Windows 7 Replacement: Preparing for End of Support
A significant development in the IT world is the impending end of support for Windows 7 by Microsoft on January 14, 2020. This decision has sparked discussions across various industries, highlighting its importance as it may impact businesses and individuals.
Understanding the Significance of Windows 7’s End of Life (EOL)
Windows 7, which has been in use for over a decade, marked a turning point for Microsoft following a series of mixed releases. Its success led many users to stick with it, avoiding upgrades to subsequent versions like Windows 8. As a result, an estimated one billion computers still run Windows 7 today.
The EOL status means Microsoft will cease providing support and updates for the operating system. Although certain exceptions allow for limited support and updates at a substantial cost, it becomes financially impractical to sustain a dying platform when compared to upgrading to Windows 10.
The Security Concerns
The looming deadline for Windows 7 EOL has drawn the attention of hackers. Historically, unsupported Windows versions, both on computers and servers, have been targeted in hacking campaigns. Security updates from Microsoft serve to address vulnerabilities exploited by hackers. However, once updates end for Windows 7, hackers may find and exploit system weaknesses with no patches available, posing significant security risks.
Section 179 as a Solution
Although upgrading to Windows 10 offers improved security and updated features, the associated costs may put some users off. Windows now charges $99 per license for the upgrade, which can be a significant expense, especially for businesses requiring multiple licenses.
Section 179 provides a potential solution. This tax provision allows companies to deduct the full value of business property purchased within the same tax year. By making the upgrade in the current year, businesses can benefit from a deduction on their 2019 taxes, easing the financial burden.
Some businesses may wish to upgrade but find that their hardware is incompatible with the new operating system. Machines released around the time of Windows 7’s launch, now a decade ago, may lack the capabilities to support Windows 10 efficiently or at all.
For those facing this hardware limitation, upgrading to Windows 10 necessitates updating their hardware as well. However, outdated hardware presents other concerns beyond the operating system. Many software applications may not run their latest versions effectively on these older terminals.
Fortunately, Section 179 deductions can also encompass hardware upgrades and related costs. This includes expenses such as shipping, setup, service contracts, warranties, and insurance fees—all of which may be included in the deduction if implemented within the current tax year.
The Urgency of Action
Time is of the essence, as the Windows 7 EOL deadline approaches. While Section 179 deductions provide financial relief, the consequences of delaying the upgrade cannot be overlooked.
It is crucial to note that while this post discusses Section 179 deductions, we are not tax advisors. The information presented here serves as general discussion, and we strongly advise consulting your company’s CFO or tax and accounting professionals before making any decisions.
In light of the current Section 179 laws allowing deductions of up to $2.5 million in 2019, now is an opportune time for system upgrades if needed. Preparing for the future and ensuring robust security and efficiency should be a priority for businesses during this transitional period.