Are you ready to ditch Windows 7 & 2008/R2 ?

As Microsoft has announced repeatedly in the past months, the trusty Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 are coming to an end-of-life.. By January 14th 2020, those two OS’es wont received any updates anymore. This also means that if you’re running Microsoft Office, depending on the version that is installed, you’re not going to get any Office updates anymore too. Microsoft releases news bulletin on a regular basis to all Office 365 subscribers, and this is what was published on Nov. 27th:

As communicated in MC192504 (October 2019), we noted Windows 7 will go out of support after January 14, 2020. At this time, Windows Server 2008 will also go out of support. We understand Office 365 ProPlus customers may need more time in their migration to a supported operating system. Through January 2023, Microsoft will provide security updates for Office 365 ProPlus on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. But, during that time, as long as customers are still running one of these unsupported operating systems, Office 365 ProPlus won’t receive any new feature updates.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4462769/updates-to-office-365-system-requirements

This also means that not only will support for Windows 7 & 2008/R2 be ditched for all O365 subscribers (with the exception of security updates), but also for Windows 8.1, 10 & 2012/R2, as those OS’es that are in some earlier edition become obsolete too (considering Win10 was introduced in 2015 and had received many major updates). If you’re already on Win10 (any version) and curious about what the life-cycle calendar looks like, then here you go:

Enterprise editions are handled slightly differently from regular Win10 editions, but the link above from the life-cycle page will provide you the details too.

If you’re still running Dynamics GP clients on your Windows 7 workstations or laptops, it might be time to think of upgrading. Microsoft provides tools to migrate all of the user’s data onto a new system, even the apps, though it’s far from perfect and my personal experience is to make an assessment of what’s currently installed and if it is still needed / used. Many applications have been installed years ago and just collect digital dust. You may want to write down on an Excel workbook what you really want to keep, check the availability of those software packages for the newer Windows 10 build and start with a fresh install.

In order to help you asses quickly the content of your existing computer, there has been a tool I used for years and helped me to keep a digital track of all my products and license keys, as this tool is able to extract the data from your registry. The tool is called Belarc Advisor and is free to use for a single personal use. There is a corporate license you can buy to run a general data collection of all the company’s computer and manage them centrally. Once the product has been downloaded and setup, it needs to run under ‘Admin’ privileges to be able to gather all the data from your system. It will return a nicely formatted HTML report that you can print or save as PDF format (especially if using Chrome). Gathering all the data may take anywhere from 3-to-10 minutes, depending how large your system drive is and how many apps have been installed over the course of the years. On average, this should take no more than 5 minutes. The report opens automatically in your default browser and the nice part of it is that it will tell you in the software section how long a piece of SW hasn’t been used (ranging from 7 days to over 1 yr).

As for your GP client, older versions like 2010 & 2013 may have some troubles to run with newer Windows OS, but in general there is always a way to get them run (hint: check compatibility mode). Make also sure all the 3rd-party ISV products are certified to run on newer Windows builds. What if you can’t upgrade your GP and run into issues ? Windows 7 used to have a bult-in Windows XP emulator, but Microsoft didn’t included them into Windows 10, which somewhat was resolved by using the ‘compatibility’ tab in the application settings. However, creating a virtual machine inside of Win10 would be the ultimate way of resolving an unsolvable compatibility issue, but that usually goes with a lot of work associated to it. See this blog page on how you could try various scenarios.

My recommendation to customers, as much as it can be done, is to move off the GP client from every workstations to a central application server (Citrix or Microsoft TS), that would be running on Windows 2012 to 2019 (depending on your GP supported platform). It takes away so much of the maintenance burden when it comes to GP clients and allows you to put your time & money where it matters. I’ve written other blog posts around the setup of GP clients on terminal servers and have a few years of service under my buckle running various TS/Citrix versions. Feel free to reach out to me if you need any assistance.

Hope that helps and until next post, wish you happy reading.
@GP_Beat

Note: if you’re interested in seeing a graphical timeline of all Windows OS’es from 3.1 all the way up to W8 / W2012, click on this link .. Doesn’t make me feel younger when looking at the chart :-), knowing I started even before that with DOS 2.11 & Windows 1.0

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