Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that support for Windows 7 would end Jan. 14. What does this mean for owners of Windows 7 computers?
First, not much. Most people on Windows 7 won’t notice anything different. Their computers will continue to operate exactly as they did before Jan. 14. No disaster or malfunction will occur due to support ending.
Of course, Microsoft would like you to pay for a Windows 10 upgrade or, better yet, buy a brand-new computer (from Microsoft, naturally) but that isn’t necessary just because Windows 7 support is ending. Many people don’t want Windows 10 with its questionable data collection and unusual interface. In fact, according to a survey done last year, there are more people still using Windows 7 than people who have upgraded to Windows 10.
The good news is that you probably don’t need to upgrade right now. Yes, you won’t be getting future bug-fixes but, after 10 years of extensive use and updates, how many bugs could be still undiscovered in Windows 7?
How about years in the future?
Well, that depends on a number of factors. If you don’t make any hardware or software changes to your Windows 7 computer, everything should continue to operate as it has for the foreseeable future. Even if you add some external hardware, like a different printer or a new monitor, it should continue to work well with Windows 7.
A few years ago I met a person who was still running Windows 3 — 20 years after its release! The computer was pretty old and slow but he was running a small business using one piece of software that only ran on Windows 3.1. He didn’t want to go to the trouble of learning new software — and he really didn’t have to. Everything still worked fine for him.
Only you can determine if you need to upgrade to Windows 10. Basically, if everything continues working the way you want it to, you don’t need to upgrade.
I should add that you can purchase Microsoft Extended Support, which would continue to send security updates for your Windows 7 computer for up to three years. If you need this additional support for Windows 7, contact Microsoft for more information.
How about my antivirus software? While it is doubtful that Microsoft will continue to support their Microsoft Security Essentials software for Windows 7, other antivirus software companies should continue to provide updates. Contact your security software company to check how they plan to support Windows 7 computers in the future.
If you are using Microsoft Security Essentials as your only antivirus protection, you might consider getting a different antivirus software for protection after Jan. 14. Some non-Microsoft anti-virus software is available for free or very low cost. Check out Avast Free Antivirus, Avira, Bitdefender Internet Security, AVG Internet Security and Panda Security.
Will Microsoft Office continue to run?
Yes. Just like the Windows 7 operating system itself, Microsoft Office and other software designed for Windows 7 will continue to function exactly as before. Microsoft says that Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 365 will all continue to be supported for the time being.
The bottom line is this: All software that is running on your Windows 7 computer today will continue to run after Jan. 14. You always have the option of upgrading to Windows 10 later.