Be prepared: Microsoft’s support ends in January (2020)

What’s happening? 

Over a decade after Windows 7 was introduced, Microsoft will shortly be discontinuing its extended support for its best-loved operating system of recent times. 

If your computer is running on Windows 7, as of January 14, 2020, when extended support ends (mainstream support expired in 2015), it will no longer receive security updates, and technical support from Microsoft customer service will cease to be available. 

Support for the Internet Explorer web browser will also end on that date (the two are connected). 

We strongly recommend that you upgrade to Windows 10 (or alternative up-to-date operating system) before then. 

What does this mean for you? 

If you continue to use Windows 7 after support has stopped, your computer will still work, but will be more vulnerable to security threats due to the termination of automatic security updates. 

However, please be aware that, over subsequent months other software vendors will be ceasing their support and updates for their applications operating on Windows 7. In time, the latest versions of applications, such as web browsers (which are particularly vulnerable security-wise), will no longer be available for – or function on – Windows 7. 

Upgrading to Windows 10 will keep you and your data safer. 

What do you need to do to upgrade to Windows 10? 

You have three options: 

1. Upgrade your existing Windows 7 machine: this will depend on its age and technical specification. Your computer needs to be of a minimum grade (processor, memory etc) to run Windows 10 comfortably, so we would suggest that it’s assessed to confirm its compatibility and capacity to be upgraded, and is economically worthwhile, particularly if it’s a few years old. 

If you have previously upgraded your operating system on that computer, we would suggest that you don’t upgrade again (unless the hardware has been upgraded too). 

It is still possible to upgrade from Windows 7 directly to Windows 10: old or incompatible applications may be removed, but those more contemporary will remain in place and not require re-installation. Also, your existing files (photo’s, documents etc) will be kept. 

To perform a ‘clean’ Windows 10 installation, it may be necessary to purchase a licence (currently £120 from Microsoft), see below. 

2. Replace the hard drive: should your computer be getting on a bit, we would recommend taking this opportunity to replace its hard-drive (as that’s the machine’s vital component, and most prone to failure over time). This will extend the life of the computer, and – depending on the type of drive purchased – could also significantly increase its speed. 

This would be a clean install (though generally not requiring the purchase of a Windows 10 licence), so your existing files (photo’s, documents etc) will need to be backed-up prior to undertaking the upgrade process, for restoring once it’s complete, and your programs/applications will be need reinstalled – if they’re compatible with Windows 10. 

3. Purchase a new computer with Windows 10 already installed: today’s machines tend to be cheaper, faster and more powerful, less noisy and – in the case of laptops – lighter, with longer battery life.  

It will, of course, be necessary to back-up your old data, to be transferred to the new machine, and install your old applications, printers etc. 

We are happy to offer advice about what to buy, if that was your next question!  

Finally, if you’ve read that you can pay for updates until 2023… 

Paid security updates will be available to volume license users of Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise versions through to January 2023. You can register to pay for these, but our advice is to make the move now and benefit from Windows 10.  

Please do get in touch if you have any further questions, or would like our assistance with any of this on 01869 352002.