The Future of Windows 7

As you may be aware, Microsoft have expectations that everyone running Windows 7 will upgrade to Windows 10 (and some refuseniks are so upset that they are ditching Windows for Linux!). As part of that, Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows 7 from January 2020 which is approximately half a year away.

As such, there will be significant security issues with running a Windows 7 machine on any network (both wired and wireless).

University Build Machines

University build machines that login using Active Directory credentials (i.e. the standard network login username/password) will cease working from the 1st August 2019. There are currently warning banners appearing on logins.

Extensions to this deadline are being granted in exceptional circumstances where the justification is sufficient.

Non-standard Machines

Machines running Windows 7 that do not connect to Active Directory (or specifically pick up a group policy) will not be troubled by the 1st August deadline. However they are very much subject to the January 2020 deadline; after that date Windows 7 machines may very well be removed from the network simply for running Windows 7.

Those still running Windows 7 need to be aware of this, and start making plans for a migration. There are numerous possibilities that include (but are not necessarily limited to) :-

  1. Contacting the vendor of the machine querying about an upgrade path. Many specialised manufacturers will already have upgrade plans in place.
  2. Remove the machine from the network; if the network connection is merely required for convenience, it may be easiest to remove the network connection and rely on USB memory sticks.
  3. Migration to the “legacy” network with severe network restrictions in place; this is a separate network with only permitted traffic allowed through the firewall. Required network traffic will have to be requested, approved and allowed for any network connections to succeed.

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