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How to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10
Published Date : 21 Mar 2019   Last Updated : 04 Jan 2023   Content Ref: NWS6692419  

Latest update - July 2019
We have added a 'Moving to Windows 10' PDF guide (supportnewsletterissue30movingtowindows10.pdf) to the Download section at the bottom of this article. This document is designed to help give you the best possible start when moving to Windows 10 on your network.

Windows 7 extended support ends on 14 January 2020
Windows 7 reaches the end of its supported life on 14 January 2020. Research shows that over 800 millions devices, worldwide (as of March 2019), are now running Windows 10 but there are still over 30% of devices still running Windows 7. We have carried out analysis on a number of our customers' networks and we believe that your estates reflect these numbers. Moving to Windows 10 brings massive benefits in its enhanced security, cloud interoperability and features. Many studies show that the migration to Windows 10 can take quite some time so you should start planning this migration now. Remember, starting late is better than not starting at all.

So what happens after 14 January 2020?
Microsoft will stop releasing Quality updates for Windows 7 in January 2020. This means your computer will be vulnerable to security risks. Windows 7 will still operate but you will stop getting security and feature updates. Anti-virus vendors may also stop delivering virus definition updates. There is an added risk here, as it is well documented that support ends on this date so unethical hackers may take advantage of this leaving your users and your network, more vulnerable to a malicious attack. RM strongly recommends you start to migrate your current Windows 7 estate to Windows 10 as soon as possible.

What are my options?
  1. Rebuild your computers to Windows 10 using the latest available Windows 10 version - after testing.
  2. Upgrade your computers using the Feature update via WSUS (not available if your WSUS service is Windows Server 2008). This process can be unreliable and any existing issues on a device may be carried over to the new operating system. We do not recommend this approach.
  3. Do nothing - very risky given the attack surface of older devices and the fact that they will be even more vulnerable after January 2020. RM do not recommend this approach and will only be able to offer reasonable endeavours support on Windows 7 devices after 14 January 2020 (until the end of December 2020).

There is going to be a considerable overhead on the network management team as you make your transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10. There may also be financial considerations if hardware is not compatible, or does not perform well enough. You should also consider moving from roaming profiles to UEV as you move to a more modern operating system, but this can be done later.

Running Windows 10 on older hardware
Microsoft recommends that when moving to Windows 10, on devices older than three years, you consider purchasing a new device. This makes sense, but we understand that budget constraints in schools will not allow for this approach. At RM, we have been monitoring our Managed Services sites and gathered data to understand if and how, Windows 10 versions work on older hardware. Microsoft say that Windows 10 will run on 99.9% of devices which, in our experience, is true but there may be some performance and drivers issues, especially as you start to add larger packages (e.g. Office or Autocad) or anti-virus products. We recommend you take a pragmatic approach and build one of each flavour of hardware you have and test the functionality, performance and drivers. We also recommend you add well used applications to give you confidence that these older devices work within your minimum expected performance criteria. However, it is worth bearing in mind that these older devices are not supported by OEMs, so we can only offer reasonable endeavours support on older hardware that does not build or perform well on Windows 10. We also recommend you visit the hardware vendors' websites to determine if newer, compatible drivers are available.

What RM Recommends devices are supported on Windows 10?
For information on supported devices, please see: TEC4987985.

What about my applications?

Microsoft have spent a lot of time, effort and care testing applications on Windows 10 and their conclusion is that less than 2% of applications will not work on Windows 10. They have an AppReadiness website where you can check if your application has been tested on Windows 10 and this is available at https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/ready-for-windows#/. If your application is not listed on this site, we recommend you test this by installing it on Windows 10 and then do usability testing.

Will my peripherals work?
If there is a compatible driver available then yes, but if your OEM vendor does not release a Windows 10 driver and the device does not work with generic drivers, it may not. We recommend testing on a Windows 10 build, but we are not aware of a widespread issue with peripherals on Windows 10.

So if I move to Windows 10, should I be testing its rollout?
Yes, we recommend that you run a controlled rollout of Windows 10 across your network. Build a few of each flavour of device, test your hardware, peripherals and applications and then ask your most vociferous of users to test. Once you are happy that all is well, then start to deploy more widely, say to a few well-used labs. Once you are completely happy, you can think of a more widespread deployment.

What version of Windows 10 should I be using?

We recommend using the most up-to-date version of Windows 10 available. On Community Connect 4 (CC4), this is currently Windows 10 build 20H2 (as of Dec 2021). We will release a new Windows 10 WIM file once a year (based on the H2 - previously Fall release) as this has a 30-month support lifecycle (the H1 - or spring - release only has 12 months' support).

Please see article NWS7017655 in the Other Useful Articles section below for updates on the latest version of Windows 10 available for CC4.

Do I need to test everything as I move up versions on Windows 10 builds?
In all probability yes, but this testing should be less than the initial move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Evolution not revolution

Moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 may seem a daunting task, but it is the first step in the move to a more collaborative ecosystem. ICT vision and strategy is getting more and more relevant today as we move to a more cloud-oriented world. Once moved and with the improvements that Microsoft have planned, maintaining Modern Desktop will become a much easier task. You can read more about Microsoft 365 and the Modern Desktop at: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/education/deploy/

What if I don't make the deadline?
There is a possibility that some devices may still be running Windows 7 past the deadline. This is not ideal but we will continue to offer you reasonable endeavours support on these devices until December 2020; at that point all support will end. We recommend you look to replace older, struggling devices with newer, cheaper cloud-ready lightweight devices. We have a range of these devices that work well in an environment where web-books are sufficient for use and work particularly well when data has been migrated to the cloud (One Drive and shared areas). For more information on Microsoft 365 for Education, see: https://products.office.com/en-gb/student/office-in-education.

What does Microsoft say about the end of support of Windows 7?

Microsoft say:

"Microsoft made a commitment to provide ten years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on 22 October 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be 14 January 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your computer will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available."

Please see https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4057281/windows-7-support-will-end-on-january-14-2020 for further information on this.

You mentioned reasonable support for Windows 7 calls, what should I expect when I contact Support?
At RM Education, we will continue to support our customers on Windows 7 on a reasonable endeavours basis up until the end of December 2020, to ensure a smooth transition to a Windows 10 environment. Each call we receive regarding a Windows 7 issue will be treated on its own merit. We will try to help where we can, but the following caveats apply:
  • You may be asked to rebuild your computer to Windows 10.
  • Whilst we are happy to take your call, we are unable to escalate issues beyond Second Line support.
  • Development or validation of CC4 fixes for Windows 7 will not continue past January 2020.
  • Our support for hardware issues will be limited by that provided by vendors.
  • Customers who continue to use Windows 7 past the Microsoft support deadline do so at their own risk.

Will my security be impacted if I continue to use Windows 7 past January 2020?

You can continue to use Windows 7 but, after support has ended, your computer will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Windows will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft.

This means you need to take into consideration your current security and safeguarding program and determine if Windows 7 meets these requirements. Running Windows 7 on older, less secure, hardware will leave you more vulnerable to malicious attacks and data loss due to the attack vector being much larger than that of the modern, secure Windows 10 platform. User safeguarding should also be considered when using Windows 7 past the January 2020 deadline.

What happens if I stay on Windows 7 and my network is infected by a virus?
If you continue to use Windows 7 devices after 14 January 2020 and are unfortunate enough to have a virus or Ransomware infection and require our help to disinfect or rebuild your network, then these services would be chargeable.


FilenameFile SizeDownload
supportnewsletterissue30movingtowindows10.pdf1.53 Mb Download

Other Useful Articles

Moving from Windows Server 2008R2 (NWS6693517)

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Document Keywords: windows 7, upgrade, migrate, rebuild, Windows 10, desktop, win7, win10, NWS6692419

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