Skip to comments.Am I Screwed If I Don't Upgrade Windows 7 by January 15? (*Spoiler*: Well, it depends...)
Posted on 01/13/2020 9:11:43 AM PST by dayglored
Deadlines are scary. I know. And Microsoft has thrown Windows 7 users a big one: Update to a more modern operating system by January 15, 2020, or youll never receive security updates ever again. Eventually, Microsoft will even start disabling key Windows 7 serviceslike Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkersthroughout the year.
Im being a little lighthearted about this, but Microsofts abandonment of Windows 7 is a cause of concern for many. Lifehacker reader Douglas recently wrote in with this question:
I was reading your writeup regarding Windows 7 and I really cannot afford to upgrade at this exact moment. Is it catastrophic if I dont upgrade now? Thanks in advance for your helpCatastrophic? No. If youre still clinging to Windows 7, odds are good that youre using it to address simple handful of simpler needssending email, browsing the web, etc. That, or perhaps you have a few specific applications that dont work with future versions of Windows, or you might even be running Windows 7 on old hardware that cant handle the upgrade for whatever reason (speed or available space).
Windows 7 will keep working come January 15. However, now that Microsoft wont be releasing any more security updates for the operating system, its true that Windows 7 will be more vulnerable to attack. No question there.
However, Im willing to go out on a limb and say that youll be able to mitigate most issues with some good common sense. In Lifehacker terms, that means thinking hard about your cyber-security setup at home and doing everything you can to ensure that software doesnt get on your machine that can take advantage of any vulnerabilities that will not be patched going forward.
Were I still using Windows 7, Id go the nuclear option. Id install some variant of Linux on my system and run Windows 7 in a virtual machine, thereby giving me a fresh, updated system to work with for everyday activities, and access to Windows 7 for any super-specific apps or services I need to use. Its not a tricky process, but its possible that setting up this kind of a configuration might be over the heads of many people still using Windows 7. That, or your system is too underpowered to run a VM. (Ill likely write a guide for this next week, so stay tuned!)
Otherwise, theres plenty else you can do to keep yourself as protected as possible from exploits while you cling to the sweet familiarity of Windows 7. The list is pretty comprehensive:
I dont want to come out and say that theres a picture-perfect way to secure Windows 7 starting January 15 (aside from unplugging your computer from the web). Im guessing that most attacks will initiate from user activity; as in, some kind of phishing attempt or malware will trip you up, and this will be how a rogue app infects your system and exploits your older OS. If you practice some cybersecurity common sense, you should be able to avoid most (or all) of these instances.
Thats not to say that you should cling to Windows 7 forever. No operating system is one-hundred-percent secure, but Id much rather stick with an operating system Microsoft is actively patching than one that it isnt. Conversely, even if you bump up to Windows 10, you should still follow the instructions in this article, where applicable. Having solid security practices is one of your best lines of defense against malware, viruses, and other unpleasant digital issues.
Good post. Bump!
Thanks for the post.
You were screwed at Windows 3.11....................
To answer you question, you can keep using Windows 7 as long as you want. I still have a machine that I use about once a week that operates on Windows XP.
The computer does not know that Microsoft is no longer supporting it.
When I jump on my XP machine from my Windows 10 I think wow how much cleaner is this operating system. Windows 10 is okay but you will find the same, that Windows 7 is much nicer to work on.
I spent hours downloading the free Windows ten on my old computers which I love and spent umpteen minutes uninstalling junk as well as other functions which I consider an invasion of privacy. My old Microsoft Office still works well on the newer windows. I am grateful to the Freepers who helped provide guidance during the process. I’m a little technically challenged.
They said, well a didn’t they but still a they.. OS2 Warp support was ending too.
If you have a valid license for Windows 7, you can update to Windows 10 from Microsoft for free, since it will use the activated license for Windows 7.
Oops. . .I meant to say I changed other functions.
Try Linux Zorin — windows-like program (more or less); easy to switch to.
Only thing it won’t do is play some games (it will play others), and while it plays YouTube find, it can’t play Amazon Prime.
Downloaded Win 10 on my desktop years ago. Still like XP better. Just downloaded it on my sister’s Win 7 laptop after years of avoiding it.
I did it three weeks ago. Works like a charm.
This die hard Windows 7 fan is just about ready to join the Windows 10 crowd (and yes I also have Loonix installed). Windows 10 actually runs smoother on the machines I've been testing on.
You can get legitimate Window’s 10 keys on eBay for under $10. All three of my computers have Windows 10 Pro keys I obtained that way. When I reinstall Windows 10 the key is automatically restored, which proves it is registered with Microsoft.
OS2 Warp had so much potential. Sad.
bump for later
I bought a new puter on sale at Christmas time with Win 10 in it. I need to find some kid that can configure everything for me.
Gonna use Win 7 as long as I can.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.