Still running Windows 7? What you need to know now

February 4, 2021

The short answer to this question is that we have you covered. The Yale Center for Research Computing and ITS partnered to address concerns that researchers have with running deprecated operating systems.

For researchers who invested in costly instruments that rely on software incompatible with Windows 10, we are processing exception requests to ensure we know why a machine is running a deprecated operating system. Also, IT will apply compensating controls to these machines, locking down access to the device via firewall rules or other methods to protect the rest of the university.

For people running machines that are so old they cannot run Windows 10, we are working with Distributed Support Providers (DSPs), our IT partners, and other department contacts to retire or replace these.

Approximately 900 machines on campus fall into one or another of these categories. We have purchased extended support from Microsoft for these machines to ensure they are patched and secure.

Still running Windows 7? We have you covered. 

Now for the longer answer. As many people know, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. In August of 2019, Yale’s records indicated there were still approximately 3,500 computers still running Windows 7. Short of hiring a small army of DSPs, IT had no way to remediate all these computers in time.

The DSP Teams had been deploying only Windows 10 machines for five years in advance of the published end of support date. Unfortunately, people kept their Windows 7 machines running in addition to buying new computers, did not have funding to replace their computers, or were not able to upgrade to Windows 10 for various reasons, mostly related to research computing.

By the January 2020 deadline, we had winnowed the number of machines to upgrade to ~2,800, requiring us to purchase extended Windows 7 support for these devices for an additional year (through January 14, 2021). Despite the pandemic causing a large portion of our community to leave campus, we have remediated about 1,900 computers during the past year.

Our path forward is documented in the short answer above. By January of 2022, we will have upgraded, replaced, or obtained exceptions for all remaining Windows 7 computers in the environment.