As of 14 January 2020, Microsoft has discontinued updates and patches for its decade-old operating system, Windows 7. This is in line with the 10 years of product support the company committed to when Windows 7 was released on 22 October 2009.
In a statement, the tech company announced that the decision was made in order to allow Microsoft to focus “our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences”.
Windows 7 is one of Microsoft’s most popular operating systems, with as much as 39% of all PCs in the world running it. However, with newer and better operating systems also gaining traction among both corporate and home users, Microsoft’s decision to stop offering support is a logical one.
While Windows 7 users will still be able to run the OS on their machines, they will be left vulnerable to malicious programmes and other security threats – against which they will be defenseless, as patches for security problems and new viruses won’t be issued anymore.
What should Windows 7 users do now?
In order to keep their data and machines safe, users and businesses that are currently using Windows 7 as their main operating system should consider the following options:
- Upgrade your OS to Windows 10: Provided a PC meets the requirements necessary for Windows 10, users might consider upgrading to this newer operating system.
- Upgrade your machine: If your PC is not able to run Windows 10, a more cost-effective option might be to invest in a new machine, which already comes with the latest Microsoft OS pre-installed.
- Switch to Linux: This open-source, free operating system is available to anyone, and is regularly updated to keep your computer safe against security threats. There is a plethora of Linux versions (or distributions, also called “distros”) to choose from, and some even have user interfaces that are quite similar to Windows 7.
Whichever option you choose for your home or business, remember to always back up important files before installing a new operating system.
If your business still uses Windows 7 and you are unsure about the way forward, let Agora Tec suggest a managed IT solution that works for you, or streamline your business’s communications and collaboration with the Microsoft Office 365 suite.