OH NO! My computer keeps saying it will no longer support Windows 7 by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. What does that mean for my personal computer?
The time has come for the End of Life (EOL) support for the Windows 7 operating system by Microsoft and for a lot of people this almost constant pop up window for the last year is more than concerning. If you own a personal computer, laptop or desktop PC, with the Windows 7 operating system but use it for nominal use like checking your email or social media, you may be scratching your head about what to do next.
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I started this article before the end of support date of Windows 7 and am now writing it to myself and the many others who may have a device older than five years that supports this beloved operating system.
Gone are the days when you could continue using outdated and unsupporeted programs like Winows Vista and those before it. Every time you tap the keys and connect to the internet you are putting your personal data at risk.
You are probably saying, “I know Holly but all of this is going over my head! I don’t know what to do next nor do I have any money to protect or upgrade my computer!”
Let’s discuss the options available to YOU! (Remember I am here to serve you and if your computer is at risk connect with me at holly [at] knittingourstory.com)
1 | WHY IS MICROSOFT ENDING SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS 7?
Let’s face it. Microsoft is a tech giant and software is a hot business. Over time, they have learned that to keep up with their competitors they have to keep raising the bar with their software packages. It is ultimately their choice to continue or NOT continue to support a product they developed.
You can read more about their decision here.
The wave of smartphone technology and the minimalismus categorical design of software is overtaking technology.
Ever use Netflix? Or have a Roku TV? The cards or blocks with vivid imagery is an easy and visually appealing way to convey information quickly. You can easily select your choice without having to read any information. And that approach has been utilized across almost ALL consumer technology. INSTANT GRATIFICATION with no time wasted on having to sort through useless information.
What are the differences between Windows 7 vs 10?
01 | Account Integration
Microsoft has now introduced Account Integration which requires the user to link an account to their device for any type of functionality.
HUH? If you own an Apple iPhone then you are already familiar with inputting your Apple ID to open your phone or download any new apps. It is a way to create a seamless user experience over multiple devices and allows access to some feartures offered by Microsoft.
02 | Start Menu
The Start menu has a new icon, and unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 brought back some of the things that Windows 7 users love.
The menu has items listed in Alphabetical order and different icons so do not assume a program is gone because you do not see it’s normal image associated with it because the new design is the biggest learning curve. You still have access to the normal functions like Shut Down, settings, and control panel.
TIP: If you need it larger, you can bring your mouse to the edge of the window and ENLARGE it.
03 | Tiles (Apps)
You will notice an area to the right of your long list of programs on the Start Menu that Mircosoft calls the “tiles”. Each tile can either be a shortcut to program you use regularly, a webpage shortchut, or an application. For example, You have an option to use the “Facebook” app or just log onto the internet using your explorer (such as Edge, Google Chrome, or FireFox). If this all seems a bit much and you dislike the functionality, right click the tile and disable it.
04 | Cortana
Your personal assistant via Mircosoft which functions just like the Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri.
Ask it to jot down notes, make an alarm, find a document, etc. A new feature that I haven’t full utlized but something you should be aware of since it pops up pretty often unless you disable it which you can!
05 | Accessibility (Control Panel, Settings, and Edge)
Mircosoft really changed up their design and flow to offer a more streamlined experince for their user but if you like continuity and maybe a little resistant to change then serarching for these areas may not come easily.
The control panel can be accessed by holding down the Windows Key + X to access the nitty gritty areas of your computer, while the all encompassing Gear Icon, which has become the universal Settings icon on everything, is where you access your settings for design, WiFi, devices, etc. The design is pleasing and straight forward but still a learning curve from Windows 7.
ALSO, you have a new Windows Internet Explorer! Edge is the new and imporved windows explorer so don’t get frustrated when you cannot find your old icons.
2 | WHAT TO DO IF MY COMPUTER IS STILL RUNNING WINDOWS 7?
You need to know that each day pass January 14, 2020, the more at risk you are making yourself and your precious data on the computer or laptop.
01 | Outdated Software
The functionality of your computer will slowly depreciate. The more programs added and files downloaded the more it will slow down your computer. Like any device, it requires regular maintenance and cleaning. Yet, the lack of security and updates on your computer will make it more at risk of crashing or being hacked.
The outdated software means that your computer data could be lost if it ins’t back up!
Back it up!
Get an external harddrive and save all your documents, photos, videos, and music. This is just regular legacy maintenance but MOST DEFINITELY important if your hardware (computer/laptop/smartphone) is over five years old. Gone are the days when you could keep something for a lifetime with regular care.
Windows 7 will not be aided or support without an “extended care” support plan. Start looking into if your computer needs to be completely replaced or just upgraded.
02 | Security Risks
Since you do not have Mircosoft providing security through Windows Defender, you need to have an alternative security system to keep your device afloat.
I recommend using Malwarebytes, it is a wonderful program that is available for FREE with limited security while a full license will provide full security at a reasonable price. Considering you are choosing to continue with Windows 7 against their approval I would recommend this or any other type of third party security software to protect your personal data shared online.
We use it and love it.
3 | HOW TO UPGRADE?
A while back, Mircrosoft offered a free upgrade to Windows 10. According to this article by CNET, you can still get that free download and upgrade.
UPDATE: 2/29/2020 I used the above link and it worked! I did find however that one must have already downloaded it previously and chose to revert. When Windows 10 first debut, I did use it but chose to revert because there were too many bugs.
The alternative would be to pay for the upgrade which could run you around $139.
Hope that you were able to upgrade, replace, or find the information needed. Leave a comment below if you need more assistance with Windows 10.