Even though the Windows 7 is often easily thought of as a modern operating system, it was released back in 2009, and after 10 years of support, Microsoft announced that it will no longer be backing the Windows 7 after January 4, 2020. If you are still using Windows 7, read further what you must know about its termination and what options for upgrading to Windows 10 you have.
Every Windows item has two significant expiry dates:
- End of mainstream support
- End of extended support
When a Windows product no longer has the mainstream support, Microsoft stops adding new features and its warranty comes to an end. This normally lasts for five years after the item’s launch, and for the next five years, the product goes on extended support, time in which Microsoft still provides bug fixes and security patches but that’s all.
However, Microsoft is in fact offering a compromise with Windows 7 for the business who want to keep going on Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise. They can pay for extended support until the year 2023 due to Microsoft’s Extended Security Updates program.
What happens to Windows 7 after 2020
The software won’t break down unexpectedly or stop functioning after January 2020, but it won’t receive security patches anymore. This means that over time, Windows 7 will become an insecure OS full of known security issues that Microsoft won’t fix. Another consequence is that ultimately, major software will cease supporting Windows 7, just like it happened with Windows XP.
Mainstream apps such as Spotify, Microsoft Office, and Dropbox won’t work on the software anymore, and you won’t be able to install any modern browsers on it either. This goes for hardware as well.
How to Disable the Windows 7 Nag Screen
Windows 7 users sometimes see a dialog box as a reminder that Windows 7’s time is limited and asks you to update. To stop this nag screen, just check the ‘Do not remind me again’ box on the bottom-left corner, then close the window and you won’t receive the notification anymore.
If you ever need the linked information, you can go to Microsoft’s Windows 7 end of support page. Below we listed the options for the upgrade that you have.
Upgrade Your Current Computer to Windows 10
If your current device is quite new, you may be able to upgrade it to Windows 10 (check the Windows 10 system requirements page to see if your computer is eligible). There are bare minimums to get a Windows 10 operating on a machine and it doesn’t always mean that you’ll have an enjoyable experience. For example, if your PC has a small 100GB hard drive or only a 2GB of RAM, you’ll most likely be better off with a new device.
What is great about this alternative is that you can use the Windows 7 product key to activate Windows 10.
Buy a new device that has Windows 10 on it
This is probably the best alternative for the majority of people. Machines using Windows 7 are several years old so you should have a more capable computer to run Windows 10 on.
Upgrade to Windows 8.1
Because Windows 7 and 10 are so widely known, it’s easy to forget the Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1’s mainstream support ended in 2018, but the software is on extended support until January 10, 2023, therefore moving to Windows 8.1 gives you three more years after Windows 7 breaks down.
Even so, this option is not wholeheartedly recommended because Windows 10 is better software than Windows 8.1. It gets feature updates regularly, but Windows 8.1 only receives security updates now. The 8.1 also has the scorned Start Screen and lacks features such as multiple desktops.
In addition, there aren’t Microsoft license keys for Windows 8.1 anymore. You’d have to buy one from Amazon or such retailer which can be dubious.
Both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 have the same system demands so if you’re going to buy a new device, moving to Windows 10 is a better alternative, and also, if you upgrade to Windows 8.1, you’ll have this issue again before 2023.
Switch to Another Platform
You can also try out an entirely another operating system if you’re tired of Windows. If you’re on a budget or only use your device for light operations, you should consider Chromebook. These devices are great for main tasks like emailing and word processing and are easy to use.
If you don’t mind spending more, consider a Mac. MacBooks’ price is higher than Windows’ but lots of people say that after your experience with a macOS, you’ll never think of going back to Windows.
Also, there is Linux. Although Linux has the reputation of being usable best by advanced users, there are lots of user-friendly versions, especially the modern ones.
Get to Know Windows 10
So far, your best option for upgrading to a modern OS is to acquire a Windows 10 – if you want to stick with Windows. Whatever you do, make sure you leave windows 7 before January 2020 because you don’t want to clog up in an OS that’s unsupported if you can help it.
Melissa is the person that makes sure the content on this site is error-free, new and accurate for the readers. She also covers the tech stories section.