Wednesday, January 16, 2019
In one year, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7. That means there will be no security update and the use of the operating system will become more and more risky. Upgrading to Windows 10 is the simplest solution - and does not necessarily have to cost anything.
According to Statcounter, Windows 7 was still installed on 29 percent of all desktops in December 2018. Worldwide, the market share of the now over nine-year-old operating system is still almost 36 percent. This is questionable, because Microsoft has announced that starting January 14, 2020 Windows 7 for home users will no longer support.
The end of the support does not mean that the computer will stop working. However, Microsoft is no longer regularly plugging security vulnerabilities as of this date. That means after January 14, 2020, it's getting riskier to go online with Windows 7. While third-party anti-virus programs will still be updated, they will not be able to reliably protect the holey operating system after the end of support.
Even though it is quite possible that Microsoft will occasionally provide updates for particularly blatant vulnerabilities, such as Windows XP, even after the support expires, users will have to take action in the coming months. Basically, they have three options: They buy a whole new computer, upgrade to Windows 10 or upgrade to Linux.
Free upgrade probably still possible
If the hardware is strong enough, upgrading to Windows 10 is certainly the easiest way. Officially you have to pay for it since February 2018. But Microsoft has left behind the back doors that allow you to keep your operating system up to date for free.
The company is doing this very consciously. Apparently the installation with Microsoft's Media Creation Tool is still possible, which can be downloaded from a support page. The only condition is that you have a valid license key for Windows 7, which you must enter during the upgrade. It can be found, for example, on the cover of the installation DVDs, in an e-mail for a software download or on a sticker on the back of the notebook. He is also deposited in the system itself. To read it out, you can download and run ShowKeyPlus in Microsoft's App Store.
If you have the license key, the Media Creation Tool offers two options: You can update or reinstall Windows 7. No matter which way you choose, you should definitely make a backup before, so as not to lose any data. How long Microsoft still permits the unofficial free upgrade is completely open. So users should get started faster.