Windows 7 users have been receiving a repeating message on their computers lately. The message warns that, as of January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will reach the official “end of support.” Those users ask if they’ll be “forced to upgrade” because they’ve “heard bad things about Windows 10.”
Let’s start with the “heard bad things” part; Windows 10 is good. Very good. Better than any version of Windows that has come before, including the much loved “7.” Every version of Windows, including 7, has been bad-rapped when it was new. Windows 10 isn’t new anymore. It’s been out for a few years now, and is constantly being polished. To tell the truth, Windows 10 is pretty great.
Windows 7 has been on “extended” support – receiving security updates only – since January 2015. As of next January, even those minimal security updates are ending. If you think that will leave Windows 7 vulnerable to hacks and malware – you’re right.
Do you have to stop using Windows 7 in January? No; you don’t. But your computer – and by extension, you – will be more exposed to any yet-to-be-discovered attacks on the Windows 7 system. And be assured that the bad guys are still looking for ways to attack. There is, frankly, an assumption that the bad guys may be saving up some already discovered vulnerabilities just so that they can spring them on you after Windows 7 end of support.
If you have a computer running Windows 7, it is recommended that you upgrade to Windows 10. You might be able to do that by upgrading the Windows version in your current computer. Whether you can do that, depends on how old the computer hardware is and if it can handle the requirements of the technically advanced Windows 10. Microsoft provides a utility program that will check your hardware to see if Windows 10 will work on it.
If your computer is more than a few years old, there’s a likelihood that it won’t be able to run 10 at all. If that’s the case, then it’s time to consider replacing your old machine with a new computer. Use this as an opportunity to consider all your options: tablets, laptops, convertibles, mini-desktops.
Or, you can take your chances and keep running Windows 7. It will keep working for quite a while. But it will be on you to be even more diligent on the internet and aware of “odd” behaviors when you see them. Be extra positive that you have regular backups of all your documents and photos. (Of course, you do that anyway; right?) Be aware that even the best antivirus program cannot protect you from every attack.
Eventually, in a year or so, you will start to notice that the programs you use will also stop being updated, or may even cease to function. That’s because their newer versions also require the more advanced features of Windows 10, and they’re also unable to continue support for 7. (Business users; this will be a critical issue to you.)
The recommendation is: do the upgrade. Whichever way you need to do it. Rest assured; Windows 10 really is very good.