Stuart Gilbertson, who set up Consider IT in Edinburgh 10 years ago and built it into a £1.2m a year business

THE BOSS of a flourishing Scottish IT company is offering a free tool to businesses – after learning that a major council paid £34,000 to upgrade its Windows-based computers.

Stuart Gilbertson, who set up Consider IT in Edinburgh 10 years ago and built it into a £1.2m a year business, is concerned other organisations may avoid upgrading for fear of incurring similar costs.

So, his Edinburgh-based team have developed a free tool which they will make available to anyone who has Windows PCs which are due to be upgraded from Windows 7 to the Windows 10 operating system (OS).

Dad-of-two Mr Gilbertson, 33, whose Consider IT business is based in Leith, Edinburgh, said: “Bottom line is that the migration itself is an easy job if you’re literate in this area and that you can run the basic Windows 10 installer.

“What we’re proud of is that we have created a tool to let our clients do it on any Windows 7 machine, from anywhere in the world. 

“The tool took us less than six hours to build. Now we will make it free to any business who wants to use it. We hope that will reassure businesses that this needn’t be an expensive process.”

Public records show that last month (NOV) Stirling Council awarded a £34,000 contract to Softcat Ltd from Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Softcat was the only company to tender for the contract.

Stirling Council’s notice for the contract stated: “This is a one-off need for a tool to assist ICT with migrating PCs from Windows 7 to Windows 10 across the estate.”

However, Stuart believes the free tool can help businesses effectively manage costs during any transition. While businesses will still have to pay Microsoft for new Windows 10 licences, the free tool will allow the upgrade to happen on either Windows Business or Windows Enterprise versions of the operating system.

He added: “We manage both the Business and Enterprise licences for clients and our tool doesn’t care which version is being rolled out.

“Nor should this have anything to do with the size of the business or the number of PCs. Indeed, we’ve just gone through this process updating 230 plus machines for a client.”

The need to upgrade Windows 7 computers is a pressing IT issue facing businesses and organisations. Silicon Valley giant Microsoft is ending support for the popular operating system from January 2020. While Windows 7 machines will still work, Microsoft is retiring the 10-year-old platform. That means the tech giant will no longer provide any technical support for any issues and users will no longer receive software updates or security fixes, often referred to as “patches”.

Microsoft has told users: “While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10.”

Microsoft also says it is possible for users to upgrade Windows 7 machines to run the Windows 10 operating system, its advice is that PCs should be replaced with newer machines. However, most in-house IT teams and specialist IT support companies like Consider IT are helping businesses and organisation to upgrade as many PCs as possible.

Consider IT has a burgeoning list of 70 clients across Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, and since being founded has built up a £1.2m-a-year turnover.

Its fleet of orange and white branded support vehicles have become a familiar sight across the city, with its team of highly qualified technicians working with many of the city’s best-known SMEs, including the Faculty of Advocates, The Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards, Nile and Par Equity.  

One of its most successful services is an eerie “ghost office” of 18 desks, all complete with powerful PCs – a disaster recovery suite which can be operational for any of its clients hit by a catastrophe like a fire or a flood, giving instant access to that business’s vital files and computer systems.

Any businesses interested in getting access to Consider IT’s free Windows upgrade tool can obtain more information at https://www.considerit.co.uk/resources/windows-7-to-windows-10-tool/