Every piece of hardware and software that you use has a life cycle, which is largely defined by the manufacturer’s customer support system. These manufacturers commit to supporting their products for a specific amount of time. Eventually, life cycles end and products will no longer receive any updates or any customer support. Such is the case with Windows 7.
After a 10-year run, Microsoft is finally ending updates and support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Any hardware or software no longer supported by the manufacturer should be replaced as soon as possible. So to avoid security risks and malware, users should switch to Windows 10. This begs the question, should you also change your computer to accommodate the new operating system (OS)? Here are three options to consider.
Option 1: Use your existing PC to upgrade to Windows 10
Before shifting to Windows 10, you have to check if your PC can handle the new OS. Below are its minimum hardware requirements:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display: 800×600
If your PC can handle these specs, then you can directly upgrade it to Windows 10. However, take note that these are just the bare minimum specs just to get Windows 10 running on a computer. They don’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll have a good user experience. Most computers running Windows 7 are at least several years old, so they’re likely too old to work with Windows 10. While it’s tempting to use a computer until it dies, eventually it will become too slow or its processor will give out, which could cause costly downtime and massive productivity losses.
The average lifespan of a PC is around three years. Laptops have an even shorter lifespan of two to three years since their mobile nature makes them more susceptible to wear and tear. Although many computers can still remain operational beyond their projected lifespan, the accumulation of files, software, and updates takes a toll on the hardware.
For example, over time, a desktop’s cooling unit sucks in dust, clogs up vents, and limits circulation. This will eventually lead to poor performance in preventing the CPU from overheating, which will then wear out your computer’s internal components and affect overall performance.
If your computer is still fairly new, then this option might still work out for you. Just remember that all PCs have an expiry date and it’s best practice to replace all hardware devices before they reach the end of their life cycles. Failing to properly manage technology life cycles will not only negatively impact your bottom line, but will also make you vulnerable to cyberattacks.
In our experience, we have seen problems with hardware incompatibilities and driver issues that cause the number of hours to perform an upgrade balloon upgrading from a previous operating system.
Option 2: Upgrade the components of your existing PC, then upgrade to Windows 10
Those who are out to get a good return on investment (ROI) on their computers might opt to upgrade a few components such as RAM, processor, and motherboard on their computers to enable them to run Windows 10. But upgrading your PC can be quite complicated (and expensive, if you change the motherboard), and there’s only so much you can upgrade before it becomes easier and more cost-effective to just buy a new PC.
The easiest way to figure out whether you should replace your computer is by weighing the costs. If the cost required to upgrade existing hardware this way reaches 66% of the price of a new computer, then you should opt for a new one.
Option 3: Buy a new computer with Windows 10
For most Windows 7 users, the best path forward is to move to a new device with Windows 10. This will provide you with a better experience than with a machine that’s been upgraded. It will also allow you to take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities — PCs today are faster, more lightweight yet powerful, and more secure. On top of that, you don’t need to break the bank to get decent computers. Their average price is much lower than that of the average PC eight years ago.
The most cost-effective approach in the long run is to purchase premium-priced PCs. They come with high-performing, durable, and energy-efficient components so that you can use Windows 10 efficiently.
Worried about the upcoming Windows 7 end of support? Partner with Leverage IT. When you work with us, we’ll help you transition to Windows 10 and properly manage your technologies’ life cycles to maximize productivity and keep your bottom line healthy. Contact us today.