for free, Windows 10 is a practical and proven platform for businesses today, particularly for those organizations already operating on the Windows platform.

There are, of course, key considerations when weighing a move to a new operating system — Windows 10 or otherwise. To help, we’ve compiled our list of the priority questions to be asking internally to ensure your environment is prepared for an upgrade.

Key Considerations

  • Will your current hardware meet or exceed the new operating system requirements?

RESOURCE | Windows 10 Specifications

  • Do your line of business (LOB) applications work on the new OS? Does the vendor for each business-critical application confirm that they will support their application on that operating system?
  • Does your current endpoint protection software — antivirus, et al. — operate on the new system?
  • For Windows 10 upgrades in particular, are there any web based applications you use and do they support Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer 11? Are there any browser plugins that need to be supported by a newer edition of IE?

READ ON for the final three questions to ask before upgrading your business’ OS and gain some helpful tips for moving forward.

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