Microsoft has finally ended support for Windows 7 Operating System (OS) after ten years of operation.
Although Microsoft is withdrawing its support for the OS, PC’s running on it will still function. However, provisions like software updates, support and security updates or fixes from Microsoft will no longer be available.
In 2015, Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 but gave users a one-year grace period to upgrade to another OS.
However, millions of people including businesses still use Windows 7 operating systems. Research by Kaspersky estimated that more than 41% of consumers still use the end of support operating systems like Windows 7 and about 47% of them are SMEs.
Windows 7 users now at high security risk
In May 2017, Microsoft Windows operating system was hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack. The hackers exploited a weakness in the system to target computers by encrypting data and demanding ransoms.
The lack of updates from Microsoft will mean that Windows 7 will be at greater risk for viruses, malware and cyberattacks as Microsoft will no longer send update patches that seal up discovered loopholes.
This means that users still operating Windows 7 are at the mercy of hackers as weaknesses in the OS can now be exploited to steal personal and financial data or even spy on them.
What Windows 7 users can do?
Microsoft has advised users to upgrade to Windows 10 which currently sells for about $120. Mainstream support for Windows 8 ended in 2018 and its End of Life has been scheduled for 2023 so it isn’t very advisable.
Although Windows 10 can be installed in old systems, Microsoft has advised that the device should have at least a 1 GHz processor, 1GB for 32-bit and 2-bit for 64-bit devices along with a resolution of at least 800 x 600 for the operating system to work properly.
Speaking on the End of Life of Windows 7, Famous Prior, a computer scientist and analyst explained that the best advice is for users to upgrade. He added that they can also decide to depend on anti-viruses but it doesn’t guaranty security.
“Software end of life support is usually not a secret. Customers are supposed to plan for an upgrade. After the end of life support, customers could depend on external security software’s like anti-viruses but those don’t usually prevent Operating systems exploits”Famous Prior, Computer Analyst
However, Microsoft has offered paid updates for companies who wish to continue using the operating system for the next three years.
The Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Window 7 Professional and Enterprise editions will be sold on a per-device basis and the price will increase each year. The price per device will rise to $50 in January 2021 to January 2022 and $100 from January 2022 to January 2023.
It probably makes more sense to buy Windows 10 and be done with it.