After 11 years of service and support, Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows 7 marking the end of an era. While Windows 7 has reached the End of Life, there are still around 400M enterprise and individuals that use Windows 7 as their daily driver.
If plan to use Windows 7 after the end of life, we have a list of things you can do to make sure your laptop is safe even if you are not getting updates from Microsoft. Taking these precautions should help you extend the life of your old laptop or PC but they shouldn’t be treated as a long term solution as Windows 7 has reached its end of life.
Get a premium anti-virus
This is a must when it comes to securing an old OS. There’s no such thing as a free lunch and the recent Avast revelation is a proof of that. The good thing is that no anti-virus company has announced the end of support for Windows 7 so you have a variety of software to choose from. We recommend getting Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Quickheal, Microsoft (Security Essentials), and ESET. While under normal circumstances, we would have recommended AVG and Avast, we can’t do so after the recent turn of events. As such, we strongly recommend users to stay away from free anti-virus programs and look for the paid ones.
Make sure your Firewall is on and Use its Whitelist feature
Check the status of your Firewall at Start>Control Panel>System Security>Windows Firewall and make sure its active. Then use whitelisting. Whitelisting allows users to tell the OS which programs to run and which ones to block. This should allow you to ensure no software runs without your explicit permission. To make sure of the feature, head to Start>Control Panel>System Security>Windows Firewall>Allow a program through Windows Firewall. Now you will get a list of programs installed and you can choose the ones you want to allow on different networks (Public, Private or Both). Once done, click Okay to save the settings.
Remove unnecessary/unknown software
This is one thing that everyone should do but if you’re using an outdated OS then you will need to be extra careful. This includes removing software that you don’t need or are the ones that come from unknown sources. To do that, head to Start>Control Panel>Program>Uninstall a program and then select the ones you don’t need or you can’t trust. Once done, restart your computer to make sure the programs are uninstalled correctly. This will ensure you don’t have potentially vulnerable programs or software on your computer. Examples include Java, Flash and old versions of Adobe PDF reader.
Use a password manager and activate 2 Factor authentication
Password Managers have come a long way since they were introduced and they do certainly help keep track of all the passwords. While the best password manager is your brain, in case of Windows 7 it might not cut it. Since the OS is more vulnerable to attacks, we can’t recommend recycling passwords. Hence, the best thing you can do is get a password manager and create unique strong passwords. We recommend LastPass and 1Password. You can also use Chromium-Edge or Chrome or any browser’s password manager but those don’t support 2FA which can leave you vulnerable. Also given the risk that your PC will be hacked is increased, you should activate 2-Factor Authentication on as many devices and services, especially social media and bank accounts, as possible.
Use a supported browser
Internet Explorer is no longer being supported on Windows 10, as is the old Edge, bu both the new Edge and Google Chrome will be supported for another 18 months, and vulnerabilities will likely be patched rapidly. If you have not switched already, now would be a good time to reduce your attack surface by switching to a modern browser. It goes without saying that with a more vulnerable machine you should avoid visiting dodgy websites such as filesharing sites and illegal video streaming sites.
Update your PC to the latest Windows 7 service pack
While there will be no more new patches, it is important to make sure your PC is updated to the very latest patch level for Windows 7. This is particularly important since many users have switched off automatic updates, meaning their PC may be much more vulnerable than they expect.
Microsoft has released patches for outdated OSes in the past and the WannaCry attack is a perfect example of it. Even though you won’t be getting regular patches, you should keep updates enabled and ensure you’re running the latest Service Pack for Windows 7.
Read about Malware and Ransomware, and how you can identify them
Educate yourself about vulnerabilities, scams, frauds, malware, ransomware, etc. While this is another important point for everyone, it’s a must if you are planning to use Windows 7. Keeping a track of different vulnerabilities, malware, etc. will allow you to keep your device safe and your data secure.
Isolate your machine from the internet
This is another thing you should do to ensure you’re safe. As we noted above, using the internet on an outdated OS can leave you vulnerable to attacks. If you only use your PC for Word or the odd game the solution to this is pretty simple. Cut off access to the internet to make sure you’re not vulnerable to security loopholes and attacks. However, if you’re not ready to take this extreme step then you must get a good VPN to make sure your traffic is encrypted. We recommend ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and Hotspot Shield but you can choose others based on your needs.
Create a Limited Account for day to day use
This is a layer of protection which is not commonly used, but which is useful from stopping many pieces of malware in their tracks. Create a Limited Account under Control Panel>Accounts, set up your day to day applications for that account and leave your Admin account for maintenance and other special uses.
This will be helpful as your limited account won’t have access to the critical system files and hence, it won’t allow malware to completely render your computer useless. A limited account will also allow you to delete the account and start over in case something goes wrong or you’re attacked by a malware.
You can create a fresh limited user account from your Administrator account but make sure you don’t give that account admin privileges.
Upgrade to Windows 10
Last but not the least, upgrade to Windows 10. We can’t stretch this enough. This is the best way you can keep your computer safe from vulnerabilities. If you don’t want to pay for Windows 10, there is still a way to get it for free if you have an existing Windows 7 machine.
Microsoft did recommend users to buy new devices to take full advantage of Windows 10. While buying a new device can be expensive, it will certainly be worth and at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether you’re okay with all the effort to keep your old machine running without an issue. We do strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 10 even if it’s on your old device. Even after the end of life Windows 7 will run without any hiccups but Microsoft won’t release security updates or patches for future vulnerabilities which can expose you and your data to attackers.
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.
Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7 with security updates. In other words, Windows 7 is now just like Windows XP—an older operating system that will gradually accumulate unpatched security holes. Here’s how to keep it as secure as possible.
We recommend upgrading to Windows 10. In fact, you can still upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free. But, if you’re sticking with Windows 7 for now, we have some security tips.
Business Users Can Pay For Security Updates
We recommend businesses and other organizations pay for extended security updates if they still use Windows 7. This option isn’t available to home users, and the exact price of the updates depends on whether you have Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 7 Professional.
Disconnect Your Windows 7 PC From the Network
Even if you need Windows 7 for some reason, you don’t have to use it for everything. If you need Windows 7 to interface with a specific hardware device or run a software program that doesn’t run on Windows 10, we recommend keeping that Windows 7 computer off your network, if possible.
Malicious websites and other network-based attacks won’t be an issue. Your Windows 7 system can’t be compromised and turned against other devices on your network. You won’t have to worry about security issues if the Windows 7 system is cut off from the dangerous internet.
If you need to run an older software program that doesn’t run on Windows 10, it may also be worth upgrading to Windows 10 and running that older application in a Windows 7 virtual machine on your Windows 10 desktop. Bear in mind that most older applications will run just fine on Windows 10, so this shouldn’t be necessary for most applications.
We know that many people will continue running Windows 7 and connecting it to the internet. If you are, we’ve got some security tips for locking things down.
Run Supported Security Software
We recommend running a good antimalware tool that still supports Windows 7. Be sure it’s actively receiving updates.
Microsoft says it no longer offers downloads its own Microsoft Security Essentials tool, although MSE still seems available for download on Microsoft’s website. Perhaps Microsoft plans to pull the downloads soon. However, if you have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, it will continue receiving malware signature updates until 2023.
Other security software companies still offer antiviruses that are supported on Windows 7. For example, Lifehacker recommends Bitdefender Free.
Whatever you pick, we also recommend Malwarebytes. The free version of Malwarebytes will let you perform manual scans to remove malware and other junk software from your system, and it also runs on Windows 7.
Microsoft has axed its EMET security tool that helps protect against attacks in favor of the Exploit Protection built into Windows 10. However, anti-exploit software is built into the Premium version of Malwarebytes.
Use a Secure Browser
If you’re still using Windows 7, you should definitely avoid running Internet Explorer. Even Microsoft has recommended moving off of Internet Explorer to a more modern, secure browser.
- Google Chrome still runs on Windows 7 and will support it with security updates until at least July 15, 2021.
- Microsoft’s new Edge browser, based on the same underlying code as Chromium, also supports Windows 7 and will until at least July 15, 2021.
- Mozilla Firefox still runs on Windows 7, too. Mozilla hasn’t said how long it will support Firefox on Windows 7.
With the operating system itself no longer receiving updates, your security software and web browser take on newfound importance in blocking you from threats online.
Secure Your Operating System Settings
If you’re using Windows 7, you should definitely visit Windows Update and ensure you’re up-to-date with all the updates Microsoft released for it. We also recommend having Windows Update automatically check for updates. Microsoft might release especially critical updates for Windows 7 even after the end of support, just as it did for Windows XP.
Keep en eye out for update news, too. Microsoft released an important security update for Windows XP that you had to manually download back in 2019.
The tips for securing your Windows PC are the same as they ever were. Leave important security features like User Account Control and the Windows Firewall enabled.
Avoid clicking strange links in spam emails or other strange messages sent to you—this is especially important considering it will become easier to exploit Windows 7 in the future. Avoid downloading and running strange files.
Remove (and Update) Installed Applications
Windows 7 was released a long time ago, so you may have quite a few applications you don’t really need installed. Worse yet, they may be outdated.
For example, old versions of browser plug-ins like Java, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, and QuickTime are all potentially vulnerable to attack. Go through the list of installed programs in Windows 7’s Control Panel and remove any applications you don’t use.
Ensure all the applications you use are updated to their latest available versions, too. For example, if you still have an old version of WinRAR installed, you need to update it manually or your PC could be vulnerable to malicious ACE archives.
There’s no silver bullet here. Windows 7 will get more dangerous over time as flaws around found. However, the exact attacks Windows 7 is vulnerable to will depend on what security flaws are found, how serious they are, and how easy they are to exploit.
You can keep using Windows 7 and it will still function normally—with some nag messages. Just keep in mind that Microsoft has washed its hands of patching security holes on your machine. We love Windows 7, but its time has passed.
You should upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible, but if you just can’t or won’t, we’ll show you how to level up your Windows 7 security until you can protect your computer.
Windows 7 users should take a few extra steps to protect their machine, since Microsoft no longer supports it.
If you use a Microsoft laptop or desktop running Windows 7, your security is unfortunately obsolete. Microsoft officially ended support for that operating system in January 2020, which means that the company no longer offers technical assistance or software updates to your device — including security updates and patches.
The move came as part of a planned effort to phase out Windows 7 software and migrate Windows users to Windows 10 , the more recent version of your laptop’s operating system, and the one that will receive all of Microsoft’s security patches and updates.
(If you’re a Windows 8.1 user, you don’t have to worry yet — extended support for that OS won’t end until January 2023.)
Stay current on the latest Microsoft news, plus reviews and advice on Windows PCs.
To cut down on your risk of malware from potential flaws and software loopholes, Microsoft recommends that you either upgrade your current device to Windows 10 (you can do this for free), or else buy a new Windows 10 machine . But if you really want to keep running Windows 7 for whatever reason, there are a few things you can do to keep the unsupported OS as secure as possible until you upgrade to Windows 10, one way or another.
Keep your antivirus software up to date
Windows 7 does have some built-in security protections, but you should also have some kind of third-party antivirus software running to avoid malware attacks and other problems — especially since almost all victims of the massive WannaCry ransomware attack were Windows 7 users . Hackers will likely be going after Windows 7 machines even more often now that Microsoft support has ended.
Most of the major antivirus vendors are not yet ending support for Windows 7 devices, according to independent IT security research institute AV-Test. These include Symantec / NortonLifeLock, Bitdefender and Trend Micro , which CNET also recommends for Windows 10 antivirus .
Remove unnecessary applications and files
Getting rid of old or unused applications and files can help lower your chances of a privacy breach. To prune your programs, go to Start > Control panel > Programs > Programs and features. Select any programs you want to uninstall, and hit Uninstall. There are a few ways to look through your files, but one is to go to Start > Computer > Libraries. From there, choose whether you want to go through Documents, Pictures, Music or Videos, and delete files as needed.
To prevent malicious software and unapproved programs from running on your Windows 7 machine, you can whitelist applications that you consider safe, blocking others (so that your banking application doesn’t run while you’re at a coffee shop, for example).
To whitelist applications, go to Start > Control panel > System and Security. Under Windows Firewall, click Allow a program through Windows Firewall. You’ll see a list of your programs, and can check a box for Public or Private network. This will determine which applications can run on which type of network. Click OK to save your settings.
Educate yourself on phishing and ransomware attacks
Basic cybersecurity best practices can go a long way in protecting you from attacks. Always avoid opening emails, links and attachments from people you don’t know, and check sender email addresses carefully to make sure they are actually who they say they are.
Clicking on a malicious link or attachment can infect your computer with a virus, or lock you out of your files until you pay a fee with ransomware. Enabling two-factor authentication — which adds another layer of protection over just a password — for all of your accounts is another strong step to take to prevent someone from breaking in.
Invest in a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a tool that creates a private, secure network between your Wi-Fi connected device and the websites you browse, hiding your activity and providing a private connection. A VPN is a great option for a Windows 7 machine, because it will keep your data encrypted and help protect against hackers breaking into your accounts when you’re using your device in a public place.
Use a password manager
Since using Windows 7 machines now come with increased security risks, reusing passwords won’t cut it anymore. Invest in a password manager that will help you create strong, unique passwords for every account, and keep track of them. A couple options CNET recommends are LastPass and 1Password . Here are the best password managers for 2021 and how to use them .
Isolate the machine from the internet and lock down USB ports
This is pretty extreme, but to more fully protect your computer, you would have to isolate it from the internet and avoid using USB ports. However, this would likely leave your machine less useful, and possibly unfit for using, said Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans.
Ultimately, there is no way to completely protect an unsupported machine, Kleynhans said. “You need to carefully evaluate whether your efforts and money would be better spent on modernizing to Windows 10 rather than continuing to prop up an expired platform,” he added.
Microsoft is ready to push a full-screen warning to Windows 7 users who are still running the OS after January 14. The nag-screen payload is part of the December 10 Patch Tuesday monthly rollup.
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years.
- Windows 7 bug prevents users from shutting down or rebooting computers
- What is your company’s exit strategy? You have four options
- So you want to keep running Windows 7? Good luck with that
- Millions still haven’t upgraded
- This free Windows 10 upgrade offer still works. Here’s how to get it
- How to replace Windows 7 with Linux Mint
(This post was originally published in December 2019. It was updated on January 10, 2020.)
Microsoft has been warning Windows 7 users for the past year-plus that after January 14, 2020, they’ll get no more security updates to the operating system for free. Even though users will be able to continue to run Windows 7 after that date, they’ll be more susceptible to potential security problems. To hammer that point home, Microsoft is planning to deliver a new pop-up notification to Windows 7 users on January 15, 2020.
Microsoft already has been delivering warning notifications periodically to Windows 7 Home and many Pro users about the impending January 14 end-of-support date. But on January 15, the company will push a full-screen notification to those still running the OS to make it clear that “Your Windows 7 PC is out of support.” Note: “The notification will not appear on domain-joined machines or machines in kiosk mode,” the KB article says.
Like it has been doing since last year, Microsoft is delivering this new nag notification to Windows 7 users by making it part of a patch rollup. The coming notification is embedded in monthly rollup KB4530734, which Microsoft made available to Windows 7 SP1 users on December 10 as part of its Patch Tuesday set of updates. This patch is designed to configure Windows 7 PCs that receive it so they will display the January 15 notification starting on that date.
The January 15 full-screen warning will tell users that their PCs are more vulnerable to viruses and malware due to no security updates, no software updates and no tech support. It will say that “Microsoft strongly recommends using Windows 10 on a new PC for the latest security features and protection against malicious software.”
Those who see the full-screen warning will have three options: Remind me later; Learn more; or Don’t remind me again. If users don’t click on the “Don’t remind me again” button and just dismiss the screen, they will continue to get nag warnings.
Microsoft will continue to provide security updates for Windows 7 for up to three years to business users who purchase Extended Security Updates for each of their PCs running the OS. It also will provide Windows 7 security updates for no additional charge for three years to users who purchase Windows Virtual Desktop. Office 365 ProPlus will continue to work on devices with Windows 7 Extended Security Updates through January 2023, Microsoft officials have said.
Google has announced it will continue to support its Chrome browser on Windows 7 until at least July 2021. Microsoft officials have yet to say how long they will continue to support the new Chromium-based Edge browser on Windows 7.
Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. This 10-year period has now ended, and Microsoft has discontinued Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 was January 14, 2020. Technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC are no longer available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.
After January 14, 2020, PCs running Windows 7 no longer receive security updates. Therefore, it’s important that you upgrade to a modern operating system such as Windows 10, which can provide the latest security updates to help keep you and your data safer. In addition, Microsoft customer service is no longer available to provide Windows 7 technical support. Related services for Windows 7 are also also being discontinued over time. For example, certain games such as Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers as well as Electronic Program Guide for Windows Media Center are scheduled to be discontinued in January 2020.
For most Windows 7 users, moving to a new device with Windows 10 is the recommended path forward. Today’s PCs are faster, lightweight yet powerful, and more secure, with an average price that’s considerably less than that of the average PC eight years ago. Our Guide can help you choose a new PC in just a few easy steps.
To take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities, we recommend moving to a new PC with Windows 10. As an alternative, compatible Windows 7 PCs can be upgraded by purchasing and installing a full version of the software.
Download the Guide to Windows 10 app to learn if your PC can be upgraded and to compare your options for moving to Windows 10. Get the Guide to Windows 10 app
*This app is for Windows 7 only
The Windows 10 free upgrade offer ended on July 29, 2016. To get Windows 10 you will need to either purchase a new device or, if you have a compatible PC, purchase a full version of the software to upgrade your existing device. We recommend that you don’t install Windows 10 on an older device, as some Windows 7 devices are not compatible with Windows 10 or could experience reduced feature availability.
If you continue to use Windows 7 after support has ended, your PC will still work, but it will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Your PC will continue to start and run, but will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft.
Windows 7 can still be installed and activated after end of support; however, it will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses due to the lack of security updates. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft strongly recommends that you use Windows 10 instead of Windows 7.
Support for Internet Explorer on a Windows 7 device was also discontinued on January 14, 2020. As a component of Windows, Internet Explorer follows the support lifecycle of the Windows operating system it’s installed on. See Lifecycle FAQ – Internet Explorer for more information.
We recommend you use Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge was built to bring you the best of the web, with more control and more privacy as you browse.
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will continue to receive signature updates after January 14, 2020. However, the MSE platform is no longer being updated. Click here to learn more about learn more about Microsoft Security Essentials.
If you are using Windows as part of a work environment, we recommend you check first with your IT department or see Windows 10 deployment support to learn more.
Windows for embedded devices such as ATMs or gas pumps have lifecycle dates that sometimes differ from versions of Windows that are used on PC devices.
For the best possible experience, we recommend doing a fresh installation of your programs and apps on your new Windows 10 PC. Microsoft Store has a variety of third-party apps that can be easily downloaded and installed. On your Windows 10 PC, you can open Microsoft Store by selecting the icon on the taskbar or by searching for “Microsoft Store” in the search box on the taskbar.
For any software not currently available in Microsoft Store, we recommend going to that company’s official website and downloading the Windows 10 version from there. In limited circumstances, some older software may not have an updated version that’s compatible with Windows 10.
Your experience may be different depending on the Office version you’re running. To learn more, see Windows 7 end of support and Office. It’s important to note that Windows 7 itself no longer receives security updates, leaving your device vulnerable to security threats. As such, if you’re running Microsoft Office on a Windows 7 PC, we recommend you move to a new Windows 10 PC.
Support for Windows 7 came to an end on January 14, 2020. You are receiving notifications as a Windows 7 customer to remind you that your device is no longer supported and no longer receiving security updates. We recommend moving to a new PC with Windows 10. More information on the notification is available here.
Stay protected with Windows 10
Considering a move to Windows 10? Download the Guide to Windows 10 app to explore your options for making the move and get personalized recommendations for your PC.
By Vicky | Follow | Last Updated December 28, 2021
After Jan 14, 2020, Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7 with security updates. In other words, you can still use Windows 7. But how to protect Windows 7 PC and data? This is a question. In this post, MiniTool comes up with some suggestions. Try them now to safeguard your PC and data in 2020.
Quick Navigation :
- Tip 1: Pay for Extended Security Updates
- Tip 2: Don’t Use Internet Explorer on Windows 7 PC
- Tip 3: Install Reliable Antivirus Software
- Tip 4: Visit Windows Update
- Tip 5: Back up Your Data Through the 3-2-1 Rule
- User Comments
At the time of writing this post, it has been 3 days since Microsoft cut off support for Windows 7 on Jan 14, 2020. Have you taken any actions to protect your PC and data if you are still running Windows 7? If not, you need to take action right now.
Support for Windows 7 ended, which means that Windows 7 is in danger as it becomes the target for a series of threats.
You may have heard that numerous Windows PCs hit by the WannaCry ransomware in 2017. In the beginning, Microsoft issued a patch for its supported OS (Windows 7/8/8.1/10), but Windows XP was an exception as support for this OS ended in 2014. Although Microsoft eventually offered a patch for Windows XP to stop the spread of this virus, it indicated the risk of using the unsupported Windows OS.
So, take the Windows 7 PC and data security seriously. If you are used to running Windows 7 and do not want to upgrade to Windows 10, please go on reading and you will get some suggestions to protect Windows 7 PC and data.
This article shows you the differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10. You can make a decision after reading this post.
Tip 1: Pay for Extended Security Updates
This suggestion is for business and originations who are still using Windows 7. Pay for it to safeguard Windows 7 PC in 2020.
What is extended security updated? It is a Microsoft program that is the last resort option for customers who need to run Microsoft operating systems past the end of support. It includes Critical and Important security updates for a maximum of 3 years after the OS’s End of Extended Support date.
But note that this option isn’t available to home users and the price of the program depends on whether you are using Windows 7 Enterprises or Windows 7 professional.
How to purchase extended security updates? Go to the website and you will know how to do that.
Tip 2: Don’t Use Internet Explorer on Windows 7 PC
As I mentioned above, Windows 7 becomes a target for lots of threats. Where do these threats come from? Some of them will come from the unsupported Internet Explorer on Windows 7. You do not want to run an unsecured browser on an unsecured operating system.
Therefore, to secure Windows 7, you should switch to other reliable browsers, like Google Chrome. Max Christoff, director of engineering at Google Chrome, promised that they will continue to fully support Chrome on Windows 7 until July 15, 2021. In other words, in the next 18 months, you can still use Google Chrome on Windows 7.
Tip 3: Install Reliable Antivirus Software
Before Jan 14, 2020, did you merely use Windows Security Essentials for Windows 7 PC protection? If yes, you need to install one reliable antivirus software to safeguard Windows 7 PC in 2020 as Windows Security Essentials is dead, too. You can try Avast, Bitdefender, etc.
Tip 4: Visit Windows Update
Go to Windows Update and ensure you are up-to-date with all the updates Microsoft released for Windows 7. Apart from that, keep an eye on the Windows OS update news because Microsoft might release critical updates for Windows 7 in the future, just as it did for Windows XP in the last year.
Tip 5: Back up Your Data Through the 3-2-1 Rule
To keep data safe, you can adopt the 3-2-1 rule. What does this rule mean? It means that you should make three copies of your data. Two of them are on different storage devices and the left one is in an offsite location, indicating that it is isolated from the public internet and from unsecured systems.
How to implement this rule? Please read the following recommended article.
3-2-1 backup strategy is the best practice for home computers and small business to safeguard against data loss. Follow this backup rule now.
Please take the above suggestions and take action now to protect Windows 7 PC and data.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vicky is a website editor who has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. Most of her articles talk about Windows PC and hard disk issues. Some of her articles also touch on YouTube usage and issues.
During her spare time, she likes to spend time reading, watching videos, and sitting on her Yoga mat to relax.
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How to install Avast Antivirus for Windows 7
It’s easy to start protecting your PC or laptop against viruses and malware with the latest version of Avast antivirus for Windows 7 .
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4 When the progress bar vanishes, your device is protected.
And that’s it! Your device is now secure.
Is Windows 7 still safe to use?
Ever since Microsoft ended Windows 7 support on January 14th, 2020, technical support and security updates from Microsoft are unavailable to people who still use this operating system. Fortunately, there’s still a way to secure your Windows 7 PC: third-party security software, such as the kind offered by Avast.
How do I protect my Windows 7 from viruses?
The same way you protect any PC from a computer virus: with a powerful antivirus!
But if you’re looking for a good antivirus for PC viruses, you won’t find one better than Avast Antivirus for Windows 7. Our powerful Windows 7 virus scanner and removal tool will find any malware on your system and remove it, as well as prevent your PC from becoming infected with any other computer virus in the future.
No matter what type of malware is threatening your system, Avast is the solution.
Does Windows 7 have built-in antivirus?
Windows 7 does have Microsoft Security Essentials included automatically, but even before they stopped updating it, MSE offered only a very basic level of security. This means that for real Windows 7 security, you need a powerful and trusted third-party antivirus to keep you safe.
Is Avast still compatible with Windows 7?
It is possible to get Avast Antivirus for Windows 7, as we still support the operating system. We will continue to ensure that both our paid and free security remains compatible.
What makes Avast one of the best antivirus apps for Windows 7?
Avast offers one of the best Windows antivirus apps. For one, we use the world’s largest threat detection network combined with six layers of powerful security to identify and block malware threats, including zero-day threats. Secondly, our antivirus offers powerful spyware removal tools, protection against ransomware on Windows 7 PCs, and comprehensive virus scans. Finally, our large selection of options and settings ensures you get exactly the level of protection you want.
What will happen to my antivirus if I upgrade from Windows 7?
If you do choose to upgrade from Windows 7, you will need to uninstall and reinstall your antivirus software, which you can do for free. If you have the paid version of our product, Avast Premium Security, you may need to input the activation code again to retain your paid features. Once you do that, you’ll be able to enjoy the latest and greatest from both Avast and Microsoft, specifically if you’re upgrading to Windows 10 and Avast Antivirus for Windows 10.
Microsoft dropped support for Windows 7 in January, and your antivirus company is free to drop support as well. Will your antivirus keep working even if you don’t upgrade?
Nothing lasts forever, and when a new version of Windows arrives, the end-of-life timer starts ticking. Even Windows 10—the “last” version of Windows—has a “best used by” date coming up in 2025. The simple solution is to continue upgrading, but that’s not always possible. If hardware considerations, legacy software, or some other snag keeps you stuck on a defunct operating system, what happens to your antivirus protection?
This is an especially important consideration for users of Windows 7, which died this month. If you don’t upgrade, you won’t get security updates from Microsoft, which isn’t great. Even worse would be the possibility that your security software might abandon your devices. Will that happen then? The researchers at AV-Test Institute in Magdeburg, Germany, decided to find out.
AV-Test Institute is known worldwide for its testing of antivirus products. Reports come out every few months, like clockwork. Testers rate each antivirus on three criteria: Protection, Performance, and Usability. Protection naturally refers to the product’s essential ability to fend off malware attacks and wipe out malware infestations. A good performance score means the product did its job without dragging down system performance. Mistakenly flagging a valid app or website as malicious lowers the product’s usability score.
A given antivirus can receive up to six points in each category, for a maximum of 18 possible points. Those that manage 17.5 or better receive the designation “Top Product.”
While the latest tests all use Windows 10, this lab used to cycle between all active Windows versions. That gave the researchers plenty of experience with validating protection on multiple operating systems. For the report on continued Windows 7 support, they checked company websites and queried the manufacturers directly about continued support for Windows 7.
Good News, for Most
Most of the manufacturers announced no specific date to drop support for Windows 7, which AV-Test experts took to mean support would continue at least two years.
This group includes: AhnLab, Avast, AVG, BullGuard, Carbon Black, ESET, FireEye, G Data, Ikarus, K7 Computing, Kaspersky, Microworld, NortonLifeLock, PC Matic, Quickheal, Seqrite, and Vipre. If you’re using one of these on Windows 7, you’d be wise to check from time to time in case the company does announce an end date for support. TotalAV likewise doesn’t have a specific end date, but will offer support for at least a year.
A few provided more specific dates. Bitdefender will support Windows 7 until Jan. 11, 2022, while McAfee’s support ends in December 2021. F-Secure will continue support until at least December 2021 and Avira until November 2022.
Windows 7 news from Sophos seems to refer to the company’s large enterprise business, not so much to the home products we’ve reviewed. Sophos will offer on-premises support until December 2020 and cloud-managed support until the following June. Finally, Trend Micro doesn’t state any plans for ending support, but offers only limited tech support for those who continue to use Windows 7.
If you don’t see your antivirus or security suite provider noted above, you may need to check with the company directly. You could also bookmark AV-Test’s report and check from time to time, as the company plans to expand it with any new information that arrives.
Hey, What About Windows XP?
Windows XP reached its end of life in 2014, but it still shows up in the most surprising places, like on Vladimir Putin’s desk. If you’re somehow stuck using Windows XP, your pickings for antivirus protection are quite a bit slimmer.
Microsoft cut off upgrades and support for the old operating system in January 2020
by Marc Saltzman, AARP, March 15, 2021
Piotr Swat / Alamy Stock Photo
En español | While Windows 10 is now the world’s dominant desktop operating system, at least 1 in 10 computer users are still running the older Windows 7, according to a recent ZDNet report.
Microsoft officially dropped support for Windows 7, which debuted in 2009, more than a year ago. But some PC owners, perhaps with hand-me-down computers, are reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10 for various reasons. Maybe you think Windows 7 is good enough, or you don’t know how to upgrade your operating system. Perhaps you’re concerned that your aging hardware can’t handle the new software. Or because your budget is tight, you’ve put off buying a new PC.
Whatever the motivations for sticking with the old system, there are compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 10, because of security, functionality and versatility.
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You’re not protected
The single biggest problem with continuing to run Windows 7: You aren’t shielded against threats such as computer viruses, malicious software and ransomware in cyberspace.
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 in January 2020. So while your computer still functions, the company no longer sends out security updates or fixes. Without continued software and security updates, your device and your data are at greater risk.
What’s more, bad actors know that the operating system is no longer getting updates, so they’re exploiting its vulnerabilities. Hackers have targeted Windows 7 users directly or through apps like Zoom running on the machines.
You can’t use the latest apps
By using an outdated operating system, you may not be able to run the latest productivity apps, games or utilities — or their latest versions that fix bugs or security problems. Microsoft discontinued its Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers games at about the same time it stopped upgrading Windows 7. But you can’t replace it with a free app from the Microsoft Store because the store is available only for the Windows 8 operating system and higher. Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 also is not compatible with Windows 7, nor are popular PC games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Avengers, both of which require Windows 10.
No official Windows 7 support means no customer service or technical assistance for any issues. No Windows 7 software will be updated to fix existing problems or add new features.
What you can do
You may be able to upgrade to Windows 10 on your existing Windows 7 machine, but your older hardware may have problems running the newer operating system. The last Windows 7 PCs were sold on Oct. 31, 2016, and the first ones came out on Oct. 22, 2009. Even if your computer meets the minimum specifications for Windows 10, you may get only a short time with your old hardware and new operating system before you’ll need to buy a new PC.
Windows 10, with a price tag that starts at $140, is just not worth the investment for an older laptop or desktop. For most Windows 7 users, moving to a new device with Windows 10 already installed is the best path forward.
Today’s laptops are faster, lighter, quieter and much more powerful than their predecessors. Windows 10 machines are also considerably more affordable than the average PC from eight years ago, according to Microsoft. You can get a new Windows 10 machine for less than $250, but if you can afford a more expensive model (in the $700 range), you’ll find that you can wait longer before you need to buy another.
What you can expect
Windows 10 will closely resemble Windows 7 visually. And you should be immediately comfortable with the way you interact with it and apps you might have used for years, such as File Explorer, Mail & Calendar, Notepad, Paint and Photos.
Some things may be a little different. For instance, the Internet Explorer web browser has been replaced with Microsoft Edge. Windows 10, however, has a lot more features that can make your PC easier to use.
Before you switch to a new machine, be sure to back up your files and photos to an external hard drive, to a USB thumb drive or to the cloud, such as OneDrive. Then you can add them to your new PC.
Of course, laptops such as Chromebooks — which run Google’s Chrome operating system and rely more on software and storage based in the cloud than on the internal hard drive — and Apple Macs are for sale if you want to explore options beyond Windows 10 machines. Chromebooks start at less than Windows 10 laptops but can be just as expensive; Macs are generally pricier.
If you won’t budge from Windows 7, make sure you’re running reliable, up-to-date security software, and regularly back up your important files in case of a damaging cyberattack.
Marc Saltzman is a contributing writer who covers personal technology. His work also appears in USA Today and other national publications. He hosts the podcast series Tech It Out and is the author of several books, including Apple Watch for Dummies and Siri for Dummies.
By Sam Shead
13 January 2020
Cyber-security experts are urging Windows 7 users to upgrade their operating system.
Microsoft is going to stop supporting Windows 7 from Tuesday so that it can focus on “newer technologies”.
As a result, Windows 7 users will no longer receive the all-important security updates and patches that keep their machines safe.
One in four Windows users is running Windows 7, according to statistics website StatCounter.
What does this all mean?
It means that Microsoft is ending the cat-and-mouse game with hackers seeking to exploit software bugs in the Windows 7 operating system.
If perpetrators find a flaw in Windows 7, Microsoft will not fix it.
Without continued software and security updates, Windows 7 machines are more likely to be infected with viruses and malware, Microsoft wrote on its website.
“Running an unpatched machine means that the flaws in the code will never be fixed and as exploits for those flaws become known and widespread, your chances of being successfully attacked grow very rapidly,” said Rik Ferguson, vice-president of security research at Trend Micro.
David Emm, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, added that people need to move to a supported operating system as soon as possible.
What are the risks?
Hackers use malware to invade, damage or disable computers.
It can be used to steal personal and financial data, spy on other users without them knowing, and to hold companies to ransom until a payment is made.
In May 2017, the NHS was hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack.
A government report in 2018 concluded that the attack could have been avoided if NHS Trusts had updated their computers and applied the necessary security patches.
Hackers exploited weaknesses in unpatched versions of Windows 7, as well as to a lesser extent the earlier Windows XP, which Microsoft had stopped supporting.
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What should you do with your Windows 7 PC?
Computers running Windows 7 will still function after Tuesday but they will become less and less secure.
Microsoft is urging people to move to Windows 10, a newer operating system that it sells for ВЈ120.
“Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10,” it said. “And the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC.”
It is possible to install Windows 10 on old PCs but Microsoft warns that it may not run smoothly.
In order to run Windows 10, PCs must have a 1GHz processor, 16GB of hard drive space, and 1GB of RAM memory.
“While it is possible to install Windows 10 on your older device, it is not recommended,” Microsoft said.
That said, Windows 7 users do not need to upgrade if they use their PC offline.
What do UK officials say?
UK authorities have warned Windows 7 users not to do internet banking or send emails after Tuesday.
The warning was issued by the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of Britain’s intelligence agency GCHQ, and first reported by The Telegraph,.
“We would urge those using the software after the deadline to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts,” an NCSC spokesperson told the BBC.
“They should also consider accessing email from a different device.”
What about for businesses?
Some companies rely heavily on applications that only work with Windows 7.
Businesses can pay Microsoft if they want to continue getting updates for Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise.
The Windows 7 Extended Security Updates will be available until 2023 for businesses of all sizes.
Charges range from $25 (ВЈ19) per device to $200 per device and increase each year. The costs will mount quickly for organisations with lots of computers.
For businesses, it is not always easy to upgrade to a newer operating system, Mr Ferguson said.
“There may be business-critical applications that will not run on newer operating systems, or there may be significant costs associated with upgrading those applications,” he said.
Places like hospitals and factories may have equipment that is designed to run exclusively on Windows 7.
“The user is not always able to upgrade without voiding the warranty,” said Mr Ferguson.
January 17, 2020 By Jeff Fowler
So, you have the “Your Windows 7 PC is out of support” popup? Rest assured, it’s not some kind of malware or false warning, it’s legitimately from Microsoft. Around 29.7% of the PC’s in the world still use Windows 7. The message that pops up on boot is pretty ominous but it’s exactly what will inevitably happen if you continue to run Windows 7:
“Your Windows 7 PC is out of support
As of January 14, 2020, support for Windows 7 has come to an end. Your PC is more vulnerable to viruses and malware due to:
- No security updates
- No software updates
- No tech support
Microsoft strongly recommends using Windows 10 on a new PC for the latest security features and protection against malicious software.”
What is end of life?
First, we need to define what end of life is from an operating system perspective. It means that Microsoft will no longer be publishing updates to patch vulnerabilities and bugs that are discovered in the Windows 7/Server 2008 code. Every month since Windows 7/Server 2008 came out Microsoft published updates via Windows Update to make improvements, correct bugs, and patch security vulnerabilities. These updates will no longer be available as of January 14, 2020. This happens to every Operating System, as you may recall with Windows XP (in 2014).
What happens next if I don’t update?
Truth be told, probably nothing in the immediate future. The primary concern will be what will happen after a few weeks. With bugs and security vulnerabilities no longer being patched, it’s just a matter of time before an exploit is found and in the wild. These patches are critical to maintain the health and security of your workstations, laptops, and servers. Without regular patch updates, your infrastructure would be vulnerable to the next worm, virus, or ransomware attack could be on your computer. Also, companies that must follow HIPAA, SOX, and PCI should be aware that they may no longer be compliant with their respective requirements.
What do I need to do?
You should upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible. Currently, there’s a shortage of business grade hardware available. There’s also a shortage of labor because this EOL affects any business using Windows 7 PC (There’s still quite a few).
If you have any questions about the end of life of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2, call your on-demand IT partner, SandStorm IT, at (901) 475-0275.
Can I Use Windows 7 After January 14, 2020 or Do I Have to Upgrade to Windows 10?
If you’re still running Microsoft’s Windows 7 on your computer, maybe it’s time to upgrade to Windows 10. After January 14, 2020, Windows 7 won’t be supported.
If you are using Windows 7 on your computer, you need to be aware that after January 14, 2020, Microsoft won’t release any additional updates or support for Windows 7. Even though Windows 10 has been available for about four years, Windows 7 (which was originally released on October 22, 2009), is still running on millions of computers worldwide. Since all of the Windows 7 support will end on the deadline of January 14, Windows 7 OS has been displaying ”end of support” notifications. If you’re receiving these notifications, that means your computer is still running Windows 7. Many current Windows 7 users wonder if they can still use Windows after January 14, and what will happen to Windows 7 after that date. To help decide what to do, here is a list of FAQs and answers.
Can I still use Windows 7 after January 14, 2020?
Yes, you can continue using Windows 7 after January 14, 2020. Windows 7 will continue to run as it is today. However, you should upgrade to Windows 10 before January 14, 2020, because Microsoft will be discontinuing all technical support, software updates, security updates, and any other fixes after that date. Your computer will become less secure without any updates the longer you go without them.
What will happen to Windows 7 after January 14, 2020?
Nothing will happen to Windows 7. But one of the problems that will happen is, without regular updates, Windows 7 will become vulnerable to security risks, viruses, hacking, and malware without any support. You may continue to get “end of support” notifications on your Windows 7 home screen after January 14. However, anyone still running Windows 7 Professional and/or Enterprise editions can purchase extended security updates through January 2023.
Can I reinstall and activate Windows 7 after 2020?
Yes. You should be able to install or reinstall, then activate Windows 7 after January 14, 2020. However, you won’t get any updates via Windows Update, and Microsoft will no longer offer any kind of support to Windows 7.
Can I upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 without losing programs and data?
Most programs and data should be transferrable to Windows 10, but you should back up your computer or network before you upgrade in case any problems crop up.
Does my current PC’s hardware support Windows 10?
If your computer is running Windows 7, it should be able to run Windows 10. In other words, the minimum requirement for both Windows 7 and Windows 10 are the same. It’s recommended that you use the official Media Creation Tool to upgrade, because it will scan your computer for any compatibility issues before you upgrade.
Is Windows 10 better than Windows 7?
Yes. Windows 10 is a better operating system than Windows 7. And, Windows 7 is 10 years old, and can’t give your computer the security level needed now.
Can I try Windows 10 before buying it?
Yes. You can follow the instructions to download the Windows ISO file guide to the most recent version of Windows 10. It will tell you how to prepare a bootable USB of Windows 10, and then you can install in alongside Windows 10 to try it out.
How do I upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10?
The process of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is easy to follow when you go through the steps outlined for the official Media Creation Tool. And most importantly, backup your computer BEFORE you download Windows 10.
We have moved Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 SP0 (Service Pack 0) versions of our security software into Maintenance Mode. This article provides more information on how this decision potentially impacts you.
Why are Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 SP0 being moved to Maintenance Mode?
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in 2014, Windows Vista in April 2017, and Windows 7 SP0 in January 2020.
Unsupported versions of Windows no longer receive software updates from Microsoft that improve Windows stability and security.
It becomes progressively more difficult for software developers like us to provide new feature enhancements to unsupported operating systems.
What does “Maintenance Mode” mean?
Maintenance Mode means that the Norton security software installed on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 SP0 will continue to receive certain services, like malware definition updates, but that certain other services, like new product capabilities, will no longer be provided.
What services will continue in Maintenance Mode?
Your Norton security software will continue to receive the latest malware definitions by LiveUpdate.
Your Norton security software will continue to receive vulnerability updates and compatibility fixes.
You will continue to enjoy the Virus Protection Promise * , if applicable.
What services will stop or change in Maintenance Mode?
Your Norton security software will no longer receive the new product updates that the customers on supported versions of Windows (Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 SP1) will receive.
Due to Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla no longer providing browser support for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 SP0, we no longer support the Norton Password Manager browser plug-in. You will still be able to access your stored passwords through the main service interface or Norton Password Manager website. We will no longer support automatically filling in forms or saving passwords from the browser.
Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 SP0 devices with Norton security software have more protection against malware than an unprotected system would.
Contact Member Services & Support for assistance on helping you resolve this issue.
Can I still use Windows 7 after 2020? Definitely, you could use it another 3 years if you are running Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise, and paid for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU).
By Ivy / Last update December 13, 2021
Windows 7 end of support
According to the Microsoft website, it has stopped providing free technical assistance and software updates, bug fixes for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, and itвЂ™s highly recommended that upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 to get safety protection. Otherwise, you probably encounter other threats like cyber-attack, viruses, etc.
However, what to do if you still want to use Windows 7 after January 2020? First of all, you may need to check how to block TCP port 445 to survive from virus like WannaCry Ransomware.
Disable Windows 7 end of support notification
If youвЂre currently running Windows 7 system, like Starter, Home Basic or Premium, Professional or Ultimate version, and installed Windows update KB4530734 (includes EOSnotify.exe), you might receive the full-screen information every day: Your Windows 7 PC is out of support.
If you donвЂ™t want to see the warning and continue using Windows 7, you could click DonвЂ™t remind me again option, or uninstall the Windows KB4530734 update, or just disable the notice by editing the registry key as follows:
1. Press Win+R Keys;
2. Type Regedit in the Run dialog and hit Enter;
3. Find the following path to set:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ EOSNotify]
4. Then, modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD value DiscontinueEOS, then set the value to 1.(Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you can only create a 32-bit DWORD value)
Now Windows 7 PC is out of support warning is blocked. And Windows 7 will not stop working, it will run as usual. However, your Windows PC will face more risks if you do not get critical updates.
Get Windows 7 Extended Security Updates
Is it safe to run Windows 7 after January 14, 2020? Of course not, unless you get Windows Extended Security Updates.
You could not stay on Windows 7 forever but could use it another 3 years. Because Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) includes a maximum of three years for critical and important security updates if you paid for it, and it will end on January 10, 2023.
Note: The Windows 7 ESU is available for Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise Edition.
Can you get Extended Security update for free? Yes but limited. For security updates only, you could receive Windows 7 ESU for free from Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop, which provides a Windows 7 device with free Extended Security Updates through January 2023.
The cost for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates quite expensive. The Windows 7 ESU (not for home user) is sold on a per-device basis, and the price increases each year:
For Windows 7 Enterprise organizations, it will cost $25 per device in the first year, $50 per device in the second year, and $100 per device in the third.
For Windows 7 Pro organizations, it will cost $50 per device in the first year, $100 per device in the second year, and $200 per device in the third.
How to stay as safe as before after windows 7 end of life?
Although you could receive significant updates from Windows 7 Extended Security Updates after January, it does not mean that you can relax your vigilance. ItвЂ™s highly recommended to backup your Windows 7 data to external hard drive just in case.
The comprehensive yet free backup software – AOMEI Backupper Standard will do you a big favor. You could use it to backup Windows 7 operating system and program files, and important personal documents, even entire hard drive to other locations, like external hard drive, local drive, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, NAS, network share, and clouds, etc.
Here is how to backup Windows 7 computer to external hard drive with AOMEI Backupper Standard, follow the instructions:
Step 1. Run the AOMEI Backupper Standard after installing.
Step 2. Choose the Backup tab at the left panel, and select Disk Backup.
Step 3. Click + Add Disk button to add your Windows 7 System hard drive (or multiple hard drives) as a source disk to backup.
Step 4. Then choose an external hard drive as the destination to save the disk backup image file (suffix with .adi).
в‚ You could modify the Task Name to distinguish with others.
в‚ Options: It allows you to comment backup, enable encryption for backups (only in paid version), Email notification, compress, split backup image, choose backup mode, etc.
в‚ Schedule: You may want to set the disk backup daily, weekly, monthly, or event trigger, USB plug in (the last two only in paid version), the task will run at the time you set. Besides, you could choose a way to perform the scheduled backup, Incremental backup, Full backup, and Differential backup (only in paid version).
в‚ Scheme: This is a paid function, you could set the number of backups to retain for Full Backup Scheme, Incremental Backup Scheme, Differential Backup Scheme, Space Management Scheme, etc.
Step 5. Click Start Backup>> button to backup all the data in Windows 7 computer.
Now, your Windows 7 computer will run safely, there is no need to worry about data loss before January 2023. There are some useful features, you might be interested in real-time sync, dissimilar hardware restore, etc.
Furthermore, cloning the entire hard drive is another great way to keep your data safe. Can I still use Windows 7 after 2020? The answer is positive, but less than 3 years. So, upgrade for Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the ultimate way, make sure your computer meets the corresponding conditions to upgrade. Or just buy another Windows 10 computer.
January 21, 2020 Computer Consulting
If you haven’t already upgraded to Windows 10, add the task to your to-do list.
Microsoft Windows 7 support has ended. Going forward, consumers won’t receive updates of any kind, including critical security patches, for the 10-year-old platform, potentially putting their computers at increased risk for viruses and other forms of malware.
The company had been urging PC owners for five years to move to Windows 10, which it claims is the most secure version of the operating system ever developed. But many refused, countering in online forums and on social media that Windows 7 is “the best version of Windows ever.”
From July 29, 2015, to July 29, 2016, Microsoft offered the Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users free of charge. It now costs $140 on the company’s website.
Despite the fee, it’s a good idea to make the shift to Windows 10 to protect your privacy and security. Here’s more on the pros and cons of performing the upgrade.
Why is Support for Windows 7 Ending?
Supporting the software behind an outdated operating system has become too costly, even for a company as large and rich as Microsoft.
Operating systems require “constant maintenance,” says Bogdan Botezatu, director of threat research and reporting at the Bitdefender cybersecurity firm. “It’s difficult to maintain code from several years ago while at the same time trying to maintain code for the latest operating system. Companies will do everything in their power to try to migrate customers to the new version.”
To Microsoft’s credit, the cutoff date for Windows 7 support was announced with the release of the operating system in October 2009.
Microsoft also points out that the 10-year life span for Windows 7 is longer than what’s offered by its competitors.
For instance, the oldest operating system to receive updates from Apple within the past year is macOS Sierra, released in 2016; it was last updated in September 2019. It’s worth noting that macOS upgrades are free as long as your hardware is compatible. Catalina, the latest version of macOS (released in October 2019), supports laptops released as far back as 2012.
The ultimate goal for Microsoft is to commit fewer resources to Windows 7 and focus more on making Windows 10 (released in 2015) as secure as possible against today’s threats.
“We’d still be supporting DOS if we never dropped support for an operating system,” says Kevin Haley, director of security response for Norton LifeLock, the Symantec-owned cybersecurity company.
What Does ‘End of Support’ Actually Mean?
Now that support for Windows 7 has ended, Microsoft will no longer produce updates for the operating system. That means you won’t receive new features, such as, say, a faster search bar or improvements to Microsoft’s Alexa-like digital assistant, Cortana. But more to the point, it means you’ll be cut off from security updates, which puts you and your data at greater risk.
“When someone is using an outdated version of the operating system, this increases their risk of being attacked through an exploit: a program, piece of code, or even some data designed to take advantage of a bug in an application,” says Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, head of antimalware research at the Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity firm. “Whenever a new vulnerability is discovered, the operating-system vendor usually delivers security patches only to the supported versions.”
And so, as of today, Windows 8.1 and 10 will be the only versions supported by Microsoft. If your laptop runs Windows 8.1 (a free upgrade from Windows 8), you’ll continue to get updates until January 2023. Windows 10 users should receive at least five more years of support, based on Microsoft’s history.
And while antivirus software can protect you from malicious software, a Microsoft spokesperson says it may still leave you vulnerable to “sophisticated attacks, like phishing and ransomware” if your operating system no longer receives updates.
“That’s the risk,” says Hale of Norton LifeLock. Because there’s no knowing how a virus or malware will interact with an operating system, there’s no guarantee an outside security company can fully defend you against it.
Will Your Computer Continue to Function?
Yes, your Windows 7 laptop will continue to operate largely as it does today. You can browse the web with Google Chrome and create and edit documents in Microsoft Word or Excel. Your printer won’t suddenly stop working. In fact, not much of your day-to-day computing will change.
“Windows 7 will still work just fine,” says Adam Kujawa, director of Malwarebytes Labs, the research and development division of the Malwarebytes cybersecurity company. “I mean, I can still use Windows XP on a system and it’ll still work just fine.” (Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014.)
But just because your laptop will power on and let you print your child’s book report doesn’t mean that’s a smart move.
Ideally, you should move to Windows 10.
How Do You Move to Windows 10?
You can download Windows 10 from the Microsoft website or buy the software on a thumb drive from a retailer such as Amazon, Best Buy, or Walmart. Either way, the upgrade will cost you $140.
The installation is fairly simple. Using the detailed instructions provided by Microsoft, you reboot your PC and follow the on-screen prompts. The process takes about an hour depending on the age of your computer, the company says.
Before you begin that process, though, be sure to do a backup, preserving the contents of your computer on an external drive or in cloud storage just to be safe.
You’ll need at least 8GB of free space to download Windows 10 from Microsoft. You might consider loading the software onto a blank DVD or a USB thumb drive to start.
Microsoft also recommends that you consider buying a new PC. While clearly a more expensive proposition, it will be faster and more secure, according to a Microsoft spokesperson. It might even have a fingerprint reader and webcam that you can use to log in to Windows, security features that were rare just five years ago.
And a computer like that is less expensive than you might think. You can find laptops from well-known companies such as Asus and HP in our ratings for less than $500. You can even find a few good options for less than $300.
They might not be powerful enough for gaming and video editing, but if you’re looking for a Windows 10 laptop that lets you safely browse the web, watch a few video clips, and balance the family budget in Excel, then they’ll do nicely.
Article provided by ContentMX and Consumer Reports.
Easy, 5-minute-or-less process!
- Western Governors University
What to Know
- Turn on or restart your PC. Before the splash screen appears, press F8 to enter Advanced Boot Options.
- Highlight Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt and press Enter.
- To start Windows 7 in Safe Mode, log in with an account that has administrator permissions.
Starting Windows 7 in Safe Mode is the next step when starting Windows normally is not possible. Safe Mode only starts the most important Windows 7 processes, so depending on the problem, you might be able to troubleshoot or fix the problem from here.
As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.
How to Start Windows 7 in Safe Mode
Follow these instructions to start Windows 7 in Safe mode.
Not using Windows 7? See How Do I Start Windows in Safe Mode? for specific instructions for your version of Windows.
Just before the Windows 7 splash screen appears, press the F8 key to enter Advanced Boot Options.
You should now see the Advanced Boot Options screen. If not, you may have missed the short window of opportunity to press F8 in the previous step and Windows 7 is probably now continuing to boot normally, assuming it’s able to. If this is the case, just restart your computer and try pressing F8 again.
Once you’re in the Advanced Boot Options, you are presented with three variations of Windows 7 Safe Mode you can enter. Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight either Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt and press Enter.
- Safe Mode: This is the default option and is usually the best choice. This mode will load only the absolute minimum processes necessary to start Windows 7.
- Safe Mode with Networking: This option loads the same processes as Safe Mode but also includes those that allow the networking functions in Windows 7 to work. You should choose this option if you think you might need to access the internet or your local network while troubleshooting in Safe Mode.
- Safe Mode with Command Prompt: This version of Safe Mode also loads a minimum set of processes but starts the Command Prompt instead of Windows Explorer, the usual user interface. This is a valuable option if the Safe Mode option didn’t work.
Wait for the Windows 7 files to load. The minimum system files necessary to run Windows 7 will now load. Each file being loaded will be displayed on the screen.
If Safe Mode freezes here, document the last Windows 7 file being loaded, then search the internet for troubleshooting advice.
You don’t need to do anything here, but this screen could provide a good place to start troubleshooting if your computer is experiencing very serious problems and Safe Mode won’t completely load.
To start Windows 7 in Safe Mode, you must log on with an account that has administrator permissions. If you’re not sure if any of your personal accounts have administrator privileges, log in using your own account and see if that works.
If you’re not sure what the password is to an account with administrator access, see How to Find the Administrator Password in Windows for more information.
Entry into Windows 7 Safe Mode should now be complete. Make any changes you need to make and then restart the computer. Assuming there are no remaining problems preventing it, the computer should boot to Windows 7 normally after a restart.
As you can see in the screenshot above, it’s very easy to identify if a Windows 7 computer is in Safe Mode. The text “Safe Mode” will always appear in each corner of the screen when in this special diagnostic mode of Windows 7.
With January 14, 2020, the support for Windows 7 officially ended. Of course, it isn’t as if your PC is going to stop working or refuse to boot. However, your biggest concern will be that your PC is now wide open for viruses and malicious attacks without Windows security.
You’ll have to make some quick decisions –because Windows 7 users have to look for greener pastures ranging from updating to Windows 10 or investing in a new PC.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s move to scrape support for Windows 7 is not unexpected or unplanned. Windows 7 was launched in 2009 and enjoyed immense popularity for 10 years among its user base. According to a report by Netmarketshare, 39% of PCs still use Windows 7. But with the time ripe for Windows 10 to get its own limelight, Microsoft has decided to dedicate all its efforts and resources in bringing about improvements to the new OS instead of Windows 7.
Here are a few options to consider if you’re using Windows 7 and wondering what to do next.
1. Continue using Windows 7 by paying for security patches
If you’re running any business that employs computers running Windows 7, then you’ll have to worry about the hassle of training all your employees on using the new operating system version. If you think it’s not worth the trouble and willing to pay for continuing to use it, you can pay for extended security for Windows 7.
Expect the cost to be about $25 per device you use for a year, $50 for the next year, and $100 for the subsequent year. Microsoft does not anticipate that Windows 7 users would be large enough to offer security patches.
2. Upgrade to Windows 10
This is the most straightforward choice, one that will give you many benefits. For starters, since both the systems are designed by Microsoft the upgrade will be easy and simple and you’ll not have to make any major changes to your stored files, as you’ll be able to retain them even after the upgrade. However, keep in mind that even though you’ll get to keep the files, there’s no harm in having a backup on a hard disk elsewhere.
You might consider saving some money by investing in Windows 8 instead of Windows 10, but keep in mind that it won’t be long before Windows 8 faces the same fate as Windows 7.
Buy, install, and start running Windows 10 on your PCs – sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a catch. To run it, you need to buy a Windows 10 license, which can be quite expensive.
There’s another problem too – Even though Windows 10 is designed to run on older hardware, it, of course, functions much better on modern and newer PC models. You can check the Microsoft website for the minimum specifications needed for running Windows 10. AS a rough guide, Windows 10 is ideal only if your PC runs on a 2 GHz dual core processor with 160 GB hard drive and 4 to 8 GB RAM.
3. Buy a new laptop or PC (Windows or Mac)
If you’ve already working with the same device for several years, this can be a good excuse to buy a new computer. This might also be the time to consider investing in an Apple Macbook and enjoying Apple’s excellent hardware design, security, and operating system. Whatever programs you’ve used in Windows can be purchased and installed in your Mac system. Before investing in a Mac, keep in mind that all Apple products are much more expensive but on the other hand, an Apple computer would last much longer, on an average, than a Windows PC.
Irrespective of whether you’re planning to buy a Mac or another Windows PC, don’t forget to check out reviews of all models and weighting all the pros and cons before buying one.
4. Consider choosing Linux OS
This is one of the most cost-effective ways of making the transition away from Windows 7. Consider completely shifting your OS – choose Linux! Since Linux is constantly updated by dedicated developers on a regular basis, you can be assured that Linux is protected from all recent security threats. There are also many different versions (the most popular one being Ubuntu) of Linux available and best of all, Linux is completely free!
The important thing you need to do before you install and use Linux is to find someone or a course material that’ll teach you the basics of getting started with this OS. You might also want to consider using Linux Mint with a user interface that is supposedly closely similar to Windows 7, making it a great choice for anyone quitting Windows 7.
The advantages of Linux are many – you can find different versions, even ones that’ll work on old hardware and you can also run it on CD or DVD (called “live CD”) instead of installing it if you want to give it a try before committing to it. And even though you might not be able to find Microsoft Word, you’ll still find different apps offering similar word editing programs.
5. Keep a back up
Are you undecided and need to time to decide what your next course of action is? Then, get busy taking a backup of all your programs and documents elsewhere until you make the decision. It’s necessary no matter what you choose. If you’re upgrading to Windows 10, you’ll need to anyway backup your files just in case. If, instead, you’re choosing to try Linux or buy a Macbook, you’ll still format your hard drive or shift to a completely new hardware and data backup is a must.
There are several different ways to get this done. Buy an external hard drive with at least 1 TB capacity and transfer everything from your PC or laptop. Cloud storage services like Dropbox are good options, too. With cloud storage, you have the ease of transfer of data and downloading and synchronizing everything onto your new computer. Also, continue backing your documents on a regular basis, now that your PC is at a higher risk of security threats and viruses.
Kaspersky recently conducted a study based on anonymized OS metadata provided by consenting Kaspersky Security Network users. The survey found that almost one quarter (22%) of PC users are still using the end-of-life OS Windows 7, which stopped receiving mainstream support in January 2020 by way of the vendor no longer sending software updates including critical security fixes.
According to the report, among those still using Windows 7, consumers, SMBs and very small businesses (VSBs) occupy almost the same share with 22% each. It is also noteworthy that almost a quarter of VSBs still use the outdated OS as they do not have dedicated IT staff responsible for ensuring their OS is up-to-date.
Kaspersky’s findings also showed that only a small percentage (less than 1%) of people and businesses still use older operating systems, such as Windows XP and Vista, support for which ended in 2014 and 2017 respectively. Overall, almost one quarter (24%) of users are still running a Windows OS without mainstream support. Fortunately, 72% of users are using Windows 10, the latest version of Windows OS, which appears to be the safest choice.
Knowing the risks of an end-of-life operating system is a good start, but acting on that knowledge is a smart way to finish. To protect yourself or your business, Kaspersky recommends the following:
- Use an up-to-date version of the OS and make sure the auto-update feature is enabled.
- If upgrading to the latest OS version is not possible, organizations should consider this attack vector in their threat model and ensure smart separation of vulnerable nodes from the rest of the network.
- Use solutions with exploit prevention technologies, which help to reduce the risk of exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities that can be found in and obsolete OS (Windows 7 and earlier).
‘Using an operating system which has been declared end-of-life, and thus is no longer receiving security updates, is akin to driving a car with a brake light on. The likelihood of disaster is great and yet it’s difficult convey this to users of such systems without it appearing to simply trying to get them to spend more money,” says Oliver Tavakoli, CTO at Vectra, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of technology which applies AI to detect and hunt for cyber attackers. “This would be a good place for a government or NGOs to step in to provide incentives and programs to upgrade as it makes the entire ecosystem more secure.”
Dirk Schrader, Global Vice President, Security Research at New Net Technologies (NNT), a Naples, Florida-based provider of cybersecurity and compliance software, explains, “Public procurement policies have quite often no contingencies for outdated OS, in the same way as the notion ‘it still works’ is dominant in discussions when decisions have to be made about where to spend money from constrained budgets. It will be interesting to see how this percentage is affected by the Biden administration’s initiatives over the course of the next twelve months.”
Schrader adds, “As digitalization efforts will require additional systems, it is quite likely that existing one’s remain unchanged. In any case, those organizations still using Windows 7 are easier targets for cyber-attacks due to the lack of updates (if they haven’t signed up for the extended paid support) and likely face some public backlash and loss of reputation in case a data breach happens, not to mention the impact such a scenario might have on the cyber risk insurance status. As an organization, if you have no other option, make sure your devices are hardened, the firewalls rules are restrictive for those, and that they are all on a separate part of your network, using VLANs or internal firewall zones.”
More than six months after the end of life of Windows 7, the operating system is still alive and well. In fact, devices are nearly just as prevalent as they were last year.
Windows 7 devices accounted for 15% of all endpoint operating systems in the Forescout Device Cloud as of June. While this is not a comprehensive account of all devices, it represents a significant sample size with more than 12 million unique IT, Internet of Things, and operational technology (OT) devices across every major industry.
As a sign of the operating system’s prevalence overall, it was only in January 2019 — four years after it first launched — that Microsoft’s most recent operating system Windows 10 surpassed Windows 7 in usage. Microsoft put the end of life into effect January 14, 2020.
This month, the FBI issued a private industry notification warning that it had observed cybercriminals targeting outdated operating systems and recommending that companies update to the most recent versions in order to reduce risk.
“Continuing to use Windows 7 within an enterprise may provide cyber criminals access into computer systems. As time passes, Windows 7 becomes more vulnerable to exploitation due to lack of security updates and new vulnerabilities discovered,” the FBI warning says. With fewer customers able to maintain a patched Windows 7 system after its end of life, cyber criminals will continue to view Windows 7 as a soft target, the agency adds.
The end of life of Windows 7 meant that Microsoft would no longer be issuing ongoing security updates for the operating system. While this does not make the operating system more prone to cyberattacks right away, it does mean that it will become inherently less secure over time as patches are not issued for newly found vulnerabilities.
“You can continue to use Windows 7, but once support ends, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. Windows will operate but you will stop receiving security and feature updates,” Microsoft says in a warning to users about continuing to use the out-of-date operating system. It encourages them to update to the latest version, Windows 10.
The devices still running Windows 7 could be found in companies in nearly every industry, from government to financial to manufacturing, according to the Forescout figures. These devices could include PCs, servers, and a variety of other devices, all of which at this time are unsupported from a cybersecurity perspective by Microsoft.
However, updating many of these devices isn’t necessarily as simple as it might sound because there are millions of Windows 7 devices still out there, and the average organization could have hundreds or even thousands of these devices. Organizations will have to first identify which devices are still running the out-of-date operating system, then take the time to update each.
Further complicating that challenge is updating many devices in operational technology or critical infrastructure environments may unintentionally break the functionality of critical software running on that device, or the device itself. The organization may also not be able to tolerate the downtime needed to update the device if it is responsible for a critical function, such as in a healthcare or manufacturing environment.
The continued occurrences of Windows XP, which was made end of life in 2014, illustrates this challenge of moving devices off of legacy operating systems. According to the Forescout data, tens of thousands of devices are still running Windows XP nearly six years after it is no longer supported.
Organizations who have instances of devices that cannot be updated for any of these reasons may want to consider other risk mitigation steps they can take, especially as the amount of time that the operating system has been unsupported grows. In particular, this risk underscores the benefits of a zero-trust architecture, which starts from the assumption that all devices are risky unless proven otherwise.
Implementing zero trust starts with having a deep and comprehensive understanding of all devices on the network and their risk posture, including devices like those running Windows 7 that may have additional risk factors. That context can then be turned into security policies and network segmentation strategies based on a device’s individual risk posture. Ideally, an organization can implement this framework across all types of networks, including wired, wireless, cloud, and OT.
The vast majority of devices running Windows have made the upgrade to Windows 10. According to Forescout, 78% of Windows devices are running that most recent operating system, which is consistently updated with security patches. For the remaining Windows 7 devices, organizations should deploy a strategy to identify and secure them.
Now that Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, the only way to keep the operating patched for newly discovered security vulnerabilities is to pay for Microsoft for Extended Support. If that’s not an option for your organization, then it’s only a matter of time before many of your computers running the aging operating system are compromised.
That said, you can reduce the vulnerability of machines still running Windows XP. These 10 tips will help.
1. Don’t Use Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer is the source of many vulnerabilities. As recently as the end of April, a new IE zero-day vulnerability was discovered. This flaw let attackers take control of Windows computers, putting millions of Windows users at risk until it is patched.
“The more potentially severe issue is that anyone still using XP will be completely exposed as long as they continue to use the unsupported OS,” says Pedro Bustamante, a security expert at anti-malware vendor Malwarebytes. “For them, there will never be a patch.”
Instead of IE, use a browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox that still receives security patches.
2. If You Must Use IE, Mitigate Risks
One key reason many organizations still run Windows XP is to run old versions of Internet Explorer to access internal applications that are incompatible with other browsers or more modern versions of Explorer.
You can reduce the risk by removing third-party browser plugins such as Java, Flash and PDF viewers, since Explorer vulnerabilities often come from these types of plug-ins.
3. Virtualize Windows XP
If the need to run an old version of Internet Explorer is the only reason for staying on Windows XP, consider upgrading to Windows 7 and then running the old version of Explorer in XP Mode. This is a Windows XP virtual machine that runs inside Windows 7 and allows you to launch XP Mode applications (such as old versions of Explorer) from the Windows 7 desktop.
The advantage of this approach is that XP is used only when absolutely necessary (to access legacy applications, for example). The rest of the time the user is working in the more secure Windows 7 environment.
XP Mode is a free download for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate editions.
4. Use Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit
EMET is a free Microsoft tool which lets you to force applications to “backport” to XP some of the security measures present in later versions of Windows.
One such technique is Structured Exception Handler Overwrite Protection (SEHOP), which was introduced in Windows Vista to help prevent buffer overflow exploits. EMET lets you extend this protection to XP machines.
You can download EMET 4.1 from the Microsoft Security TechCenter.
5. Don’t Use Administrator Accounts
Many of the vulnerabilities that affect Windows XP — 92 percent of all critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s 2014 security bulletins, according to a 2013 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study carried out by Avecto — can be exploited successfully only if the user is logged onto an account with administrative rights.
Making users log in to standard, nonadministrator accounts makes it possible to mitigate the overwhelming majority of the risks of running Windows XP at a single stroke. In larger organizations, privilege management software can be used to control user accounts and elevate privileges when necessary.
6. Turn Off ‘Autorun’ Functionality
A common way to infect computers with malware is to automatically run executable software that’s present on a USB drive when it’s inserted.
It’s possible to disable all Autorun features in Windows XP Professional by configuring Group Policy settings — but an easier way is simply to download and run Microsoft Fix it 50471. (Autorun can be re-enabled if necessary by running Microsoft Fix it 50475.)
7. Turn Up Data Execution Prevention Protection
Data Execution Prevention Protection (DEP) is designed to prevent the execution of malicious code on parts of the computer’s memory that are intended to hold data rather than program code. Malicious code may be placed in these parts of memory during a buffer overflow attack, and an attempt may subsequently be made to execute it from this location.
To get the maximum protection from DEP, ensure that it’s turned on for all applications. (If a particular application becomes unstable with DEP turned on, you can selectively disable DEP for that application.)
To set DEP for maximum protection follow these steps:
- Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl and then click OK.
- Click the Advanced tab. Under Performance, click Settings.
- In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Data Execution Prevention tab.
- Select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select.
8. Don’t Use Office 2003 (or Office XP)
Support for Microsoft Office 2003 and earlier has been discontinued along with support for the Windows XP operating system. To minimize the chances of a Windows XP machine being compromised through Office, you should upgrade to a later version of Office or use an alternative product such as the open source LibreOffice.
It’s also important to ensure that any other software running on a Windows XP machine is up to date with the latest security patches and to discontinue the use of any software (such as Outlook Express) that’s no longer supported if an alternative exists.
9. Make the Most of Available Windows XP Security Software
Windows XP may not be updated anymore, but it does have some defenses. This includes the built-in firewall (which should be turned on) and plenty of antivirus options.
Microsoft’s free Security Essentials antivirus product will continue to receive updates until July 14, 2015. Other well-known vendors such as McAfee have pledged support for at least two years; some, such as ESET, have promised support for at least three.
10. Disconnect From the Network
Some legacy hardware such as scientific equipment may work only with Windows XP due to the lack of more up-to-date drivers.
If you only need Windows XP in order to use this type of hardware and acquire data from it, consider disconnecting the computer from your corporate network (and the Internet) if it’s possible to transfer the acquired data to other computers manually (by using a USB stick, for example).
At the very least, you should use network segmentation to isolate Windows XP machines from more sensitive parts of your network.
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Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7. That means it will no longer provide updates or security patches for the 11-year-old operating system, and the hundreds of millions of PCs still using it are vulnerable to attack.
One-third of PCs around the world run Windows 7, according to NetMarketShare.
So, if you’re one of those people impacted, what can you do?
Good news, for starters: You don’t have to throw your computer or laptop out of the window(s). It’s still usable, but it’s less secure. Microsoft is warning users in a special website that they will be at “greater risk for viruses and malware” because it will no longer provide security updates or fixes.
Microsoft is suggesting you do one of two things:
First, upgrade your existing equipment to Windows 10. The $139 version is good enough for most PCs — even some older ones that still run Windows 7. There’s also a Windows 10 Pro version for $199 if you use it for business purposes.
To check if your computer will be able to run Windows 10, Microsoft has published a compatibility guide that will help you determine whether your specifications meet the minimums for the latest version of Windows. For example, your PC needs at least 32 GB of hard drive storage space, 1 GB of RAM and a processor with a clock speed of at least 1 GHz. Those aren’t exactly stellar specs, but some older Windows 7 PCs won’t make the cut.
If your computer can’t run Windows 10, it might be time to buy a new one. Even if you missed the flurry of holiday deals, Microsoft notes that computer prices are considerably lower than they were five to 10 years ago, when Windows 7 was in its heyday. Microsoft has created a quiz to help you find the right computer.
If you’re not going to do either of these things, well, good luck to you. The internet is filled with malware that might infect your Windows 7 machine, so keep your browser updated. Google Chrome said it will continue providing updates to browsers running on Windows 7 PCs until July 2021. Microsoft also said it will provide security updates for its Edge browser for around the same time, according to a report. (CNN Business didn’t immediately hear back to confirm the date.)
Still, browser updates alone aren’t sufficient to protect your computer against hackers and bad actors. Operating systems have zillions of lines of code, and despite more than a decade of fixes and patches, holes and bugs continue to become apparent. Now that Microsoft has stopped updating Windows 7, those bugs will live on forever, ready to be exploited by bad actors.
This is not a hypothetical. The massive WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 left millions of Windows XP computers vulnerable to attack. Microsoft ultimately relented and issued an emergency patch for the then-16-year-old operating system, but it has not updated it since. Hackers exploit the most vulnerable parts of the internet, and Windows 7, with its millions of users, will quickly become one of those.
So get Windows 10 or a new Windows 10 PC. Or buy a Mac. You’ll be a lot safer when you do.
– Last updated on January 15, 2020 by VG
Yes, you read it right. After completing 10 years, Windows 7 has reached End of Life (EOL) or End of Support (EOS) today on January 14, 2020 which means Windows 7 is now no longer supported by Microsoft. Microsoft will not release any new update for Windows 7 in future.
If you are still using Windows 7 in your computers, you should definitely read this article! In this guide, we’ll try to cover all frequently asked questions (FAQ) and everything you want or need to know about Windows 7 End of Support.
Microsoft announced in past that beginning January 14, 2020, the company will stop supporting Windows 7 operating system and the date has come. End of Support means no future updates will be provided to Windows 7 users from Microsoft.
Table of Contents
Will my Windows 7 computer stop working after January 14, 2020?
Not at all. Your Windows 7 computer will keep working as it is but Microsoft will stop supporting it and will stop releasing updates for it which you download and install from Windows Updates.
Does that mean no more security or critical updates?
Might be or not. Technically Microsoft will not release any new security update for Windows 7 but if a critical vulnerability is found in Windows 7 in future, Microsoft may release a security patch to fix it as the company has done with Windows XP in past ( Read here ). Microsoft provided security fixes for Windows XP users in past even after the End of Support for Windows XP. So we can expect the same for Windows 7 but nothing can be confirmed.
Microsoft will also provide paid ESU (Extended Security Updates) for Enterprise and SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) customers only. ESU will be available through cloud solution provider partners and volume licensing. If you subscribe to ESU program, you’ll receive security updates for critical and important issues which are defined by Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC). ESU will be provided to Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise editions only.
What should existing Windows 7 users do?
I’ll advise to upgrade to Windows 10 operating system which is fast, secure and reliable. I’m using Windows 10 in several machines since the day it was released to public and never faced issues or problems (yeah, sometimes issues may occur in all operating systems but it depends upon installed software, configuration and usage pattern).
All 3rd party software support and are compatible with Windows 10. Many software even install only in Windows 10.
Also you can install Insider Preview builds of Windows 10 in your computers which are free to use and are updated regularly. We regularly post updates about these testing builds in our exclusive topic.
Insider Preview builds are testing builds (you can consider them as Beta builds) of Windows 10 which contain new features and changes which will become part of future Windows 10 versions which are released as Feature Updates for Windows 10 twice an year.
We also post tips-n-tricks and troubleshooting articles for Windows 10 regularly on this website, so you’ll always stay updated with Windows 10 if you follow us.
What if a user wants to stay with Windows 7?
No problem! You can keep continue using Windows 7 until your installed 3rd party software are supported to work with Windows 7. But in coming days, many software companies will stop supporting Windows 7.
If you use a reputed antivirus , firewall or security suite software in your Windows 7 computer and you regularly get virus definition updates from them, you can safely use Windows 7 in your machine without worries.
But anytime anything can happen to your Windows 7 device as 3rd party software may stop working due to incompatibility with Windows 7, device drivers may stop working, hackers may find new vulnerability in Windows 7 which might not get immediately fixed by your security software program. In such case, you may have a hard time in using your computer.
So I’ll advise all Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 and have a tension free life.
Or switch to Linux world which is open source and free…
If you decide to move to Windows 10, following tutorials will help you:
If you decide to stay with Windows 7, you must check out following articles:
Published in: Windows 7
About the author: Vishal Gupta (also known as VG) has been awarded with Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award. He holds Masters degree in Computer Applications (MCA). He has written several tech articles for popular newspapers and magazines and has also appeared in tech shows on various TV channels.
NOTE: Older comments have been removed to reduce database overhead.
Within a week of Microsoft withdrawing support to Windows 7, the frailties of the old version were exposed, as evidenced by data from anti-virus firms which have products running on these machines.
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Enterprise software is hard to replace. The high cost associated with acquiring and upgrading often keeps corporations hooked to a particular version of a product till something fungible can be sourced. This often happens after the incumbent product no longer serves the purpose, or if exposes the corporate network to vulnerabilities.
Microsoft’s decision to withdraw support of Windows 7 will renders millions of computers across the world vulnerable to attack. While newer versions to Microsoft’s credit, it had given users an extended window to swap their old software for the latest iteration of Windows.
But users who did not opt in at the time will now have to deal with advanced threats since security patches will no longer cover their system software.
“With Microsoft no longer supporting Windows 7 devices, any new vulnerability will no longer be patched by the manufacturer. This will leave these devices, as well as users and their critical data, at heightened cyber risk. There are already reports of a significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks targeting Windows 7 devices and the situation will only get worse,” said Trishneet Arora, CEO, TAC Security.
Users who did not opt in at the time will now have to deal with advanced threats since security patches will no longer cover their system software.
The popularity of Windows 7 could prove to its undoing in the current circumstances. “Worldwide, roughly 26% of PC users are still running Windows 7, the operating system (OS) that as of January 14 will no longer receive technical support in the form of updates and patches from Microsoft. According to our own research, more than a third (38%) of our PC customers have Windows 7 installed, which is largely down to ongoing preference for the product versus newer versions,” said Martin Zima, Senior Product Manager for Protection Products at Avast.
Within a week of Microsoft withdrawing support to Windows 7, the frailties of the old version were exposed, as evidenced by data from anti-virus firms which have products running on these machines. “The best thing for enterprises and individuals with systems still operating on Windows 7, in this scenario, is to upgrade to the latest OS versions as soon as possible. Enterprises, in particular, must also look at investing in cutting-edge vulnerability management solutions to address the additional threat-risk,” said Arora of TAC Security.
“Windows 7 devices are now extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Any newly-discovered vulnerability will not be patched by Microsoft and these devices will also not receive the periodic updates that make it difficult to execute exploit codes. Cybercriminals will try to take advantage of this situation through targeted attacks. Installing strong security software will be essential for users and enterprises operating these systems,” he added.
However, small companies incapable of making an immediate upgrade might be forced to invest in third-party software to sanitize their computers. “In the interest of our users’ security and privacy, Avast will continue to provide virus definition updates for Windows 7 for those who are unable or do not wish to make the switch to a newer version of Windows,” said Zima of Avast.