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.
If you are not sure which version of Windows you are currently using, check out our post here to find out.
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 want to address the question – Will Windows 7 continue to be a safe choice?
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 any security issues are found in the Windows 7 software, Microsoft will not fix these security issues for individual users. Large companies, however, can still receive security fixes but at higher prices.
Can I still use my computer?
Yes, your computer will still turn on and you’ll still be able to use your programs and surf the Internet. However, applications such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will eventually drop their respective browsers for Windows 7 users. Another popular browser, Microsoft Edge, does not work on Windows 7 at all.
Additionally, you might experience hardware issues. Wireless bluetooth keyboards and mice might not pair properly with your Windows 7, and new drivers to connect speakers or printers might not work properly.
What steps should I take?
Without the latest browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, you will be exposed to many threats while surfing online. In fact, Internet Explorer is one of the worst browsers when it comes to online security.
That’s why it’s imperative to have a third party antivirus. We recommend McAfee since it protects against ransomware, has a file lock function, and even an anti-spam filter so you can stay safe while using Windows 7 and Internet Explorer.
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 just once.
Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?
Obviously, one of your options is to upgrade to a later version of Windows that is still supported like 8, 8.1 or 10. Microsoft offered their customers a free Windows 10 upgrade back in 2016, but this offer is no longer available.
Today, the cost to get the full version of the Windows 10 software is over $100 for a single computer license. You can also purchase a brand new computer that comes with the Windows 10 software. But keep in mind this will cost at least $500 or more and is less environmentally friendly like we discussed in our Earth Day blog here.
If you would like to continue using your Windows 7 computer, you can run a computer optimization software such as System Mechanic to enhance its performance. This will cost you less than $25 from our online store.
And of course, for added security, you can run an antivirus software like McAfee alongside with your FixMeStick, which will cost you a combined total of less than $100 per year. For enhanced security when you are surfing online, you can consider using a virtual private network such as NordVPN, which also costs less than $50 per year.
Does this happen with Apple?
Windows is actually more transparent in this process, they let consumers know end-of-support dates well in advance of phasing out software.
However, 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.