If you’re using Windows 7, there’s a target on your back. Although Windows stopped adding security updates on Jan. 14, 2020, one in 10 computers still run on Windows 7. That means millions of people are at a heightened risk of being hacked.
To be fair, the reluctance to update is understandable: When Windows 10 first rolled out, it crashed PCs and broke printer connections. Luckily, these issues are now ironed out, and you’re free to enjoy new features. Tap or click here for five of the coolest new features — and how to use them.
Here’s exactly why you need to leave this old operating system in the past — and what you need to do instead.
Here’s why so many people are loyal to Windows 7
When Windows 7 was released in 2009, Microsoft promised 10 years of product support. Then, Windows 8 came onto the scene in 2012. Microsoft didn’t even bother with a Windows 9.
Now, Windows 10 is the bell of the ball. Even though it’s had its growing pains over the years, Microsoft worked hard to eliminate the many technical errors that popped up. In January of last year, it announced that Windows 7 would be a thing of the past.
This upset many users, who had grown attached to this old operating system. Around this time, we had a lot of nervous questions from our audience. We got questions like this:
- “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 functions 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?”
Some of this loyalty came from the ease of use that came with Windows 7. The newer version was first seen as harder to use. Plus, many old devices can’t even run Windows 10.
Here’s something to consider, though: 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. It’s a worthy investment for your own safety.
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.
We get it — even if money isn’t an issue, it’s going to be difficult for some folks to move on. Windows 7 is still popular among many people for its compatibility with older software and apps to plain ol’ familiarity.
Don’t worry: the new update is worth it. Now that some of the biggest issues have been fixed, you’ve got to switch to this newer version. Not only can the features help you, but you also need the security updates.
If you run Windows 7, you’re setting yourself up for a hack attack
Hackers know this old operating system inside and out. They know all the cracks in security, which leaves you as vulnerable as a snail without its shell. In 2017, hackers broke into machines with outdated versions and held them for ransom.
Now that Microsoft has stopped supporting this old operating system, you’re at a greater risk than ever before. Say goodbye to technical support from Microsoft customer service. Whether you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, you’re fresh out of help when you use Windows 7.
That’s because there are no more software updates for Windows 7. There are no more security updates to keep your PC — and all of your data — protected. You’re now vulnerable to a host of risks, including viruses.
Even with the latest software updates, Windows 7 still vulnerable right now.
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. We recommend using our sponsor, IDrive.
- Run the Windows 10 Update Assistant to ensure 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.
Sure, there are always growing pains. But using Windows 7 is like leaving the front door unlocked. Just remember that transitioning to Windows 10 is worth it for the safety of your computer and your private data.
Now that you’ve got this new, secure operating system, time to take a proactive step for your own safety. It’s a good idea to have a clean copy of Windows 10 around just in case an update goes awry. Tap or click here for a reliable Windows 10 strategy.