Going, going, gone. Microsoft announces Win7 End of Life

Another Microsoft upgrade cycle has been announced. From January 14th, 2020 the Windows 7 operating system will reach End of Life (EOL). We know a lot of you will be affected (as well as us) with Windows 7 being such a popular platform across the automation world. Windows 10 is the natural successor to Win7. It is another solid platform and we are already working with customers on migration projects.

The key shift from next mid-January is that Microsoft will no longer provide free support, upgrades or security updates for PCs running Windows 7. Companies still wishing to continue using Windows 7 for a little longer will have an option to pay Microsoft for extended support for up to 3 years. Early indications suggest a cost of around $350 per device but this only delays the point at which PCs running Windows 7 will be more open to increasing security risks and in need of updates.

Cyber Risks in 2020

With the world ever more dependent on technology, cybersecurity is a vital consideration for everyone. This is particularly true for business where the impact of a cyber-attack could be potentially devastating. Furthermore, a key way that malware can infect a system is through older software which is not fully supported with security updates and which also deteriorates over time. It’s worth mentioning that the volume and type of cyber threat is ever-growing. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in today.

Over the next few months, while Windows 7 is still fully supported by Microsoft, Denca would encourage customers to prepare their systems (if they haven’t already done so) by putting plans in place to upgrade their Win7 platforms.

Denca has already carried out work on several customers sites to upgrade existing SCADA systems running Windows 7 to Windows 10. These projects ran smoothly with few unexpected issues. However, our experience is that any compatibility problems are more likely to be with connected equipment rather than the PLC itself. It is important that the specification of linked equipment must be identified and the capability and compatibility with Windows 10 checked and verified before any upgrade is made.  Typical examples include, for example, firmware on robots, cameras and other sensors and actuators.

Denca is here to help and assist. Our core range of skills and services of design, software development, instrumentation, control panel build, install and importantly testing and commissioning are all available to help customers get their upgrades operating perfectly.

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