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Windows 7 End of Life.  New PC or Upgrade Your Existing One?

Windows 7 End of Life.  New PC or Upgrade Your Existing One?

Another year is behind us and 2020 is in sight. This means many things for many different people. Here at Ashton, it means making sure our clients are ready for the impending discontinued support of Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020.

To Replace Or Upgrade?

This has been quite an undertaking; the Ashton team has replaced close to 200 Windows 7 machines over recent months, but some of our clients (and many in the general public) are still going strong with Windows 7 systems. However, it must be done! If at the very least, to remain secure. When reviewing Windows 7 devices in an environment, we are presented with two opportunities. We have the opportunity to make the investment in a completely new computer with the latest technology running the latest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 10. Moving to Windows 10 doesn’t have to mean a brand-new computer though. We also have the opportunity to retain the older hardware and bring it up to speed with the new operating system. I can hear you already. “But why would you leave a device with old hardware in the environment and spend the money to upgrade the OS when it may begin to have performance issues soon after, making swapping out the system altogether the better option?”. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. Not necessarily…

Inefficiency Dragging You Down?

If a device is coming up on or is past the five year old mark, then yes, this decision is a simple one. It is decommissioned, avoiding issues such as increasing thermal inefficiency due to age, bottlenecking of older performance components, and user embarrassment when they look under their desk and see just another reminder that they are always behind the times. You might work with somebody who has been working on that last issue though. They need to get it together!

It’s Time to Go Solid State

What if the system is two years old? Or three years old and just feels like it needs a kick in the pants? A bit of a refresh? Fortunately, for a number of years now we have had access to a hardware upgrade option that consistently gives new life to an aging system. This upgrade option is the Solid State Drive (SSD).
A Solid State Drive is a storage device that does the same job as a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), but it does it in a way that is far superior and performance affecting. As a result, switching to a Solid State Drive has been known to be the definitive way to bring new life to an aging system. No more turning your computer on then going to make coffee while it boots up. With an SSD, that thing will be at the sign in screen so fast your butt won’t even leave the seat. Beware though… if people know you have a fast computer, they will expect things to get done. The lord giveth and the lord taketh away. To combat this I suggest making the same gestures and vocalizations that you did when your computer was slow, so that everyone around you thinks you are dealing with crippling performance issues thereby keeping expectations low. I’ve found that long sighs and screaming “whyyyyyy!” at the ceiling works best for me. My colleagues are none the wiser, and you wouldn’t believe how many cat pictures I’ve scrolled through, thanks to my SSD.

SSDs Are More Efficient…

Without getting too technical, it’s easy to see how an SSD achieves superior performance. The key difference between an SSD and an HDD is that an SSD has no moving parts. An HDD has an actuator arm that has to move around a magnetic disk and find the information that your computer is requesting, whereas an SSD uses microchips to hold storage. It requires no moving parts to find the information before it is able to present it for the rest of the system to use. Think of it this way; If you were in a room and you needed an object that was on the other side, you would walk to the object and pick it up. Well, if you were an HDD you would. If you were an SSD, you could snap your fingers and the object would be in your hand. This removes a performance bottleneck that has existed for a long time, and now that the data flood gates are open, the rest of your system can run free like a beautiful yet unexpectedly dangerous herd of wild horses. So majestic.

And Offer a Longer Lifespan

Because there are no moving parts, the fail rate of SSD’s is drastically lower and the life expectancy is much higher. They can be much smaller, generate zero noise… you get the idea. Better in every category. Every category except for price that is. Luckily, nowadays the price differences between comparable SSD’s and HDD’s are much, much smaller than they used to be not so long ago. Generally speaking a 256GB SSD costs the same as a 500GB HDD.  If your users are saving to the network rather than their desktop (as they should be), this reduction in storage space will never be an issue. With the price differences continuing to narrow and the performance impact so massive, I would be surprised if there would be any reason at all to go with an HDD, in the near future.

If the option makes sense, we like going with the opportunity to extend the life of a system with an SSD and the newest O/S. It is a win-win. Our client is happy that they can save money on a full system upgrade, and we are happy that we are managing up to date, secure, fast systems.  If you’d like to learn more about upgrading your old Windows 7 devices, give Ashton a call at 216 397-4080 and we’ll work with you to determine the best course of action.

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