If you’re a Windows user, you know Microsoft hasn’t been shy about pressuring you to switch to its Windows 10 operating system. When Windows 10 first rolled out for free almost in 2015, Microsoft plastered your computer screen with warnings and alerts to make the switch, sometimes with comical results.
The good news is that many people who’ve downloaded Windows 10 to about 400 million devices like it. It’s faster, more secure and more user-friendly than some earlier versions.
Yet, why should you be forced to switch if you’re happy with versions like Windows 7 and Windows 8? But that’s exactly what is happening.
On April 11, as we’ve told you, Microsoft will no longer support Windows Vista. Now, Microsoft is also dropping support for Windows 7 and Windows 8. This will affect millions of people just like you.
What you need to know
First, when Microsoft says it’s dropping support for earlier versions of Windows, that will affect you in a couple of major ways. You’ll stop receiving most security patches that are issued to prevent malware attacks, hacks and worse. Plus, some of the computers and laptops you’re using may not run properly, especially if they’re newer models.
Second, it’s important to know that for most people, you have some time to switch to Windows 10. That’s not the case with Vista, which is running on fewer than 1% of computers.
However, if you’re using Windows 7 and Windows 8, you need to prepare to make the switch. You have only until July 17 this year if your computer is using Intel’s 6th generation chip, Skylake. Microsoft will continue to issue security patches but only for the most serious threats.
For other Windows 7 users, Microsoft will continue to support it until January 2020. For Windows 8 users, you have until January 2023 before you need to panic.
Microsoft has a reason for doing this. It says it takes too much time, energy and money for it and its suppliers to support a relatively small number of computers.
If you want to make the move to Windows 10, even if it’s just to avoid Microsoft’s annoying reminders to do so, you’ll now have to pay for the once-free Windows 10. For most people, that’ll be about $119.
Note: There is one secret way to get Windows 10 for free.