Microsoft will definitively stop supporting Windows 7 on Tuesday. In principle, consumers, companies and organizations can no longer receive updates for the operating system. Seven questions and answers for fanatic Windows 7 users.
Why is Microsoft stopping Windows 7?
Simple: what was brand new in 2009 is dated ten years later. In the meantime, Microsoft has released two new major versions of its operating system for PCs and laptops: Windows 8 and Windows 10. In the long term, the company focuses on the latest operating system. Older versions, including now Windows 7, are being phased out.
I have installed Windows 7. Can I still use computers?
Yes, your computer will continue to work as normal. You do have to do it from Tuesday without security updates. If serious errors are discovered in Windows 7, Microsoft basically no longer resolves them. That way you expose yourself to all kinds of risks. Malicious parties who misuse the errors may possibly steal your data.
Do I need those updates?
Certainly, is the answer from experts. The rule is: technology is never watertight. Newer versions of Windows, and all kinds of other types of software, also detect errors. This is done by developers of software, independent researchers and by (benign or malicious) hackers.
If a manufacturer, in this case Microsoft, is notified of those bugs, the company can perform updates to address the vulnerabilities. Microsoft is now stopping that. Your PC or laptop is therefore vulnerable to attacks and viruses.
In addition, Windows 7 users can no longer use technical support from Microsoft and programs can eventually become unusable or begin to show cures. Microsoft therefore advises users to switch to Windows 10.
Is stopping support really final?
Basically it is. However, Microsoft does give companies, governments and organizations the opportunity to purchase personal support. Microsoft offers that extra support for the next three years, but only for the business versions of Windows 7. For consumers, support is not possible.
In the past, the central government has paid millions of euros to Microsoft to continue to receive support for Windows XP. This predecessor of Windows 7 is no longer supported since April 2014, but tens of thousands of government computers could not be updated on time.
Is there life after Windows 7?
Hell yes. The successor to the operating system, Windows 8.1, is in principle also supported. However, this version awaits the same fate: from January 10, 2023, Windows 8 will no longer receive security updates. Since 2018, Windows 8 no longer receives regular updates.
If you want to be sure in the long term, then the best option is to start using Windows 10. Microsoft continues to support and adapt this software. There will also be no Windows 11, the company has announced, because the focus is entirely on the current version. Of course you can also switch to an alternative operating system, such as macOS or Linux.
How much does switching to Windows 10 cost?
It depends. You have two options: update a computer to Windows 10 or buy a new PC or laptop with Windows 10. Free updating is no longer possible: the offer for this stopped in 2016.
Updating a used Windows computer to Windows 10 will cost you 145 euros. Microsoft does not recommend that. The company advises users to buy a new PC or laptop, because old devices may not work (properly) with Windows 10.
Depending on the brand and specifications, a new Windows laptop usually costs a few hundred euros.
Do I have to take anything into account when updating?
It's nice that you can take all your files from Windows 7 to Windows 10. It's best to back up your important documents, photos and other files that you want to keep. For example, save them on an external hard drive or in a cloud service.
Regarding software: many programs can simply be downloaded from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 or from the developer's website. So you can simply install this software when you get started with your new operating system.