Use Windows 7? Do you love your Windows 7? Will your need or desire to continue to use Windows 7 surpass this year? If so, you should be aware that in just under one year — January 14, 2020, specifically — Windows 7 Extended Support ends for most users. As such, there are things you need to know and decisions you may have to make. This is your guide to understanding what the expiration of Windows 7 Support may mean for you in one year.
Windows 7 is a reliable desktop OS for Microsoft users. When Windows 8 came out, the differences were so stark that most users preferred to stick to Windows 7.
Why would they stay with an outdated system?
Here’s what Windows 10 offers:
These are just a few of the reasons that so many PC users love their Windows 7 and do not want to particularly give it up, especially when they found Windows 8 a disappointment.
In fact, StatCounter suggests that 41.86% of PC users — who according to Statista makes up nearly 84% of the market share for desktop PCs — use Windows 7 still while another 42.78% use Windows 10 and a sad 8.72% use Windows 8. Those statistics say a lot about Windows 7 and suggest that a lot of people are going to need to figure out what they are going to do before January 2020, if they want their systems to be secure and updated.
There is no specific reason why Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7 come January 14, 2020, except that this date is the date provided in Window 7’s lifecycle.
|Windows 7 Lifecycle|
|October 22, 2009||Date of general availability for: |
|October 31, 2013||Retail software end of sales for: |
|October 31, 2014||End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled with: |
|October 31, 2016||End of sales for PCs with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled|
|January 13, 2015||End of mainstream support for Windows 7|
|January 14, 2020||End of extended support for Windows 7|
As indicated in the above table, if you did not extend support for Windows 7, then the problem of extended support expiring on January 14, 2020, does not apply to you. If you had purchased that extended support, then you need to pay attention and determine what you want to do because a year will be over before you know it.
Come January 14, 2020, if you are still using Windows 7, rest assured your desktop will still work; Windows 7 will continue to work beyond 2020. The issue here is your extended support.
Come January 14, 2020, extended support expires and with that expiration ends any updates to your PC. That means your system is vulnerable because the latest, most advanced security updates will not be available to you.
It is important to be clear that not all Windows 7 users will be affected by the January 14, 2020 extended support expiration date. In fact, in September 2018, Microsoft announced that some business users can pay for an additional three years of security updates. Unfortunately, this does not extend to home versions.
In other words, if your windows license type is an original equipment manufacturer or a full package product, there will be no extended security updates for you, and this includes all home versions. However, if you purchased a volume license (i.e., Enterprise or Open Value) for Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise, then you can purchase the additional three years of security updates — so primarily only business users can receive the updates at a cost.
If you absolutely must keep Microsoft Windows 7, then you have options, though they may not be optimal options. These options include:
Some PC users are hesitant to switch to Windows 10 because it does have its drawbacks. Some specific Windows 10 drawbacks include:
That said, it is good to be reminded that even though you love your Windows 7 whether it’s because you simply love it or love it because it’s what you are familiar with, Windows 7 has its own drawbacks, too. Windows 7 drawbacks include:
If you are one of those PC users to be affected by the end of extended support for Windows 7 in January 2020, then you have to determine what you will do. The last section implicitly directs you in which way you may consider, but if you are not yet confident in Windows 10, ask yourself the below two sets of questions:
If you answer yes to these questions, then it is safe to say you should consider Windows 10. A free upgrade to Windows 10 expired in 2016, but the price you pay today can save you in the long run.
So, now you have it. There’s a lot to consider if you use Windows 7 and like using it. If you are an owner of a volume license for business users, then you do have a viable and reasonable solution to the deadline: you can purchase another three years of security updates. This option provides you ample time to consider other options and train personnel on new desktop operating systems.
But if you are not a volume license holder, then you really need to consider what you intend to do. Security is highly important today in our virtual worlds and without it, you risk impacting your so-called “real” world. A hacker can destroy what you have built up over the years, from finances to projects to just about anything that is maintained or kept on your computer, in the cloud, or online. The issue of the January 14, 2020 expiration for Windows 7 extended support is indeed a serious one.