Windows 10 Migration
Microsoft Ending Support of Windows 7
Switch to Windows 10 by Jan. 2020 to Protect Security & HIPAA Compliance
Microsoft has announced that it is ending its support of the Windows 7 operating system (OS) effective Jan. 14, 2020. After that date, Microsoft will no longer offer technical support of the OS and will no longer release system or security updates for Windows 7.
This does not mean that that your computers running Windows 7 will cease to operate after Jan, 14; but the elimination of support for the OS does have several major ramifications:
- Microsoft will no longer offer security patches (updates) for the OS, although many third-party software vendors will continue to offer anti-virus/anti-malware suites that support Windows 7.
- Microsoft will no longer issue system updates that eliminate bugs, improve functionality and reduce software conflicts.
- Many software vendors will no longer develop or update software in support of Windows 7.
Microsoft End of Support Schedule
| Microsoft Product
|| End of Support Date
| Windows 7
|| January 14, 2020
| Windows 7 Server Pack 1
|| January 14, 2020
| Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
|| January 14, 2020
| SQL Server 2008 SP4
|| July 9, 2019
| Office 2010
|| October 13, 2020
Why Not Updating to Windows 10 is NOT an Option
Without ongoing security patches from Microsoft, Windows 10 will become increasingly vulnerable to security threats, such as external attacks, viruses and malware. Microsoft has so far issued close to 800 security patches for Windows 7 over its lifespan, and when those patches stop, your risk will increase exponentially. Windows 7 will eventually become an insecure OS full of known security holes that Microsoft won’t fix.
The attacks mounted against Windows XP users after support ended for that OS in 2014 are a good predictor that adversaries will step up attacks on Windows 7 users after Jan. 14, as they will increasingly become more attractive targets.
Legal and Compliance Issues
Running Windows 7 after Jan. 14 could violate security and privacy safeguards for HIPPA and PCI DSS. HIPAA requires devices that handle PHI (Protected Health Information) to be capable of receiving security patches, and Windows 7 devices won’t meet that requirement after Jan. 14.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. PCI DSS 6.2 requires that “all system components and software must be protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches within one month of release.”
After Jan. 14, 2020, the legal and financial liability for attacks on Windows 7 systems will shift to the owners of those computers — the financial institutions and retailers (pharmacies) that decide not to adhere to industry security risk standards.
What You Need to Do
- Review the age, capabilities and operating systems of all your equipment. You probably already have an inventory of equipment for tax/depreciation purposes that shows cost, brand, model and date of purchase, but you will need more information to address your Windows 10 upgrade path. If you pay someone to maintain and support your pharmacy’s computer network, they should have this information.
To compile the technical information yourself, click the Start (Windows) Button or press the Windows key + R to bring up the run dialog box. Type "dxdiag" and enter. The resulting screen will display your operating system and build version, computer processor and speed (in Ghz), amount of RAM (memory) and other information. The screen should look like this:
You will also need to determine your hard disk capacity. In Windows 7 and earlier versions, you can access My Computer (Computer) by double-clicking the icon on the desktop. Or, open the Start menu, and select “My Computer” or “Computer,” depending on the version of Windows you're using. Look for the highlighted horizontal bar “OS: C” and you will see your total disk/drive capacity and how much is being used. Write down both.
- Determine which computers might need to be replaced when you migrate to Windows 10. Consult with your IT contractor — if you have one — for recommendations as well. Although the minimum requirements to run Windows 10 are low, just meeting these requirements does not guarantee acceptable performance in a modern, busy pharmacy.
You should strongly consider replacing a Windows 7 computer if it:
- Is >5 five years old & has an Intel i3 or similar AMD processor running at less than 2 Ghz;
- Has a hard drive that is near capacity (more than 90% full);
- Has less that 4Gb of RAM; or
- Is noticeably slower than your other network machines.
NOTE: Acceptable replacement computers don’t have to be pricey new models; check our information on refurbished computers for guidance on safe, lower-cost options.
- Decide how you want to handle the migration of your equipment to Windows 10. This can be a complicated or relatively simple endeavor depending on the number of computers you have that must be upgraded and the complexity of your network. We recommend that you strongly consider professional IT assistance in your migration to Windows 10 if:
- Your point of Sale (POS) computer needs to be replaced or updated to Windows 10;
- You have a robotic system and/or security system that interfaces with your pharmacy computer network; or
- You are replacing a large number of computers in your network and migrating to Windows 10 at the same time.
An IT professional who is a certified Microsoft software reseller may also be able to offer you a better rate for upgrading multiple machines to Windows 10.
Upgrade Path to Windows 10
A full-retail version of Windows 10 — available from $180 to $200 online — allows you to install and reinstall the OS on the same machine, plus install it on a new machine when you replace the original. This is what most people needing to upgrade from Windows 7 should purchase.
An OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) License for Windows 10 is intended for purchase by those licensed to build and rebuild computers they sell to a third party. OEM versions are available online for a third less than the retail version. The OEM software will install fine and won't know that you are not an authorized builder. We don't endorse this course of action; just be aware that you can purchase OEM licenses for older computers that you plan to replace within a couple of years. Also understand that there is no free Microsoft technical support for OEM software.
Keep an eye open for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales after Thanksgiving this year -- last year, the full retail version of Windows 10 professional was offered for as little as $120!