One in three NHS computers still running Windows 7

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Despite the government's target of upgrading all PCs and laptops to Windows 10 by January of this year, close to half a million NHS computers are still running Windows 7.

Windows 7 reached its End of Life last month and the outdated operating system will no longer receive security fixes for any newly discovered vulnerabilities or security flaws.

Back in April 2018, the UK's Department of Health and Social Care signed a deal with Microsoft which allowed NHS organizations to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. However, the deal required that all of its PCs needed to be upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 by no later than January, 14 2020 as Windows 7 would no longer be supported after that date.

That deadline has come and gone but according to government figures, at least a third of NHS PCs are still running Windows 7.

Extended support

Of the 1.37m PCs and laptops used by the NHS, at least 463,784 are still running Windows 7 though Microsoft is now offering extended support for these devices. Only 587,351 PCs are currently running Windows 10 and a few thousand are still running Windows 8.

Additionally 318,000 machines are running some version of Windows without Microsoft's active threat protection extended support. If these devices are running a version of Windows that is no longer supported, they could be vulnerable to any new software flaws or bugs that are discovered.

In a statement, NHS Digital explained that its remaining devices running Windows 7 will be upgrade before Microsoft's extended support period comes to an end in 2021, saying:

"There is support from Microsoft for devices using Windows 7, in all NHS organisations, until 14 January 2021. Migration to Windows 10 is a process which will differ depending on the specific needs of the organisation. We are working closely with the NHS to offer support to migrate to Windows 10 and are on target to complete this before the extended support period ends." 

Via ZDNet

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.