Windows 7 EOL (End of Life) | Parallels Insights

Windows 7 EOL: All Good Things Must Come to an End

End of life (EOL) refers to the period when Microsoft no longer supports an operating system or application. Microsoft Windows 7 has been dominant in the operating systems (OS) market, despite it being over nine years old. However, Windows 7 EOL took place on January 14, 2020.

This means Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. Yet, many security threats continue to unravel. In January 2020, Microsoft released a patch to thwart a vulnerability discovered within the “crypt32.dll” system file, which did not include Windows 7. This is not the only vulnerability facing Windows 7 users.

A crypto-mining exploit attack has also been found within the “.wav” files. Because of these vulnerabilities, the risks are high for companies that still run Windows 7after EOL. Businesses that need to safeguard their customers’ data must upgrade their systems under such circumstances.

Insights into Windows 7 EOL

Microsoft suggests that you either upgrade your current computer to Windows 10 or purchase a new Windows 10 machine to reduce your risk of malware from potential faults and software loopholes. Organizations delay upgrading to Windows 10 for various reasons. The main reason being that migration requires much time, money and technical staff. It can also cause lengthy disruptions, which in turn can lead to missed opportunities and losses. Last but not least, a Windows 10 migration can potentially cause compatibility issues with existing applications.

There is a bit of good news though—well, sort of. Microsoft is offering Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows 7 until January 2023. While this could buy time for a few organizations, it’s not for everyone. This temporary relief comes at a premium, to the tune of $50 to $200 per device. In addition, Windows 7 ESU doesn’t come with any help desk support or patches for regular bug fixes.

Not everyone can afford ESU, and security risks will, therefore, remain a significant issue until companies upgrade to Windows 10. According to 1E’s “Windows 10 2020: Beyond the Migration” report, 82% of organizations identify security as a factor for migrating to Windows 10.

Identifying the Objectives

Since you already know where the problems lie, you should be able to identify priority objectives. First of all, you need to address security and bug-related issues, which means running only supported operating systems. In other words, the best course of action is to switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

When IT carries out migrations, they need to do so in as little time as possible to minimize downtime and avoid disrupting employee productivity and user experience. Secondly, you’ll need to standardize the end user’s workspace to just one OS, reducing the number of driver and software versions, and minimizing compatibility issues.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions can help organizations achieve these objectives by enabling them to instantly provide users with Windows 10 virtual desktops that can be accessed from any device while avoiding compatibility issues.

Reducing the burden of Windows 7 EOL with Parallels RAS

Parallels ® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a cost-effective and straightforward application delivery and VDI  solution that you can use to migrate to Windows 10 without going through the hassles of traditional migration processes.

Quick and easy deployments

Through Parallels RAS centralized management console, IT admins can deploy and manage applications and desktops from a single pane of glass. With it, you can quickly build a standard workspace (i.e., same OS and driver versions) for all users, regardless of whether they’re stationed on-premises or working remotely.

Less disruptive updates

Applications and desktops are hosted in a central location, allowing Windows updates/patches to be done in one place. You only need to upgrade a template and not each endpoint installation, resulting in faster upgrades and minimal to zero end-user disruption.

More robust production environments

Another significant advantage of using Parallels RAS is that it has a Test Template wizard that automates VM testing and deployment. The wizard simulates the lifecycle of a VM from creation to deletion and ensures that Windows templates work smoothly once in production.

Auto-provisioning and auto-scaling

Parallels RAS can effortlessly support business demands that require rapid provisioning and de-provisioning of RD Session Host VMs, such as a surge in requests for additional desktops and applications. All the IT admin has to do is leverage Parallels RAS template technology by setting workload thresholds and auto-scaling policies, and it auto-scales the infrastructure as soon as the threshold is breached.

No end-user training is needed

From an end-user perspective, applications and desktops delivered through Parallels RAS are intuitive, fast and seamless. This excellent user experience (UX) is consistent across all devices, whether on PCs, thin clients or mobile devices. The highly intuitive UI allows end-users to dive right into their virtual workspaces without any prior training.

Extend hardware lifecycles

Typically, a Windows 7-spec PC wouldn’t be able to run Windows 10. However, if your Windows 10 desktop is a virtualized one using VDI, running it on a Windows 7 PC shouldn’t be a problem. Instead of being installed on the Windows 7 PC, Windows 10 would be hosted on a server, where most of the computing will be processed. Parallels RAS supports VDI, allowing you to extend the life of your PCs until you’ve acquired new replacements.

How Parallels RAS Can Help You Secure Machines Beyond EOL Support

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) provides a cost-effective way of securing your devices beyond Windows 7 EOL. When the “Replace Desktop” feature is enabled within the Device Manager category in Parallels RAS, you can convert a standard Windows 7 desktop into a thin client. By enabling the “Replace Desktop” feature, you enable users to still access Windows 7 applications, albeit with limited features for added security.

For example, users cannot have access to the Taskbar, Windows Explorer and other components. Under this framework, users can neither change system settings nor install new applications. When you convert Windows 7 PCs into thin clients, users can only use apps or desktops that have been configured within the Parallels RDP Client.

The aim is to provision remote apps or desktops by using Windows 7 as a means of deploying the software required to connect remotely. However, in instances where users need to access local applications, IT administrators can still configure the Parallels RDP Client Desktop Replacement.

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