Industrial HMI migrations: Help with Microsoft Windows 7 expiration

Microsoft Windows 7 expired on Jan. 14, and manufacturers’ human-machine interface (HMI) software may still need help migrating to a supported operating system. System integrators can provide migration assistance to lower cybersecurity risk.

By Mark T. Hoske January 20, 2020

Respondents to the 2018 Control Engineering HMI Software and Hardware study said 80% of human-machine interface (HMI) software still used Microsoft Windows 7, which expired on Jan. 14, 2020. If migrations to Microsoft Windows 10 aren’t completed yet in your manufacturing or other industrial operations, system integrators with operating system migration experience can help.

In the Global System Integrator Database:

  • 522 system integrators list HMI, human machine interface among engineering specialties.
  • 274 system integrators list PC-based control among engineering specialties.

These results can be narrowed by other system integrator engineering specialties, industries served, vendor experience, professional affiliation, vendor partnerships, annual revenue, and location to locate system integration companies that can help with operating system migrations.

Microsoft ended support for its Windows 7 operating system software on Jan. 14, 2020, extended from October 2019. Computers that continued to run Microsoft Windows 7 can be more susceptible to cyberattacks. So-called zero-day vulnerabilities can occur when software no longer is being updated with security patches.

Software that isn’t updated is easier for hackers to compromise, creating additional safety, cybersecurity, environmental, and intellectual property risks for those using outdated software. That includes desk-drawer backup operating system copies that might be hanging around, just in case. Check inventory. HMI software vendors can also help.

Also read a recent Control Engineering article about a Microsoft Windows 7 manufacturing upgrade.

Control Engineering has specialized pages with expert cybersecurity articles and updates and with HMI articles and updates.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.