Today is a big day for Windows 7 users as free, official support for the popular operating system finally comes to an end.
From January 14 onwards Windows 7 gets no further software updates, no bug fixes, and no more security patches. For all intents and purposes Windows 7 and its users are abandoned.
But with nearly 28% of all Windows PC owners still running this OS, the end of support is a big deal. It leaves hundreds of millions of PC users susceptible to un-patched exploits and forever vulnerable to newly discovered ones.
Not that folks haven’t had ample warning that the end was coming, of course…
Windows 7 Support Ends Jan 14, 2020
A decade is a long time in computing, and the aged Windows 7 operating system is no exception to that.
First released in 2009, Windows 7 quickly grew to become one of the most popular and successful versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system ever released.
But nothing good lasts forever and mainstream support for Windows 7 ended on January 13, 2015.
Aware that (many, many) people were still relying on the system Microsoft did extend support until January 2020.
Their “extended support” didn’t involve any features but it did involve patching major security flaws and plugging gaps in the operating system’s defences as and when the need arose.
Which, to be blunt, was better than nothing.
Microsoft is extending support for Windows 7 once again, this time only for business and enterprise customers — and not for free. Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) is available until January 2023 on a per-device basis, the price of which increases year on year.
For home users (i.e. the vast majority of those running this system) there’ll be no more band aids, no hand holding, and no protection.
Are you running Windows 7?
If you or anyone you know is still running Windows 7 the first thing you need to do is not panic — at least, not right away. Your computer will continue to work as is.
But you MUST start thinking about switching or upgrading to a newer operating system sometime soon.
Put simply, the longer you run Windows 7 unsupported the more risk you expose yourself, your data, and your system to.
You can run Windows 7 (unsupported) and accept those risks, or you can upgrade to Windows 10 (which is still free if you use Microsoft’s Windows Installation Tool).
Alternatively, you can install a desktop Linux operating system like Ubuntu that is is guaranteed to receive major software and security updates for several years to come (plus free upgrades to newer versions when available).
Switching OS may sound scary but it’s 2020; Linux has come a long way and is now just as user friendly and as performant as other leading systems.
Switching to a modern desktop Linux operating system like Ubuntu not only keeps you safe puts it put you in full control of your system, its apps, and, more importantly, your data.