Windows 7 – End of Life
The end is nigh for Windows 7 – here’s what you need to know
The Windows 7 End of Life date has been announced: January 14, 2020. This means Microsoft will no longer update or support the operating system after that date.
And, while Windows 7 is a decade old at this point – launching on July 22, 2009 – it’s still incredibly popular, with recent reports from Netmarketshare suggesting that Windows 7 is still being used on 39% of all PCs.
So, the news that Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft means there are many users out there who need to start thinking about finally moving on from their favorite operating system.
Windows 7 End of Life: what happens next?
When Windows 7 reaches its End of Life phase on January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop releasing updates and patches for the operating system. It’s likely that it also won’t offer help and support if you encounter any problems.
However, that doesn’t mean Windows 7 will stop working on January 14 2020 – you’ll still be able to use Windows 7 for as long as you want. So the good news is that you’re not going to wake up on January 15 to find your Windows 7 PC no longer boots up.
But just because you can continue to use Windows 7 in its End of Life status, it doesn’t mean you should.
The biggest issue with continuing to use Windows 7 is that it won’t be patched for any new viruses or security problems once it enters End of Life, and this leaves you extremely vulnerable to any emerging threats.
What’s more, if a large number of people continue to use Windows 7 after the End of Life date, that could actually be a big incentive for malicious users to target viruses and other nasties at Windows 7.
Windows 7 End of Life: what should you do?
So, if you still use Windows 7, what should you do? There are a number of things we’d recommend you do in preparation for Windows 7 End of Life, and the first is to consider upgrading to a newer operating system
1. Upgrade to windows 10
Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has a number of benefits. For a start, because both operating systems are made by Microsoft the upgrade process is relatively easy, and in many cases you can keep your files on your PC.
This means you’ll experience the minimum of disruption when upgrading to Windows 10. Most programs you use will have been updated to work on Windows 10 as well, and the layout and interface are similar to Windows 7, so you shouldn’t find it too hard to adjust.
If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, then you can buy a copy, download the installation file and run it to start the process.
It’s nice and easy, and you’ll be asked if you want to keep your files. However, we’d recommend that you still back up all your files and folders just in case.
While upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the easiest solution, there are reasons why it won’t be right for some people. For a start, you’ll need to buy a Windows 10 license, and these can be quite expensive – if you were hoping to manage Windows 7’s End of Life without spending any money, this isn’t the way to do it.
Also, while Microsoft has done an admirable job of making Windows 10 able to run on older hardware, it’s still a modern operating system that might struggle to work well on your old Windows 7 machine.
Here’s the minimum specification for Windows 10:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC.
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.
- Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
- Display: 800 x 600 resolution
2. Switch opperating system
The most cost-effective way of preparing for Windows 7 End of Life is to switch operating systems altogether, and install Linux on your machine.
Linux is an open-source operating system that’s completely free to use. It’s also regularly updated by a community of enthusiastic developers, so you can use it safe in the knowledge that it has new security patches applied to protect you from the latest threats.
There are a huge number of versions of Linux available, which are known as distributions or distros. While this wide range of distros can be overwhelming at first, it also means it’s easy to find a distro that’s right for your needs.
There are downsides, though. First of all, as Linux is a completely different operating system to Windows 7, it means that some of your favorite apps, such as Microsoft Word, won’t be available.
If you do go from Windows 7 to Linux you’ll need to spend some time learning how to use the new operating system – and that’s why it’s best to start looking now, rather than waiting until Windows 7’s End of Life deadline.
3. Purchase a new computer
As mentioned in section 1, most older computers will have trouble upgrading to Windows 10. Instead of investing money into an older system that is likely not to last much longer the most economical solution may be to purchase a new computer as these will most likely come with a Windows 10 licence.
If you would like any assistance during your journey from Windows 7 please get in contact as we will be happy to help.