Windows 10 Myths And ATM Options

by Mark Smith
Posted On: 11/26/2018

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   Mark Smith
ATM Industry Has Alternatives For Expediting Windows 10 Upgrade

by Mark Smith, Business Development Director
MVP Financial Equipment

Not very long ago, financial institutions completed their final ATM upgrades to Windows 7 with a sigh of relief. Now, just a few short years later, those FIs are facing another costly and time-consuming upgrade to Windows 10. If they don't do this by Jan. 14, 2020, they will face the same security risks they did before migrating to Window 7 – no updates, no patches, no technical support,  non-compliance with PCI security standards, increased operating costs, possible performance issues and more.

With the growing threat of malware and cyberattacks, no FI can afford to do without the necessary security updates which are vital to secure ATM operations.


Windows 10 gives version 7 a run for its money in speed and interface, but its biggest benefit for FIs is security. Windows 10 is being touted as one of the most advanced, secure systems Microsoft has put forth. The operating system (OS) includes a built-in firewall and security scan system, and it is speculated that Microsoft will take Windows 10 to the next level – putting the system into the cloud for added security, ease of updating and elimination of physical software.

However, with just a year to go and long lead times for upgrade kits and new machines, Microsoft has not yet released a Windows 10 version for ATMs – leaving many banks and credit unions apprehensive about the upcoming migration. And, while there is talk of developing a more versatile, Linux-based ATM operating system and architecture – and although the ATM Industry Association has unveiled a Next Gen ATM operating system – this may not be ready for prime time by the announced end-of-life date for Windows 7.


Despite advanced planning for the Windows 7 upgrade by banks and credit unions, migration to the version 7 OS was not easy. Manufacturers had long lead times, and there were a great many software bugs and system failures for at least a year.

The migration to Windows 10 won't be as simple as installing a new OS either, since some ATMs will require hardware upgrades as well. Because of that, manufacturers are advising the purchase of new ATM terminals. While some in the industry are encouraging this narrative of obsolescence, the truth is much more complicated.

A number of factors can affect the upgrade path for financial institutions, including;

Windows 10 release date vs. readiness of the software. Once the ATM version of Windows 10 is released, it will have to be certified by the networks, and the ATM manufacturers will have to program the new drivers needed to enable Windows 10 (or any new OS) to operate on their machines. There may also be software bugs that will have to be worked out.

Manufacturer timelines: With long lead-times due to machines and components being built overseas, despite the best planning by FIs, they may not be able to replace or upgrade their ATMs in time to meet the end-of-life deadline for Windows 7.

Types of ATM in the field. Not all ATMs will be obsolete. System requirements for Windows 10 are relatively simple, requiring a 64-bit processor and bus, a recommended 4GB of memory and an Intel 4th-generation (or above) processor, and at least an I5 for multifunction machines. In many cases, this level of system can be achieved with a simple core upgrade performed in the field.


With so much uncertainty, FIs don't know whether they should purchase new machines, purchase Windows-ready refurbished machines, update the terminal's core now – or wait. To complicate matters further, tariffs are beginning to take effect which may drive the cost up, since the only ATMs that are still manufactured on U.S. soil are those made by Triton Systems and terminals refurbished by companies such as MVP Financial Equipment.

Experts recommend that banks and credit unions start with an evaluation of the ATMs in their fleet. To help with this, the ATM experts at MVP Financial Equipment are offering a free evaluation to help ATM executives discover the best way to navigate the upcoming OS migration.

A new white paper, Unveiling the Myth of Windows 10, is also available for financial institutions that want to learn more about their options.

»»MARK SMITH has been a leader in the ATM industry for over 20 years. He serves as business development director with  MVP Financial Equipment, a U.S.-based full-scale ATM refurbishment and parts distribution company. He manages MVP's VAR (Value-Added Resellers) program and provides resellers who serve financial institutions with a wide range of products and services to increase sales and provide customers with added value.Connect with Mark via email or on LinkedIn.