June 14, On that day, the company will stop supporting Windows 7 on laptops and desktops , and will no longer patch it with security updates. Of course, that might cause some consternation for consumers and enterprise users alike.
Windows 7 is still a wildly popular operating system that, even 10 years after its release, is still relied upon by millions across the globe. 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. End of life is the term that Microsoft uses to identify the period when the company will no longer support an operating system or application.
In this case, it means that, as of Jan. How many people are still using Windows 7? You might be surprised to learn that Windows 10 only became the most popular Window version in the world at the end of the fourth quarter of , taking the crown from Windows 7.
To put that into perspective, there are more than 1 billion Windows users around the world. So, hundreds of millions of people are going to be affected by this change. 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.
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. The fact is, the sooner people can get away from Windows 7 and switch to Windows 10, the better.
Does end of life apply to all Windows 7 versions? How do I move to Windows 10 from Windows 7? PC makers will be bundling Windows 10 into their machines, with no option to downgrade to Windows 7. If you want to upgrade to Windows 10 , you can do so free of charge and with a full Windows 10 license, as long as you have a PC that meets all of the requirements needed to run the operating system.
Windows 10 Minimum Specs Processor: Up to 20GB of space Graphics Card: A screen with a resolution of by or higher, and a DirectX 9 graphics chip Connectivity: Internet access Can I keep using Windows 7 if I like it? However, over time, you could start to see more security problems. 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? In fact, Microsoft has made 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. 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. Can I get an extension on my Windows 7 support? Believe it or not, you can.
Medium-to-high effort: Try a Windows 7 or 8 key Microsoft Price: When Microsoft first launched Windows 10 back in , it offered Windows 7 and Windows 8 users a truly free, no-strings upgrade to the new operating system.
The promotion was only available for just one year—presumably to accelerate push up Windows 10 adoption rates—and expired in July But even though Microsoft officially ended this program three years ago, it still has yet completely shut everything down.
The activation servers have been allowing Windows 7 and 8 keys on some Windows 10 installs. The best free software for your PC ] The Windows 7 or Windows 8 product keys that commonly work for this method are the retail and OEM varieties, while only sporadic reports exist for volume license keys i.
Microsoft If using a Windows 7 or 8 key works for activation, a digital license will be issued to you. You can read our step-by-step guide for how to use that particular program here. Easiest discount: Purchasing an OEM license.
License types are different than operating system versions: They dictate what you can do with the software, while OS versions are distinguished by the features available. Multiple Windows license types exist, but the two commonly available to a home user are the retail and OEM varieties.
If you visit an online retailer like Amazon Remove non-product link or Newegg , you can find both retail and OEM licenses for sale. All the features of the operating system version are the same for both license types.
The difference is that with a retail license, you can transfer the license key to a different PC later on. In exchange for a lower price, you get to use the license key on only one PC, period. Microsoft has historically been kind about such situations, however; you can usually call to reactivate the license after replacing a fried mobo.
But it is an extra hassle. Deepest savings: The education discount Microsoft Price: As mentioned above, license types determine what you can do with Windows—and who can use it, as well. Through the Academic Volume Licensing agreements, schools can purchase access to Windows 10 Education for their students, faculty, and staff.
Some make it available only on campus machines. Others will grant a license for use on a home machine. The catch: You have to sign up for at least one course to qualify for campus discounts. Other states use OnTheHub , which has a tool to look up your school. The storefront will require verification of your student status before you can "buy" Windows Typical options are usually of the physical education or dance variety swim, ballet, jazz, boot camp workouts, etc.
In those cases, your main options are the OEM license outlined above or buying through Kinguin detailed below.
If you use this method, also keep an eye out for other software deals through your school. Low prices with a caveat: Kinguin Kinguin Price: Kinguin is a website that allows buyers to purchase product keys from third-party sellers—think of it like an eBay or Amazon Marketplace for digital software sales.
Opponents of Kinguin swear the keys will eventually lose their activation status because of their unknown origins. Kinguin Like on Amazon Marketplace, you pick a specific seller from which to buy the product in this case, the Windows 10 license key. So as mentioned above, if these keys are already somehow tied to an original but unactivated PC, things could go sideways during your own activation process.
On top of that, if the hardware used to identify your system i. Each camp makes valid arguments, so ultimately, your comfort level with risk and gray market goods should determine whether this is the option for you. If you opt for this path, we recommend ignoring Windows 10 Home. When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission.
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