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What the End of Windows Handheld Really Means

By now, you’ve probably heard that Microsoft is ending all support for Windows handheld operating systems. It’s true, and if you’re running Windows on enterprise mobile computers, you need to have an action plan.

Microsoft’s announcement that it will be ending all support for Windows handheld operating systems is going to have a dramatic impact on mobile equipment asset management for many companies If your company is running Windows on enterprise mobile computers, it’s critical to have an action plan.

Data Security is a Top of Mind Risk

Once Windows reaches “end of life” for handhelds, there will be no more security patches. This means the devices will be vulnerable to any new security threats that emerge. More importantly, any business and customer data processed on these handhelds may be at serious risk.

To help you prepare, we’ve put together a quick rundown of Microsoft’s end dates and how it may impact your business.

  • Whenever Microsoft releases an operating system, it continues to support that version with security updates, bug fixes, design changes and warranty claims for five years. This is the mainstream support period.
  • When that five-year period comes to an end, Microsoft has historically pushed the OS into extended support. This means Microsoft stops adding new features and ends free support for that version. At this point, Microsoft still provides bug fixes and patches in the form of downloadable updates.
  • The extended support period usually runs for another five years, after which Microsoft stops supporting the version entirely. After this date, the company no longer provides bug fixes, patches or security updates to protect devices running the OS.

This is why the end of support for Windows handheld operating systems is such a big deal.

End of Life Dates to Know

Microsoft has already ended mainstream and extended support for all versions of its Windows Mobile OS, and mainstream support has already ended for all but one version of its Windows Embedded OS.

There’s also the larger issue of Microsoft changing its lifecycle policy with Windows Embedded 8.1. For this version, Microsoft won’t provide extended support.

This means all versions of Windows for handheld mobile computers have already reached their end of life or will do so by April 13, 2021.

Following is a breakdown of each OS and the end dates for mainstream and extended support:

Ultimately, anyone running Windows handhelds will need to migrate to a new OS and most likely upgrade to new handheld devices in the process.

Ignoring the Windows phase-out isn’t an option, due to inherent security threats. Also, the decision to run an outdated OS that will make it difficult or impossible to run future handheld mobile apps.

Migration Planning Tips

If you decide to migrate, here are a few key things to consider:

  1. If you have obsolete hardware that can’t run a new OS, you’ll need to upgrade to new devices. To future-proof your operations, we recommend upgrading to Android mobile computers from Zebra Technologies.
  2. Existing business apps and databases will need to be rewritten or reconfigured depending on their compatibility with the new OS. Switching to Android makes this much easier with an open platform, app store apps, and extensive developer resources.
  3. Migrated apps should be thoroughly tested to eliminate bugs or other issues that might get in the way once you move to your new OS.
  4. It may be necessary to retrain employees and potentially modify procedures, management and support processes accordingly.

If you need help in developing and executing the right OS migration strategy, our team at Logistyx is here to provide support as Microsoft exits the market.

We’ve helped many businesses develop a winning OS migration plan that ensures future device security while helping them achieve major improvements in mobile productivity and efficiency.

Contact Logistyx now to learn how to get the same results for your business.