It’s D-day for everyone still using Windows 7. From today, January 14, 2020, Microsoft stops providing support of any kind for the venerable operating system.
You can still keep using it, of course, it’s just not recommended. As you should know by now, no more support means no more security patches or updates will be developed by Microsoft for Windows 7, leaving users massively vulnerable to any new malware that specifically targets the OS.
The implications are rather serious, as that means using Windows 7 for things like banking, online shopping, and social media – any service that asks you to verify your identity, really – opens you up to potential cyberattack.
Potential consequences including having your identity stolen, your bank accounts accessed, or your system infected with ransomware.
This does indeed sound like fear-mongering, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true, or that you’re not at risk for sticking with Windows 7.
And we get it, we loved Windows 7 too, but it’s now time to let it go. The OS has been superseded by Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, both much more secure operating systems in their own right, plus both feature quality of life and performance improvements that make them a pleasure to use.
They’re also both going to be supported by Microsoft well into the future – Windows 8.1 has until January 10, 2023, and Windows 10 will be supported indefinitely since Microsoft is doing Windows 10 End of Life very differently. As long as you install the latest Windows 10 updates, you’ll be covered with support for literally years to come.
A not-so-subtle reminder
Should you choose not to update to Windows 10, you can expect this reminder to pop up on your desktop from January 15th:
Upgrade to 10 for free
Fortunately, Microsoft actively wants people to upgrade to Windows 10, and so hasn’t ended the free upgrade option that was “officially” available for a year after Windows 10’s initial release.
That means Windows 7 users can still make use of the offer today, albeit unofficially. But more importantly, not illegally.
To that, follow these instructions:
Download and install the Windows Media Creation Tool, use it to create a bootable Windows 10 installation USB drive, and reboot. Follow the prompts that appear.
Just don’t opt to do a fresh install – when asked, choose the option that lets you keep your files; that’s the only way Windows 10 will accept your Windows 8/Windows 7 serial number and give you Windows 10 for free.
If you want to do a fresh install of Windows 10, however, you’ll need to buy a brand new Windows 10 license. That’s the only catch here.
This is all confirmed in this article on UK tech website Tech Radar. However, nobody seems to know how much longer the free upgrade will work, so best do this sooner rather than later.
So it’s not all bad news, then.
Farewell, Windows 7, and thanks for your service. Enjoy your retirement, old friend.