What happens to Windows 7 in January?

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I get questions regularly now from people asking, “What happens when Windows 7 expires?” They’re concerned that their computer will stop working, or that they will lose their important files. Fortunately those things won’t happen, but there is still reason for concern. Here’s the bottom line.

 

The main factor for consideration here is Windows Updates.

Every month, on the second Tuesday, Microsoft sends out Windows Updates. This is called Patch Tuesday, because many of the updates being sent are to “patch” security problems that have been discovered. New issues are always being found and fixed by Microsoft. This is part of their ongoing support of their Windows operating systems.

This coming January is when that support ends. January 14, 2020 will be the final Patch Tuesday for Windows 7. After that, no more updates, no more security fixes.

If you’re still using Windows 7 on January 15, 2020, your computer will still run. In fact, you will probably not notice any difference other than Microsoft might display a pop-up window on your screen at each bootup, reminding you that Windows 7 support has ended. That actually might start even BEFORE it expires. This is the message Windows XP users saw when that operating system was about to retire:

 

But even though your computer and Windows 7 will still function, don’t be deceived into thinking that all is okay. It’s not okay.

Security holes and flaws will still continue to be found in Windows 7, no different than what’s been happening for years. The difference now is – they won’t be fixed.

So when Microsoft comes out each month with all the new security patches to fix those vulnerabilities, Windows 7 users won’t get them. And guess what – the hackers know about those security problems, and will be hard at work creating ways to exploit them.

For home users, this creates a situation where your computer is not safe to use. For business users, you are exposing yourself (and your clients) to potential legal and liability risks that could be disastrous.

So if you are currently using a computer that runs Windows 7, you have two options:

  1. Upgrade your computer to Windows 10. Right now, I can do this for you remotely for $180. On July 1, 2019 the fee goes to $225. Before we do the upgrade, we’ll create a backup to your portable drive. So if you don’t have a backup for your computer already, that will be another good outcome for this. Upgrading is much less expensive than buying a new computer.
  2. Buy a new computer. Of course, any new PC you buy now will already be running Windows 10. A new computer will come with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (bloatware), and something things you DO need won’t be on there. And we’ll need to get all of your files and folders moved over from your old computer. I can do all of this remotely for you as well. If your computer is old, replacing it might be the more cost-effective solution.

Some people who have never used Windows 10 are still a bit wary about doing this upgrade. Here’s my take on that: you have nothing to worry about.

When Windows 10 first came out, it had problems. And Microsoft was practically forcing everyone to upgrade, whether you wanted it or not. It was one of the most clumsy and scummy product rollouts I’ve ever seen, and back then I was telling everyone to stay with Windows 7, and actively block that upgrade. Not now.

Windows 10 has been out for almost 4 years now, and a lot of the original problems have been fixed. It still has some “features” baked in that most people would consider privacy invasions, but I disable many of those are part of the setup. And, it’s very intuitive to use. There’s the old reliable Start button where you can see all your programs, and putting a program shortcut on the desktop is even easier than it is in Windows 7 (you just drag and drop it there).

So what are you waiting for? Time to move to Windows 10!

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Mary McCormick
May 27th, 2019

I have a ‘new’ computer that has Windows 10 on it, but the ‘shortcut’ says it is no longer working – and I can’t find W 10 anywhere, when it used to be there. Now what do I do?

Scott Johnson
May 27th, 2019

If your new computer boots up and you’re looking at the desktop screen (with all the icons), that is Windows 10. It’s the actual operating system that’s running the computer and all your programs.