Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 with security updates on January 14, 2020. It's like Windows XP again – but much worse. Many more hold onto Windows 7 than stuck with XP.
Windows 7 usage is still high
If you are still using Windows 7, you are not alone. According to Net Market Share, 35.63% of Windows users still use Windows 7 in December 2018. Windows 10 has 52.36% of Windows users.
Back in April 2013, when Windows XP only had one year left of support, only 24.93% of Windows users matched XP. An upcoming 62.27% of desktop users were already running Windows 7.
Microsoft has a significant problem at hand here. And Microsoft is entering this stretch of home with the biggest ever update of Windows 10 on its hands. Microsoft hardly makes a case for Windows 10 to skeptical Windows 7 users.
Why End of Support Issues
The end of support is a big thing. This means that Microsoft will end up issuing security updates for problems in Windows 7, making Windows 7 systems increasingly vulnerable to attacks. Security errors found and fixed in newer versions of Windows often also affect Windows 7. This means that attackers have a road map to attack Windows 7 systems, which is less and less secure over time.
Microsoft End date for support dates will also encourage other companies to stop supporting Windows 7 as well. Windows desktop applications finally stop supporting older versions of Windows. This is unlikely to happen immediately, because Windows 7 is not anywhere near as long as Windows XP was left on it. But don't be surprised when new applications or updates to your existing programs stop supporting Windows 7. You can't use a modern browser later in Windows XP.
RELATED: What It Means When Microsoft Stops Supporting Your Version Of Windows
What You Should Do
If you are using Windows 7, you still have one year left for to decide what you do. Companies and government agencies can pay for expensive extended support agreements to continue getting security spots if they need more than a year to migrate, but Microsoft is trying to get everyone on new versions of Windows.
When the time comes, you should seriously consider upgrading to Windows 10 instead of sticking to an unprecedented and increasingly vulnerable Windows 7. There are still legal, official ways to get Windows 10 free, even if you missed Microsoft's great free upgrade offer. All you have to do is insert your Windows 7 product code while installing Windows 10.
If you are annoyed about Windows 10, we understand. We are not here to run Windows 10. We recommend that it conforms to the less secure Windows 7, but we also recommend installing Linux, getting a Chromebook or switching to a Mac.
In short, we don
RELATED: You can still get Windows 10 free with a Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 Key
But, Windows 10 is not awful ?
While Windows 10 has many low-level improvements and better hardware support, Microsoft has struggled with update errors and introduced more and more ads. Windows 10 is better than Windows 7 in many ways, but it is also worse in other ways.
We have been critical of Windows 10, but we have also complimented it. It starts faster than Windows 7, has better support for modern hardware, is more stable from the box, and is full of useful security enhancements. It even has smaller features like geeks will find useful, such as GPU usage information in the Task Manager and built-in ISO mount in File Explorer.
Microsoft needs to clean up its action and stop breaking things. Windows October 10, 2018 Update was the biggest disaster yet, but Microsoft does a little chastened. Hopefully, Microsoft can fix the Windows development process. And Microsoft is already making Windows 10 less annoying, providing a cleaner start menu by default and allowing users to uninstall more built-in apps.
But complaints about Windows 10 aside, we would rather use a version of Windows supported by security patches than stick with Windows 7.
Let's just put this into context: Most Windows 10 users have not encountered these errors. Most Windows 10 systems out there work just fine. Most Windows 10 users usually do not even use buggy October 2018 Update. (Just do not click "Search for updates"!)
We do not excuse Microsoft's record here. We should all expect better from them. But keep in mind that although these issues were reported generally, most Windows 10 users never met them.
Can you stick with Windows 7?
Technically, you can continue to use Windows 7. Microsoft will not suddenly disable it and stop it from working overnight – it only happens with unstable Windows buildings.
You can still use Windows XP today. But it doesn't get new security spots, and software companies have released support for it. Even Valve's Steam gaming service just stopped working on Windows XP, and it is even though Steam still sells some games that were designed for, and works best on, Windows XP. New hardware often doesn't work with Windows 7 today, and it just gets worse.
Internet is a messy and dangerous place. We strongly recommend that you use a modern, secure operating system that has the latest security patches installed, regardless of any operating system.
You still have one year!
Let us not be too apocalyptic yet. You still have a year of security stains left for Windows 7. That means Microsoft has a year to get its action together and get better at updating Windows 10 without causing any problems as well.
And if you really want Windows 10 not to "update so much, you can always get Windows 10 Professional and delay updates. Most of the bugs will work before they are updated to your computer.