Does the End of Windows 7 Put Your Tests at Risk?


Although there has been ample time to prepare for the end of Windows 7, many people have still chosen not to make the switch over to Windows 10. As of January 14 2020, the time has come…Windows 7 is no more and alas here we are. Well, to say Windows 7 is dead is far from the truth. It is still very usable, it in fact can still be newly installed and activated. What it is not, however, is supported and therefore, protected.

So what does this mean to all the Windows 7 users? Well, they are now vulnerable. Like it or not, accessibility is changing every day, and software becomes less secure by the minute. This is why companies have support teams continuously working behind the scenes of said software to create the updates and patches that keep users ahead of any potential problem or risk.

How did we get Here?

Microsoft committed to delivering 10 years of support for Windows 7 back in 2009, and halfway through started raising the flag that the time to upgrade to Windows 10 will be upon us. Up until July 2016 they were offering customers the option to upgrade for free while still providing software updates for Windows 7 simultaneously. The convenience of an operating system (OS) that users were comfortable with and the assumed hassle that would follow, prevented people from upgrading in countless cases. Now that support is no more, it’s time to weigh the risks versus the rewards.

How do we Fix it?

In a business environment, this is crucial as the first consideration in this end-of-life is the safety and privacy of data as well as protection from spyware, viruses and the like. So now an inventory must be taken to validate which company systems are still running Windows 7. If any of those systems are test stations, there are further considerations on the table.

By replacing the OS, a major change is taking place…so what else will be affected? Think of this as Jenga, with less laughing. By pulling one piece out, what happens to the system as a whole? Windows recommends replacing the hardware entirely to make the most of the new features. Is this a necessary step? Maybe…

Hardware Considerations

At the end of the day, the new features may or may not be relevant but for an existing test setup, it is crucial to determine if the existing hardware will be compatible with Windows 10. The initial setup may still be working but it is important to know if the hardware is now obsolete and/or if there are existing drivers for the upgrade. If the equipment is too outdated, the right replacement must be found in order to perform the same way. And then, will the new hardware have the same connectors, I/Os, etc? Cabling may then need to be evaluated. Of course, the PC itself needs to be verified as well. If the current CPU requires an upgrade, it will perform differently. This can potentially cause some bugging by imposing new timing.

Software Considerations

The initial software design will need to be re-validated. Some of the old driver functionalities may not exist anymore and the test code will need to be adapted accordingly. It is key to determine how these changes will affect test results or the speed in which tests are being executed. By upgrading the OS, will it conflict with any other software running on the test station? Will the Device Under Test (DUT) perform the same way or will results be skewed because of the change(s)?

So What do we do Now?

Essentially, if a test system is still running Windows 7, it’s a less than ideal situation to be in. The good news is that all of the risks can be mitigated. By upgrading to Windows 10, security and privacy will be maintained...Microsoft does have your back. The switch simply needs to be handled appropriately.

First things first, read up on Windows 10. It will be very beneficial to understand everything you are receiving within this OS and determine the features that can maximize productivity. Next, BACK. EVERYTHING. UP. Make sure all records are up to date and, when possible, store files on an external hard drive. Lastly, don’t just kick the door down. In the case of a test system, make sure the right people are involved in the upgrade, whether it be the users of the station or the designer. Remember, everything in that system was built together and designed to work a certain way. Pulling out one piece may knock over the entire tower. Consult with those who know best, or at least know what to look for in order to minimize risk and more importantly…downtime.

To speak directly with a test expert, please contact Averna.

It’s never too soon to plan ahead!

Get in touch with our experts or navigate through our resource center

1200x628 - wp Intelligent Test Automation is the Future


Read our white paper to see how intelligent automation fits on your manufacturing floor.