With support for Windows 7 ending on January 14, 2020, current users of the popular operating system have to decide whether to upgrade or not, soon. Microsoft has already begun to issue notifications about the end-of-life of Windows 7. After a decade in business, the operating system will not receive free security upgrades beyond 2020. Windows 7 will be perfectly functioning even after the deadline. However, without new updates, the operating system would be at high risk of security vulnerabilities and possible operating anomalies. Here’s how you can either upgrade your current Windows 7 PC or find alternatives before Microsoft ceases all support:
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Upgrade to Windows 10
If you are an avid Windows fan, when support for 7 ends, the natural choice would be to upgrade to Windows 10. Unfortunately, Microsoft no longer offers the free Windows 10 upgrade. You will have to pay a little over $100 for the Windows 10 Home or Pro plans.
Users who still have their Windows 7 product keys might be able to use it as the digital license for the new upgrade. That means you can download and upgrade your PC to Windows 10 but will need the old product key to legitimize the OS. It’s best to contact Microsoft directly to find out if your product key still works.
Upgrading is relatively easy. Start by backing up all your important files on a cloud account or on an external disk drive. Then, go to the official Microsoft website to download a disk image of the Windows 10 OS.
You can upgrade your PC right away, or save the disk image for a later upgrade. When you upgrade, you can choose to keep some of your personal files or delete all files for a fresh start.
Once you complete the upgrade, keep in mind that some of the programs and apps you have been using might not be compatible with Windows 10. This is why backing up all your files is important before making any changes to your OS.
Buy a New Computer
Is your PC fairly old now? Then buying a new computer might be worth it rather than upgrading to Windows 10. Microsoft recommends that owners of PCs older than 3 years purchase a new computer with Windows 10 already installed.
Older PCs may not meet the minimum requirements for installing Windows 10. Here are the minimum requirements from the official Windows 10 website:
- Processor: 1 GHz processor or a faster option
- Memory: At least 1 GB RAM for 32-bit; 2 GB for 64-bit
- Storage space: Up to 20 GB HDD storage
- Video card: Support for DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
For computers that barely meet the above requirements, it’s best to buy a new computer. Besides, new machines have tools that support the latest features of Windows 10. Your 5-year-old machine may simply not have the right hardware.
Build a New PC
Alternatively, you can build your own desktop PC. This would be the preferred option for some users, especially gamers. Unlike laptops, desktops can be easily upgraded with new hardware. The graphics unit, for example, is not removable on laptops.
Building a new PC might not be as difficult as you think. You can use guides given on sites like Computer Realm to learn about all the parts you need and how to assemble them into a new machine. You can install a supported version of Windows as an operating system.
Windows 10 is considered the “last” version of the iconic operating system. Microsoft plans on semi-annually upgrading Windows 10, rather than issuing a new operating system every two years or so. In the future, Windows 10 may have features that surpass hardware on even a new computer. When you build a new machine, you can make sure hardware upgrades are easy in the future.
Pay to Use Windows 7 Past the End-of-Life Deadline
Not all PC users would be enthusiastic about giving up Windows 7 in 2020. There might be a workaround for this. Microsoft is offering Windows 7 Enterprise users paid support beyond the deadline.
Paid security updates for Windows 7 would last only up to 2 years after end-of-life. Microsoft plans to charge $25 for the first year of support per device. The cost for the second and third years would be higher than the last.
The paid support is limited to commercial users of the OS, who might need it to run certain applications. Microsoft is really pushing PC users to upgrade to Windows 10, as the paid support also has a deadline.
Use the PC as It Is, But without the Internet
Windows 7 super fans can technically keep using their PCs even after Microsoft ends support. However, connecting your Windows 7 computer to the internet would be a lot riskier when security patches are no longer available. Therefore, you can continue to use your PC, just not with the internet.
Some users may prefer to work on a non-web connected computer for various reasons. Authors like J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin write their highly-prized manuscripts on computers without internet connectivity, so the risk of hacking is near zero. This is an option if you want to find a use for your Windows 7 laptop past its end of support date.
Switch to Mac or Linux
Some users might not want to upgrade to Windows 10, given its rather buggy reputation. If this is a concern for you, there are alternative operating systems to consider. Some users can start using Apple’s Mac OSX, which has an avid following of its own. OSX and Windows have largely similar applications and functionality.
You can consider using a Linux operating system as well. Linux is an open source software, so you can download it for free. The Linux community offers free security upgrades to keep user PCs safe. Linux is not completely different from Windows, but some applications will not be cross-compatible.
Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world. As a result, there are more programs available for the software. You may lose some of that compatibility and accessibility when you switch to Mac or Linux, which need programs exclusively designed for the platforms.
Remember, if you plan on upgrading your Windows 7 PC, you should ideally do it before 2020 when Microsoft still offers support. If your upgrade goes past the end-of-line deadline, it will be near impossible to get official support.
Note: This was a guest post from one of our readers Chaturikha Kahavita, if you also want to add a guest post just contact us. Feel free to comment below your views and opinions. Keep visiting and sharing, more updates coming next. Thanks.