If you’re one of the over 35% of Windows PC users who are still using Windows 7, you have just 1 year of support left. Microsoft announced earlier that they would discontinue supporting and providing updates for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. While the computer and operating system will still function normally after January 14th, 2020 you will no longer get security updates from Microsoft. This means your computer will be at a much higher risk and more vulnerable to viruses and malware.
While Microsoft will be continuing to offer security updates for Windows 7 to large companies with Enterprise licensing that pay for them, those updates won’t be available for the large majority of home users.
We believe in being proactive over reactive and that’s why we’re posting a list of options now. So, what are your options if you’re still running Windows 7?
1. Purchase a new computer
This is the most expensive option and one that most probably won’t want to take, but if your Windows 7 computer is over 5 years old and you’re starting to see slower performance then it may be a good time to upgrade anyways. Any new Windows computer purchased from Ohio TechWorks, a popular online retailer like NewEgg or Amazon, or a local chain retailer like BestBuy will come with Windows 10.
If you do choose this option, make sure to check out the selection of quality refurbished computers we have on our Computer Sales page. If purchasing a computer elsewhere, we can still help you by transferring your data from your old Windows 7 computer to your new Windows 10 one. Just Contact Us for more details and pricing on data transfer. Note: only things like pictures, videos, folders, and documents can be transferred across PCs. Applications and programs have to be manually installed on your new computer.
2. Install Windows 10 onto your Windows 7 computer
One option that may seem easy is to install Windows 10 onto your existing computer. This option may not be that hard to do considering Windows 10 does a fairly good job of supporting older hardware, but it could end up being more expensive then you might think. Microsoft originally offered free updates to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and 8, but has since retired that special offer. If your Windows 7 license key was not previously used to upgrade to Windows 10 during the original “free upgrade Window”, there’s a chance it may not work to activate Windows 10 today.
This means you would have to purchase a new Windows 10 license, starting at around $100. Also, while supposedly you can upgrade your Windows 7 computer to Windows 10 without losing your data, we have seen this fail before and don’t recommend it. If you’re going to install Windows 10 on your computer, just backup your important data beforehand and do a clean install of Windows 10. If you don’t want to mess with doing this yourself or aren’t quite sure how, you can Contact Us for a free quote on upgrading your Windows 7 PC to Windows 10.
3. Install Linux or another operating system on your computer
In addition to Linux there’s also Chrome OS, several popular Android based operating systems, as well as some other alternates available but we wouldn’t recommend trying them on a PC that was originally running Windows unless you’re a very experienced PC user.
4. Disconnect the computer from the internet
If you have a legacy software that you need to use but that will not run in Windows 10, a good option may be to simply disconnect your Windows 7 machine from the internet. This reduces nearly all possibility of your computer being vulnerable to infections. Although some modern subscription-based software requires an internet connection to check on licensing, this is not likely in this situation if it’s an older software you need to run.
Any files that need to be transferred to or from the Windows 7 system that’s disconnected from the internet would need to be done so manually via a disc or flash drive.
5. Migrate your Windows 7 computer to a Virtual Machine
If you have another computer, or plans to buy a new computer, that is a fairly powerful system and still want access to your Windows 7 computer on rare occasion for light tasks, a VM (Virtual Machine) could be a great option. A VM allows you to have access to your Windows 7 computer inside another computer via a software program. There’s no need to keep your bulky Windows 7 computer around and power it on and connect it to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard every time you want to perform a quick task on it.
Transforming a physical PC into a VM is not a task for computer beginners, but if you want to know more on how to accomplish this task we would recommend taking a look at this article.
If you need help deciding on what option would be best for you, feel free to Contact Us and we can help guide you through the options in more detail.