Remember Windows Vista? To say a lot of people didn't like the operating system that replaced Windows XP at the beginning of 2007 is an understatement. In fact, Vista didn't even make it to its third birthday because on October 22, 2009, Microsoft unveiled Windows 7.
Unlike Vista, Windows 7 was loved. It was met with critical acclaim for all kinds of upgraded features that righted Vista's wrongs, everything from performance to security.
How time flies. But even a decade later, you'll still find some people and businesses using Windows 7. And some of those faithful users have been reaching out to Kim recently, asking if it's true that Microsoft is about to stop supporting Windows 7. And if Microsoft is pulling the plug on support, what can they do?
Should I get rid of Windows 7?
Kim's been getting questions from her audience like these:
- "I got a Microsoft message on my computer saying that they are doing away with support for Windows 7 in January 2020. Is this true?"
- "Office 2007 is no longer supported. It provides all the function I need. My only reason to upgrade would be for security. Should I do it? Is it worth it?"
- "I'm a senior citizen who only uses my PC to read emails and respond if needed. Occasionally I may order something. I currently use Windows 7. Do I need to upgrade to Windows 10 since in 2020 Microsoft will no longer give updates for Windows 7."
Let's get right to it. When Windows 7 was released in 2009, Microsoft promised 10 years of product support. And here we are. The answer is yes, Microsoft will soon end support for Windows 7 with a cutoff date of January 14, 2020.
What does that mean? If you're still using Windows 7 after that date, it won't magically disappear from your PC - but it's still very important to take action before then.
Here's why: After January 14, 2020, there will be no more software updates for Windows 7. That includes security updates that keep your PC -- and all of your data -- protected. That opens the door to a host of risks, including viruses. Even with the latest software updates, Windows 7 still vulnerable right now. It'll get much worse once support comes to an end.
It also means no more technical support from Microsoft customer service. And if you still happen to use Internet Explorer, bless your heart, support on a Windows 7 device will end for that antiquated browser as well.
Make plans to upgrade your version of Windows
A lot's happened since Windows 7 debuted in 2007. Windows 8 became its successor five years later in 2012, then Windows 10 (the current Microsoft OS) took the reigns in mid-2015. But what about Windows 9?!?!
So forget about Windows 8, you'll need to skip straight to Windows 10. And even though it's had its growing pains over the past four years, Microsoft is still making strides in working out the kinks. A word of advice, though? Don't wait until January 13 to upgrade, just in case.
Something to consider: if you're still using a PC that dates back to the Windows 7 glory days, it's probably ill-equipped to handle a lot of modern software as it is -- let alone an entirely new operating system. So if you have the means, consider replacing your desktop or laptop PC with Windows 10 already installed.
Upgrading Windows on your existing PC
If your computer's not that old, plan to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. First, click here for specs and requirements needed for Windows 10.
If your system is good to go, you'll need to get a licensed copy of the Windows 10 software. At one time, it was free to upgrade but that offer expired back in July of 2016. For personal use, you'll want Windows 10 Home that retails for $139. For an office or school setting, go for Windows 10 Pro which costs $199.99.
Now it's time to get your system ready for the upgrade. Here are some steps to take:
- Back up all your data and files. Consider IDrive.
- Run the Windows 10 Update Assistant to again make sure your PC meets the requirements, including the hardware inside.
- Uninstall any programs and files you no longer need to free up space and help streamline the process
- Run the Windows installer
Windows 7 in the office
Things are a little different regarding Windows 7 when you're at work. If your business is an enterprise and Microsoft 365 customer, it's eligible for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates past the January cutoff -- but those updates aren't free.
For Windows Enterprise customers, those extended security updates will cost $25 per device from January 2020 to January 2021. It'll go up to $50 a device the following year, and $100 from '22 to '23.
It's even more for Windows 7 Pro. It'll start at $50 per device in 2020, $100 in 2021 and $200 in 2022. Check with your IT department about plans your company might have to upgrade your Windows operating system.
To upgrade or not to upgrade
Let's face it, not everyone's going to want to migrate over to Windows 10. Just look at some of those questions Kim was asked. But the fact of the matter is, whether you use your PC constantly or just to check email, it's best to upgrade to keep your machine and your files safe.
I get it -- even if money isn't an issue, it's going to be difficult for some folks to move on. Windows 7 still popular among a lot of people from its compatibility with older software and apps, to plain ol' familiarity. And hey, not everyone likes change. As it's been said, if it ain't broke...
Get Windows to repair itself automatically
If you're a regular Windows user, you've no doubt run into trouble with your operating system at some point. What you might not know, however, is that every Windows OS has the ability to repair its own software.