Microsoft Ended Support For Windows 7 Security Updates, Here’s What That Means
Microsoft has announced that they will stop the support for Windows 7 as of January 14th, 2020. This change includes Windows 7, Server 2008, and Server 2008 R2. The company won’t offer support, technical assistance, and software updates.
Windows 7 was released on October 22, 2009 and they committed to 10 years of support. Now that this period has ended, they are shifting focus to their newer technologies and endeavors. Software and tech companies typically phase out older operating systems after a given amount of time to provide the best support they can for their newer and current systems.
Microsoft made this announcement early for users to make a change, first with the end of Mainstream Support in January of 2015, and reminders throughout this past year. From July of 2015 to July 2016, Windows offered the upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge as an incentive to make the switch. Now, Windows 10 costs $140 for the basic package on their website.
Despite that, there are still tens of millions of devices running on the software equally to 26% of all PCs. Even Windows 10’s market share was outranked by Windows 7 until the end of 2018. The popularity of this operating system is astonishing. Sadly, that affinity for Windows 7 could put those users as risk.
What does this mean for Windows 7 users?
The operating systems won’t stop running; however, Microsoft will no longer give any assistance or release any further security patches for them. Without the security and support, the systems are at risk and are vulnerable to malware and hacking. Additionally, software and hardware manufacturers will most likely stop making the products that make up the operating system.
According to a Microsoft spokesperson, even if you have antivirus software to protect you from malicious software, you still may be vulnerable to “sophisticated attacks like phishing and ransomware.” Due to the large number of Windows 7 users left, there could be more of a reason for malicious users to target viruses at the operating system.
Potentially, this could mean users need to buy new devices since older computers may not be fit to have Windows 10. Other users who have the option to upgrade to the Windows 10 system need to in order to protect their devices. Apps might not work, settings won’t always transfer, and data could be lost when you are upgrading from Windows 7 to 10.
What to Do
So, if you or your business still use Windows 7, the first option to consider is upgrading to a new operating system. The simplest choice is to upgrade to Windows 10, there will be less of a change or adjustment. Also, some of you may be able to keep the same device.
As mentioned before, there are potential risks of losing data, among other issues, with upgrading to 10. To avoid the risks, backup your files first.
Another option is to buy a new PC with Windows installed. You could transfer files from your previous PC the new one using an external hard drive.
Additionally, you could switch to a different operating system completely, such as Mac. This would of course be a bigger adjustment; however, you can run Windows programs, if needed, on Mac there’s just an additional cost.
Next Up, Windows 8
The next system after Windows 7 was Windows 8, which came out in 2012. This system will have continued free support until 2023.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s important to start the process of upgrading to a new system as soon as possible. For more information about Windows 7 support ending you can go to Microsoft’s support page. If you need help upgrading your business to a new operating system contact us today.