Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 How Windows 7's EoL affects you and what you can do about it

 

Your network has been vulnerable for
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What does Windows 7's EoL mean?

After 14th Jan, Windows 7 will stop getting free support and security updates from Microsoft, which means that for any new vulnerability discovered in Windows 7 after 14th Jan, Microsoft will not release a patch. If (when) a new vulnerability is discovered after Jan 14th and the computers within your network are still running Windows 7, it will make your network extremely vulnerable to attacks.

How does this impact you?

Cyber criminals are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities in PCs/networks and running Windows 7 after EoL is synonymous to willingly exposing yourself to attacks. Hence, it is imperative for cyber-aware organizations and individuals running Windows 7 to migrate to higher versions or buy Microsoft's Extended Security Updates.

What if you need to stay with Windows 7 for a considerable amount of time?

If you'll be staying with Windows 7 for a significant amount of time, then it is best that you opt for Microsoft's Extended Security Updates (ESUs). Microsoft will be providing Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 for enterprises/businesses for the next three years - till 2023, at a cost.

Can you upgrade to Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 10?

It isn't mandatory to upgrade to Windows 10, you also have the option to upgrade to the latest version of Windows 8.1. You can opt for this in case the computers within your network don't meet system requirements for Windows 10. However, if your computers do meet the system requirements for Windows 10 you should opt for Windows 10 instead of Windows 8.1 because of the following reasons:

  1. Windows 10 provides better functionality, performance and features than Windows 8.1.
  2. Windows 8.1's EoL will come about earlier than Windows 10's EoL, and you'll again have to migrate to a higher version in a few years.

What are the benefits of migrating to Windows 10?

The benefits of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 are as follows:

  1. Better Security
  2. More features
  3. Better UI
  4. Higher performance
  5. Consistent user experience
  6. Faster-than-ever start up
  7. Access to the Microsoft store

How can you upgrade your Windows 7 computers to Windows 10?

You can upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 primarily by the following methods:

  1. Via OS imaging & deployment: Imaging an existing Windows 10 machine and deploying the image to all the Windows 7 computers in your network.
  2. Via software deployment (deploying a software package): Creating a Windows 10 software package and deploying the package to all the Windows 7 computers in your network.

Pre requisites for upgrading to Windows 10:

The target computers need to meet the following system requirements to be eligible for a WIndows 10 upgrade:

  1. Latest OS: Make sure you're running the latest version—either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
  2. Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  3. RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  4. Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  5. Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  6. Display: 800 x 600

To check whether the computers meet the specified system requirements, you need to create a report using your endpoint/system management solution. You can create filters and conditions and then generate a report. After the report has been generated, it is best for these computers to be added to a group in your endpoint/system management/os deployment solution for easy deployment.

How to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 using OS imaging and deployment:

To upgrade your existing Windows 7 computers to Windows 10 using OS imaging and deployment, follow the steps given below:

  1. Create an image of a computer running Windows 10. It is always recommended to create a hardware-independent image, so that there are no issues while deploying the image to devices from different manufacturers, or to devices having different hardware configurations.
  2. Customize the image: Modern OS imaging and deployment solutions offer varying levels of customization - and it is important to select one that fits your organization's needs. You can customize the image to overwrite existing disk partitions or to create new disk partitions. You can also choose to install software on the target computers after the deployment is complete, using post installation activities.
  3. Select the target computers: Select the target as the list of computers that meet the system requirements.
  4. Deploy the image to the target computers using hardware independent deployment to make the installation as smooth as possible.

How to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 using Software Deployment:

To upgrade your existing Windows 7 computers to Windows 10 using software deployment, follow the steps given below:

  1. Download Windows 10 ISO file from Volume Licensing Service Center or MSDN.
  2. Extract the file and store the components in a network share with read access to everyone in the network.
  3. Create a package with the appropriate silent installation commands/command line arguments.
  4. Specify pre/post deployment activities.
  5. Deploy the package to the list of computers that meet the minimum requirements for Windows 10.

Precautions:

If the Windows version is being upgraded by deploying a software package, you need to ensure that all the versions of the applications currently present in the computers running Windows 7 are compatible with Windows 10. If the applications are not compatible to Windows 10, the computer will automatically roll back to Windows 7 after the next reboot.

Another thing to keep in mind while deploying the package is the command line arguments for silent installation. The command line argument/silent installation switch determines whether the user files, settings and applications will be migrated to Windows 10 or not. So, you need to be careful while creating and deploying the Windows 10 package, since the use of an inaccurate command line argument will result in loss of critical user data.

View this document for steps to deploy Windows 10 using software deployment in Desktop Central.

How Desktop Central helps:

Using Desktop Central, you can upgrade the Windows 7 computers in your network to Windows 10 seamlessly, via both software deployment and OS deployment. Desktop Central's OS deployment & software deployment capabilities offer granular control and customization over the entire process, so that you can tailor fit the deployment to your organization's needs.