We’re asked, “How long will my POS system last?” on a daily basis — and rightfully so. We understand that purchasing a point of sale system is an investment. Obviously, there’s a financial commitment, but beyond the dollars, you’re investing time and energy to set up and run your system. Just as importantly, you’re trusting your system to help you run your business.
So let’s just get to the point: how long will your system last?
We’ll share a story to answer the question. In 2014, we received a call from a customer who bought their system in 2006 and they were still using it with no issues. Eight computer years is the equivalent of approximately 237 human years, so their system was old.
We were so amazed that we pulled the original invoice and reviewed the specs. The scanners and printers were still fine – dated, but fine. The printer was an Epson TM-88, which was the most popular receipt printer in the world at the time. Unfortunately, the issues started with the printer. Although it was in working order, it was equipped with a parallel port (an old school, and complex, interface that connected computers to printers and other devices).
Next, we reviewed the terminal, which was a touchscreen monitor connected to a Dell. That in itself isn’t an issue, however, the computer was running Windows XP, which is not PCI-compliant. As for memory, the computer was running 512 MB of RAM, which was mind-blowing to our team.
So what does all this mean?
Based on the environment, your POS system can continue operating for years. The issue, however, is that technology will often outpace your system. So what happened when our 2006 customer asked about upgrading POS software? Well, the current software couldn’t run on Windows XP, so we had to upgrade that. But Windows 7 couldn’t run on a 512 MB computer, so we also had to upgrade that. Lastly, a parallel port receipt printer wouldn’t work on a new computer, so we had to upgrade that, too. Noticing a pattern?
Bottom line, no matter what any POS provider tells you, point of sale software will eventually outgrow its hardware. Free upgrades and updates are useless if the hardware can't handle the new software. Realistically, you should plan on updating your computer every five years or so, while printers and cash drawers can be used longer. And with updates, the software will be just fine.
What is Windows 7 end of life and how does it impact my POS system?
The phrase end of life in regards to software means it is no longer useful. The solution is officially outdated and the manufacturer does not support the software anymore.
Windows 7 hit its end of life in January 2020, and it’s estimated that around 400 million devices currently run on this software. Many of those users haven’t upgraded their software since this happened — and in theory, they will be alright for a short amount of time.
However, using a solution past its end of life does make your software more susceptible to security risks and viruses. The solution can no longer receive updates or be saved in the event that something goes wrong.
The risk is even bigger for point of sale systems running on Windows 7.
Think of all the business data and sensitive information stored in the software. What would happen if it was compromised? Are you confident that you can avoid fraud or other attacks? The longer you wait to upgrade to Windows 10, the more your business is at risk.
How do I ensure that my point of sale system stays up-to-date?
Just like any technology you use, make sure you’re on top of updates. Oftentimes, updates are rolled out to debug the software and solve issues it’s been having. Updates are also meant to improve the solution itself and the user experience.
In addition to maintenance and occasional updates, get ahead of the game if your software is reaching its end of life. Your point of sale provider will likely give you a heads up if this is happening to your solution, but it’s always beneficial to keep up with industry news and trends.
At POS Nation, we offer a monthly subscription option, which includes:
- All software updates and upgrades at no extra cost to your business
- Upgraded equipment every three years; we swap out your hardware
- 24/7 support and unlimited training — and so much more
Renting your point of sale system is one way to stay ahead of end of life software changes and ensure your solution lasts as long as possible. If you have questions about a POS subscription, get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org!