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End of support for Windows 7

On 14 January 2020, after 10 years, support for Windows 7 will finally end. The operating system is still very often used in private and professional environments. In the future, security updates will no longer be made available, security gaps will no longer be closed and there will be no support for technical problems. The further use of Windows 7 is also no longer responsible for data protection reasons.

Why is Microsoft terminating support for Windows 7?

Microsoft released Windows 7 in October 2009, and the end of support will take place after 10 years of support January 14, 2020. According to official statements from Microsoft, current investments are focused on new technologies and applications. In an interview with Handelsblatt, Microsoft explained: "In order to ensure the highest level of security and up-to-date functionality, every Windows version has a clearly defined life cycle, which we make transparent to our customers. There have already been no new features within Windows 7 for five years, and technical support as well as software updates will also end from January 14, 2020. Nevertheless, every third PC user is still supposed to work with Windows 7.

What data protection risks arise?

Although Windows 7 can still be used, the risks for the data protection and IT security. In the worst case, so-called malicious code can be installed on the computer if it is connected to the Internet. This enables third parties to access all data on the end device. This also includes content such as passwords, online banking or e-mails with confidential content.

External Data Protection Officer

You are welcome to contact us as external data protection officer (DPO) order. We also offer individual consulting services as well as audits and will be happy to provide you with a non-binding offer. You can find more information about our external data protection officers on our website.

How should companies deal with the update?

For companies, the changeover to Windows 10 is problematic, as software developed specifically for the company often has to be adapted to the new operating system. For this reason, Microsoft offers companies technical support for up to three years with the "Extended Security Update" program, which is subject to a fee. However, companies pay extra for this for each computer and must also deal with the switch to Windows 10 in the future.

What should private users do now?

Microsoft strongly recommends to switch to Windows 10. With the launch of Windows 8 and Windows 10, Microsoft offered Windows 7 users a free upgrade to the two higher versions. Although the official period for the free upgrade has already expired, Windows 7 users can still upgrade free of charge with the Windows Update Assistant. The Windows Update Assistant also checks your computer to see if the new operating system can be installed. For customers with older PC models, it may also be worthwhile to purchase a new model. Windows automatically includes the latest version of Windows.

Caroline Schwabe
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