Microsoft plans to completely phase out Windows 7, and as of January 14, 2020, this popular operating system will reach the end of its lifespan and will no longer be supported or updated.
While 2020 may seem like it’s still well into the future, it’s important that you begin preparing now so that you can limit the disruption a system upgrade is bound to cause in your dental practice.
How Will Windows 7 End of Life Impact Your Practice?
If you’re running your dental office systems on Windows 7, then this means that some extensive upgrades are in your future. It’s not merely about upgrading to Windows 10 on your office computers, because the programs and software that work on Windows 7 will most likely not be supported on Windows 10.
To keep your office functioning smoothly, you’ll also need to update your servers, computers, printers and purchase new versions of any software to ensure compatibility with Windows 10. A large upgrade like this can mean change and distraction in your office, as well as increased costs, security risks, and potential HIPPA compliance issues if you’re not ready in time.
Dental Practice Checklist to Prepare for Windows End of Life
Now is the time to prepare for Windows 7 end of life, and here’s a helpful checklist you can use to make sure your practice is ready and has planned all the necessary upgrades.
Check to See if You’re Using Windows 7 for Your Office OS
To understand the scope of the impact Windows 7 end of life will have on your practice, you’ll need to make sure you have a good understanding of what operating system you’re using in your practice, and how many computers, servers, and other office equipment are dependent on that technology.
Know the Limits of Your Existing Dental Practice Management Software
When Windows 7 reaches the end of its lifecycle, any programs, applications, or software you’ve been running on that system will no longer be supported.
Research Options and Features
Now is the perfect time to begin researching dental practice management solutions to see what options will work best on your upgraded operating system. Keep a close eye on the features that each solution provides and think through which ones will benefit your practice the most.
Plan Upgrade Timing and Budget
A key part of successfully upgrading your office systems is understanding how long it will take to replace or upgrade your hardware and implement your new dental practice software. If possible, you should plan to do most of the disrupting changes outside of office hours and peak busy times. Budgeting for a change like this is also important, as the costs can add up quickly if you’re planning to do a full system upgrade, including servers, computers, and other office technology.
Consider the Cloud
Cloud software can be used on any device, with any operating system. As you’re planning your switch from Windows 7, a move to the cloud can help you streamline the future of your office technology and ensure you’re always protected with updated security and HIPPA compliance. Using cloud-based dental practice management software will also help you avoid the costly upgrades and disruption that come with switching operating systems every time they reach the end of their lifecycle, because you’ll always have the most updated technology’ available in the cloud, without having to upgrade and replace all your devices every couple of years.
Set Up Demos
Seeing a dental practice management software solution in action is one of the best ways to understand how well that solution is going to support your practice and fulfill your needs. You should set up 3-5 vendor demos to compare features and tools in real-time and help you make the decision about which solution will benefit your practice most.
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