From speaking with our users, Windows 7 seems to be a fan favourite when it comes to Windows’ operating systems. Many of our Windows users have either Windows 10 or 7, with Windows 8 and 8.1 being the least popular. But will Windows 7 continue to be a safe choice?
Recently, a reader left a comment on our article asking, “…once Microsoft is not doing Windows updates how safe is my computer going to be? Yes, I still have Windows 7.” Since many of our customers are in this boat we wanted to cover this in-depth.
When does support stop?
Microsoft already ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015. However, they recently announced that on January 14, 2020 they will “no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7.”
This means even if gaping holes are found in the software’s security Microsoft will not offer patches to individual users. Large companies can still access these patches but the prices will get higher and higher until they are phased out completely.
In short this means in 2020, most Windows 7 users won’t have access to a safe and secure operating system any more.
Can I still use my computer?
Yes, your computer will still turn on and you’ll still be able to log on and use the Internet like normal. However you might experience hardware issues, wireless bluetooth keyboards and mice might not pair properly with your Windows 7. Also you might not be able to rely on new drivers for speakers or printers to connect properly with your device.
Other software versions will drop support for Windows 7 as well. For example, Chrome and Firefox dropped support for Windows XP a few years after Microsoft stopped providing Windows XP updates.
What steps should I take?
Also make sure to up your FixMeStick usage on those Windows 7’s for an extra layer of protection. Try running it twice a month instead of once a month.
If possible, you can update to a later version of Windows that is still supported like 8, 8.1 or 10.
Does this happen with Apple?
Yes. Windows is actually more transparent in this process, they let consumers know end-of-support dates well in advance of phasing out software.
With Apple it’s more of a guessing game. Remember when they used to name it’s operating systems after big cats? Well you didn’t receive a notification but security updates for Version 10.8 Mountain Lion are far gone.
Now Apple names newer operating system versions after California’s scenic landscapes. The pattern Mac watchers have noticed is that Apple supports security updates for three operating systems at a time– which now means Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave.
Most recently Apple has stopped releasing security updates for El Capitan. On the Apple Security Release page, the only place Apple publishes their security updates, you can see El Capitan was last patched in June 2018.