Here’s one for your diaries. Microsoft is stopping support of Windows 7 in January 2020, marking the end of over a decade of service from the operating-system, which inadvertently found itself to become something of the fan favorite over the years.
Because of the terrible reception of Windows 8, plus embarrassing teething issues with Windows 10, Windows 7 is held in fond regard by many people. More to the point, millions worldwide are still utilizing it. That’s something of the problem, as when support ends around the 14 January 2020, it will be susceptible to security exploits that Microsoft won’t patch to deal with.
We glance at what this means for Windows 7 users, and just what you must do prepare for its terminal.
Who’s Still Using Windows 7?
Actually, many people. Millions in fact.
Microsoft has had a bit of a bad run with its operating systems in recent years, and also the usual rush to upgrade it experienced in the past has faded.
As an example, at the time of its release in ’09, Windows 7 broke Amazon UK’s pre-order records, even beating that for the last Harry Potter book. An incredible feat, particularly when you think about how much the Brits love that bespectacled schoolboy.
Using the launch of Windows 8 though, Microsoft lost lots of potential upgraders. The radically different Metro design, which was intended to accommodate new touchscreen devices and, crucially, removing the Start button, was a step too far for many. Even though Windows 8.1 rectified a lot of these complaints, it had been past too far for many, who refused to upgrade.
Windows 7, because of its faults, was a cozy set of slippers that you could depend on. Windows 10 was really a success, helped considerably by its free upgrade offer for those 7 and 8.1 users. But, headlines about crashing systems, insufficient compatibility with existing peripherals and software, plus other gripes, scared many people off.
Research by Net Share of the market, which tracks operating-system activity, states that Windows 10 has only just managed to outperform Windows 7 the very first time, now which makes it the operating system of preference on 39.22% of computers. By comparison, Windows 7 includes a 36.9% share. Like we say, that’s a LOT of people worldwide.
Exactly what does Ending Support Mean?
So with Microsoft support ending in a year, what does that actually mean for people who currently run Windows 7? Essentially, it means the clock is ticking for their internet security.
Microsoft doesn’t just release a new operating system, and then rest on its laurels. Each one receives a committed period of support, wherein it’s constantly worked on behind the curtain. Microsoft delivers small or large OS updates directly to users when available.
These updates are now and again cosmetic, but are often essential, fixing bugs, delivering improvements. In some cases, these updates and patch fixes are the dam holding back a tidal wave of exploits and vulnerabilities that may cripple your pc, and risk your data, too.
When support stops on a platform, this means that it’s no longer receiving patches, which exploits aren’t being fixed. What this means is it’s open season in your computer’s security.
I personally use Windows 7 – What Can I actually do?
Upgrade. It’s really that stark. You may still carrying on using Windows 7 until the start of 2020, but it’s essential that you upgrade by the 14 January deadline.
Now, this could mean upgrading your operating-system in your existing computer, or replacing your computer itself. But, in either case, if you wish to stay protected, you need to result in the move.
Upgrade to Windows 10 – The obvious answer, but upgrading to Windows 10 will get you back in line. Don’t disassociate with the stories you heard about it on release. Yes, it had been something of the horror show and caused lots of headaches, but Microsoft has continued to operate on these issues, which days, Windows 10 is really a perfectly stable and decent OS. The disposable upgrade period has passed, so you’ll need to pay for it, but it’s worth shopping around as retailers provide it below price Microsoft charges on its site.
If you have an older machine, you may need to check her specs to run Windows 10. See our full explainer help guide to computer specifications to help you comprehend the jargon.
Buy a new computer – A little more of the drastic response, but if you’re running Windows 7 currently, it could very well be time for you to change your computer as well as your operating system. Any new Windows PC you buy in 2019 will have Windows 10 pre-installed.
See our help guide to the very best laptop brands that will help you select a new computer
Buy a Mac or perhaps a Chromebook – If you’re purchasing a new computer, why stop at a Windows machine? A MacBook, iMac or Google Chromebook might be a great replacement, and can enable you to get from the Microsoft eco-system for good. Take a look at our review of the latest Apple MacBook Air for a starting point, or see our guide to Chromebooks vs Windows Laptops.
When Will Support for Windows 10 End?
Like Michael Caine says, Windows 10 support will never end.
At the time of its release, Microsoft claimed that 10 will be the ??last Windows ever’. The implication being that it will function as an ever-evolving platform which will replace the more regular numbered updates we’ve seen in yesteryear. Does this imply that we’ll never see a Windows 11? Possibly.
But, the chances are that Windows 10 will slowly become unrecognisable from the original form, while still retaining exactly the same moniker.
It’s not really clear-cut as that though. Microsoft is ending Windows 10 support in some ways. In fact, it’s already commenced.
While Windows 10 like a ‘concept’ could keep on ad infinitum, Microsoft is dropping support for version numbers. You can observe its roadmap on the Microsoft site. There’ve recently been seven distinct versions of Windows 10, with the latest, 1809, losing support in May 2020. Don’t worry though, once we suspect that it’ll soon get replaced with a newer version that will prolong the life of Windows 10 for many years. Because of this, it’s important to ensures you keep your form of Windows 10 up-to-date.
Whether Windows 10 does prove to be immortal, or Microsoft backtracks and releases a fresh product within the next couple of years, for that foreseeable future, it’s the smart choice, especially if you are currently using Windows 7.