In July of 2009, Windows 7 was released, and over a decade later this era is finally coming to an end. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft ended supporting this operating system, and technical assistance and software updates are discontinued. Approximately 24.1% of computers utilizing windows are running Windows 7 systems or older. It is likely that a significant number of non-profits and governments must update from Windows 7 due to limited internal resources and other priorities.
What exactly does that mean for you?
Windows 7 will still be in operation and will still be available for download on devices; however, Microsoft will no longer push through software updates for this version of the operating system. Microsoft will stop providing routine fixes and security patches. This means if you get a bug on your computer you will no longer be able to go to Microsoft for help, and your device is on its own as far as fighting off hackers. Internet explorer, which is also a component of Windows, will also be discontinued on Windows 7 operating systems.
What are the risks?
When an operating system is no longer updated, the operating system is no longer maintained and becomes outdated. New security flaws are identified by hackers and Microsoft will not push out an update leaving the system susceptible for security breaches and potential viruses. With millions of people across the globe still using this operating system, and the knowledge that Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, hackers will be well inclined to attack this large population of users, leaving you and your device in harm’s way. With cyber-attacks happening approximately every 39 seconds, users of this operating system will become vulnerable and will be easily exploited by hackers.
What about my anti-virus program?
Your stand-alone anti-virus software will not be enough. Cybersecurity is a highly complex topic and is everchanging. In the past decade alone, there have been extreme advances in cybersecurity and a standalone antivirus is not able to detect all new variants of cyberattacks.
When should I upgrade?
The short and simple answer is now. It is important to get your devices up to date with an operating system that will be both secure and reliable. If your device is able to properly run Windows 7, you should have no issues with the Windows 10 update as they both have the same minimum specifications. For more information on upgrading your system, see the Microsoft support page.