Is Windows 7 Dead?

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Is Windows 7 Dead? a reader asks…

I’ve been reading about the impending demise of Windows 7. Do I really have to upgrade to Windows 10?

Strictly speaking, no. Windows 7 will continue to work beyond the ‘end of life’ date (January 14, 2020). What’s happening is that Microsoft will no longer provide support or updates of any kind to consumers and anyone else using Windows 7 who doesn’t have a specific agreement (mostly enterprise customers).

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But truthfully, I wouldn’t operate a Windows 7 computer on the internet, period. Windows 7 has been a security risk for its entire life, such that companies like Norton, Trend Micro, ESET, and BitDefender have made oodles of money selling security programs for Windows 7. Even after all this time of Windows Updates, Windows 7 still has huge security holes and risks to it, and Microsoft is no longer going to plug any of those holes.

That means your personal data is at risk if you use a Windows 7 computer connected to the internet. Even if you don’t connect to the internet, you’re still at risk from media (thumbdrives, CDs/DVDs, etc.) that you might run on that old PC. Malware is insidious and pervasive, and most consumers simply aren’t going to take all the necessary steps to protect themselves. It’s too much work and trouble. Fortunately, Windows 10 has basic protection built-in (finally!) and comes with automatic updates turned on by default.

Fyi, keeping your computer’s operating system and installed programs up-to-date is one of the primary ways to protect your computer from being hacked. Old and outdated software provides an easy path for malware to creep in.

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So walk or run to your nearest computer supplier (online or in person) and get yourself a new PC with Windows 10. If your current computer isn’t too old, you might be able to upgrade it to Windows 10, but frankly, I find most PCs designed for Windows 7 to be too slow and cranky to work well in Windows 10. And the upgrade isn’t a simple point and click operation either.

If you still want to try, Forbes has an article on how to get your Windows 10 upgrade for free. Not sure how long Microsoft is going to leave that loophole open, but it’s worth a try.

I’ve previously written about this subject, in Windows 7 – Time’s Up. If you want to upgrade your old PC, it should have at the bare minimum, 4gb of RAM to run Windows 10 (I personally wouldn’t run it on less than 8gb of RAM). Also consider that your old internal spinning hard drive may die on you at any time (and is soooo very much slower than a modern solid-state hard drive).

If you do decide to buy a new PC, you should look for a laptop or desktop that has at least 8gb of RAM, a solid state hard drive (sized to your needs), and Windows 10 pre-installed. From there, use my setup guide New PC Configuration. You may also want to run through the Windows 10 Power Options list to make sure you get that set up correctly.

So please don’t delay, replace (or upgrade) that aged Windows 7 PC asap.

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