In 2015, Microsoft introduced the Windows 10 operating system. Many businesses – including Word&Way – upgraded our hardware and software to start taking advantage of faster speed, touch technology, and the ability to run on a variety of devices.
Well, except me. My relatively-new laptop had a compatibility issue with the Win 10 OS. So it was a rollback to Windows 7.
Admittedly, I was not too upset; change and I have an adversarial relationship. Win7 met my needs and we worked well together. I did not particularly want to get to know Cortana, its built-in voice assistant, or her friends, Groove Music and the Edge browser.
(Note to Apple fanboys who are probably thinking, “You should just get a Mac.”: Stop. Just stop.)
I knew my days with Win7 were numbered. Microsoft had announced that the end of extended support would be January 14, 2020 (tinyurl.com/MAF-Win10-1). And finally, we have arrived.
While that does not mean your computer running the Win7 OS will suddenly stop running and turn into a giant paperweight, it does mean Microsoft now no longer sells or supports it. (To know what version you are running, press the Windows key + R, and input winver.)
Software will increasingly not be designed to run on out of date operating systems. More importantly, Microsoft will wash its hands of providing free technical support, software updates, and security updates.
Of the 1.2 billion computers running Windows, between 200 and 446 million are still running the out-of-date operating system. These will be extremely attractive targets for hacking and cyberattacks.
What should you do?
- Businesses, but not individuals, can purchase Windows 7 Extended Security Updates annually, per machine, with the price doubling each year (tinyurl.com/MAF-Win10-2).
- If you continue to use Win7, disconnect your device from the internet to protect it and your data.
- Can your Win7 computer run Win10? Microsoft will help you know at tinyurl.com/MAF-Win10-3.
- You may be able to still upgrade to Win10, or upgrade from the Home to Pro version, free. Check details at tinyurl.com/MAF-Win10-4.
- Microsoft has more information about end of support, steps to take, and a quiz to assist you in choosing a PC that meets your needs: tinyurl.com/MAF-Win10-5.
- Use migration software such as Laplink PCmover to easily move your applications and files to the new computer; its basic version is currently free (tinyurl.com/MAF-Win10-6).
Ken Satterfield wrote this last column on his Win7 laptop (sniff).
How Can I Tell If My Computer Can Run Windows 10? (Ask Leo)
The End of Windows 7 Is the Real End of the PC Era (ZDNet)
20 Pro Tips to Make Windows 10 Work the Way You Want (free PDF) (TechRepublic)