As I have blogged on two previous occasions, support for Windows 7 ends on 14th January 2020. This means:
- All patching of security flaws ends and you will not receive any further patches from 14th January 2020 being the last patch Tuesday that will include widely available Windows 7 patches
- Microsoft Security Essentials also retires on 15th January 2020, meaning you will not get any further updates for new virus and malware threats.
What can I do about this? It depends on which version of Windows 7 you are using and:
- If you are a consumer or small/medium sized business, on a version of Windows 7 (Pro or Home, or one of the many other SKU’s they released), your best option is to upgrade to a PC with Windows 10 (see below)
- If you are an enterprise, you will be able to get security updates past January 2020 if you are on the Enterprise or Pro SKU’s, but you will have to pay on a per device basis and only for another three years – talk to your Microsoft Rep about this.
In any event, you really need to be looking at getting off Windows 7 before the end of 2020, or very soon afterwards. Your PC might be upgradable to Windows 10, but my advice here is to replace your PC with the following minimal specifications to give you the best performance:
- Intel Core i3 CPU or better (e.g. i5 or i7 – preferably 8th or 9th generation as a minimal specification) or AMD equivalents
- Minimum 8Gb of RAM, 16Gb preferred
- Minimum 128Gb SSD (disk space), preferably 256Gb or more since applications and Windows only get bigger with each year
- Best to see if you can get one with a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt and at least one Type-A USB port for back compatibility
- Optionally also get one with an HDMI/Display Port port built in so you can connect to a TV/external monitor
- Windows 10 Home (for consumers), Windows 10 Pro for businesses or enthusiasts.
You can also get a PC variant that supports ARM CPU’s, although these are in limited supply. In any event, I suggest you don’t buy these devices right now since they are very early in their release cycle unless you need the mobility these devices offer and prepared to pay a premium for them.
If your hardware cannot be upgraded to Windows 10, another option is to upgrade to Windows 8.1 (licenses can still be bought on eBay). However, this is just a stop gap since it is already into extended support and will end support on 1st October 2023. Realistically, you are better off cutting your loses and replacing your hardware for something modern.
If you intend to buck the trend and stay on Windows 7, then at the very least you will need to ensure your Anti-virus software is up to date and supported. Most popular web browsers (e.g. Chrome, FireFox) will continue to be supported for some time but they will eventually drop support for Widows 7. In addition, you will need to make sure your apps continue to run, but these will also drop support for Windows 7, if they haven’t already.
As advised above, you are better off upgrading your PC and OS to Windows 10.
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