Windows 7 End of Life: Everything You Need to Know
Microsoft recently announced that it will officially begin the Windows 7 end of life phase on Jan. 14, 2020. On that day, the company will stop supporting Windows 7 on laptops and desktops, and will no longer patch it with security updates.
But – alas – all good things must come to an end. And soon enough, Windows 7 will be put out to pasture, leaving those who stick with the operating system at potentially higher risk of being targeted by hackers.
So, to answer some of those fears and answer some of the questions you may have about Windows 7 end of life, we’ve compiled the following FAQ.
What is Windows 7’s end of life?
In this case, it means that, as of Jan.14, 2020, Microsoft will move on from Windows 7 and no longer patch security holes in the operating system. And if things go awry and bugs develop, you won’t be able to call on Microsoft to fix the problem.
So, when Microsoft’s end-of-life date hits, any PC, 2-in-1 laptop, tablet or other device you have that’s running on Windows 7 will be on its own when fending off hackers.
What does Windows 7 end of life mean for my security?
Well, this is where things become difficult.
One of the nice things about not being in end of life is that the operating system or software package is fully supported and patched. In Windows 7, all of that support will go by the wayside after Jan. 14, 2020.
In years past, when Microsoft has put software into end of life, the company has offered up some hefty patches in the run-up to the date, to secure the operating system as much as possible. And while that was a welcome decision, it also meant that hackers had free rein after the end-of-life period hit.
Indeed, it’s not uncommon for hackers, knowing when end of life hits, to wait until after that date to find ways to exploit vulnerable systems and wreak havoc. After all, if Microsoft isn’t going to support the operating system and there are still plenty of people using it, why not attack?
The fact is, the sooner people can get away from Windows 7 and switch to Windows 10, the better.
Can I keep using Windows 7 if I like it?
There’s no one stopping you from staying with Windows 7 if you really like it, but, as we’ve discussed, you’ll be using an operating system that is no longer supported nor comes with security updates.
Windows 7 will operate after the end-of-life date just as it does now, so you shouldn’t see any problems with your computer’s functionality. However, over time, you could start to see more security problems.
In addition to Windows turning the lights out on Windows 7, it’s possible that third-party developers could do so as well. Microsoft won’t force developers to stop supporting their applications in Windows 7 and chances are, if there’s a large enough user base, they won’t stop support initially. But over time, as things change and users increasingly turn to other platforms, developers are bound to stop supporting Windows 7 updates in their apps, as well.
Will I be able to install and activate Windows 7 in the future?
If you’re really serious about sticking with Windows 7 and don’t want to give it up, you can still deploy it. In fact, Microsoft has made it clear that you can still install it and activate it on the device of your choosing.
What about Internet Explorer?
Since Microsoft moved to the Edge browser in Windows 10, the company has been eyeing opportunities to do away with Internet Explorer. And at long last, it can do that.
Microsoft said that Internet Explorer is considered a “component of the Windows operating system,” which makes it susceptible to the same end-of-life timeline.
So, like Windows 7, Internet Explorer could be hit hard by hackers trying to target the browser. Fortunately, Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser is getting an Internet Explorer mode, so Windows 10 users who relied on IE for certain legacy functions can still take advantage of them.
Credit: Don Reisinger – LaptopMag