When Will Microsoft End Support for Windows 7, 8 & 8.1 and What Should You Do About It?

After 10 years, a pop-up on Windows 7 computers is advising users that support is nearing its end.  So, what does the end of Windows 7 (or 8 or 8.1 for that matter) mean for computers and users?  To start with the dates, Microsoft has slated January 14, 2020 as the last day Microsoft will offer security updates and technical support for Windows 7 (what they call “End of extended support”).  I don’t think that the “technical support” aspect has direct implication for most users.  Users don’t generally lean directly on Microsoft for support.  However, updates are something that even the most advanced users rely on Microsoft to provide.  Those updates provide for new features (although technically they stopped adding new features with the end of “mainstream” support on January 13, 2015) and bug fixes, but, more importantly they provide for security fixes.  As time passes security vulnerabilities will continue to be found, but, after January 14, they won’t be fixed.  So, while you can continue to use Windows 7 you may be increasingly at risk for malware, viruses and exploits.

 

So, what should a Windows 7 user do?  In some cases it might make sense to upgrade your computer to a newer version of Windows.  Windows 8 was not well received and was quickly replaced with Windows 8.1.  The End of extended support for Windows 8.1 is January 10, 2023.  So, while there is some time left, there is very little reason to move to Windows 8 (and without purchasing licensing that allows for downgrade rights, getting to Windows 8/8.1 would be difficult anyway).  Instead, users who are going to upgrade should just upgrade to Windows 10.  However, as opposed to upgrading, maybe it’s time to look at replacing the computer. As stated in a previous article “How Long Should a Computer Last?” the life expectancy of a computer is pretty universally considered to be three to five years.  They stopped shipping new computers pre-installed with Windows 8.1 October 31, 2016.  So, even the newest pre-Windows 10 computers are pushing three years old at this point.  Making the decision to upgrade versus replace might come down to how old the machine is. If it’s a laptop that shipped with Windows 7 in 2009, it’s probably going to make more sense to replace it.  If it was purchased as one of the last to ship with 8.1 in October of 2016, it might make sense to just upgrade it to Windows 10.  Other performance and condition factors may come into play as well.  A high-end i7 gaming system that you paid $3000 for a few years back might be a more viable upgrade than a $299 low-end, big box special Celeron system (especially if the former shipped with a solid state drive).

 

The staff at Fox is happy to help you decide whether upgrading your existing computers or replacing them would be the better course of action.  We can help you with data migration, software installation and configuration and making the transition to Windows 10 an easy and efficient change.  Give us a call or drop by the office if you have any questions. – Jayson

 



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