Warning: Your Windows 10 may not be supported!

Warning: Your Windows 10 may not be supported!

Warning: Your Windows 10 may not be supported!

That is, if you are running Windows 10 version 1511 which Microsoft declared end of life (EOL) after October 10, 2017.

Maybe you overlooked the deadline amidst the 62 Patch Tuesday updates Microsoft issued that very same day. Perhaps the storm of ensuing cybersecurity vulnerabilities (KRACK, Bad Rabbit) pushed it further down the to-do list. If it was on the priority list for 2018, more headline-grabbing vulnerabilities most probably dominated your focus. Whatever the reason, this somewhat under-reported issue shouldn’t be ignored any longer.

Why does it matter?

Quite simply, you are courting potential disaster. Your 1511 version has benefited from incremental feature and quality updates since its release in November 2015. The gotcha here is that Microsoft will no longer deliver this support service so running 1511 on your devices means zero automated updates, zero security fixes. Quite the risk given the volume of Microsoft patches we deploy across our desktop estate on a monthly basis.

It’s imperative you take action now to ensure your firm isn’t exposed the next time a Windows vulnerability presents itself.

Step 1: Verify your Windows 10 version

In the search box on the taskbar, type winver and then press Enter. This opens the ‘About Windows’ dialog box, where you’ll see the version of Windows 10 that’s running on your device.

If your version is listed as 1511 (or an earlier version), it’s time to upgrade to the latest version!

Throughout the Options platform we continually run a program of operating system upgrades and security updates to ensure compliance. Our overall landscape is easily visible and tracked using Splunk so we can easily identify those client devices that may be at risk on older versions of the software.

Step 2: I’m on version 1511… what will happen?

If you are a Windows 10 Home or Pro user, your device will still work but you need to upgrade asap. You likely have not received the newest features and comprehensive updates since end of service four months ago and therefore are more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. If you are running Enterprise or Education editions, you have some borrowed time to complete your upgrade path as Microsoft has granted users a grace period for ‘critical’ and ‘important’ security patches until April 28, 2018.

Step 3: Be prepared for future Windows 10 EOLs

In this new era of ‘Windows as a service’, smaller feature updates to Windows 10 are delivered twice a year, typically around March and September. Knowing these key dates in the Windows 10 service lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to next upgrade to a newer version or make other changes to your software. If you want to get a head start on your planning, check out this blog on Windows 10 service timelines.

The good news is that deploying the latest version of Windows 10 is simpler than with previous versions of Windows. When migrating from earlier versions, an easy in-place upgrade process can be used to automatically preserve all apps, settings, and data. At Options we use the latest release of SCCM Current Branch to easily accommodate this process.

So whether you have yet to upgrade from 1511, or already have your Windows 10 house in order, we recommend you get planning for the next EOL phase so there are no surprises lurking around the corner. We’ll leave it to the pros at Microsoft to explain what to expect.

Neil Donnelly, Vulnerability Management

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