Over the years, Windows 7 has built its reputation as a stable and highly reliable Windows version. Although Microsoft ended its extended support on January 14, 2020, Windows 7 remains very popular with a large number of desktop and laptop users. Can you continue to use Windows 7 in the future?
To answer this question, we will explore various aspects of using Windows 7 after the end of support date. Our topics of interest include whether Microsoft has announced new updates on this and whether the outdated Windows 7 is still technically secure. If not, what are the possible workarounds to keep it running smoothly in the future? We will also check if unsupported Windows 7 can run your existing software applications without problems.
Who still uses Windows 7 in 2020?
In fact, many people. Since April 2020, the Windows 7 user base in the desktop / laptop segment has grown just over 25 percent. The main reason why it is so popular is its excellent compatibility with legacy applications. Many people want to continue using the same software they have been comfortable with for a long time.
Latest Windows 7 support updates
For all intents and purposes, Microsoft has shop closed on Windows 7 for good since January 14, 2020. This means there will be no technical support for problems, software updates, or security fixes. Thus, Microsoft is warning users to quickly switch to Windows 10 or their system may be exposed to security and performance issues.
In reality, however, given the huge volume of users left in trouble, some editions of Windows 7 have more leeway. Those who are “already enrolled” in Microsoft’s Extended Security Update Program (ESU) including Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, Server and other higher subscriptions, will continue to get security updates until at least January 12, 2021 (maybe until 2023). Only these users can download the latest updates called “KB4556843” to this link.
At the time of writing, all editions of Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate no longer have official support from Microsoft.
Is Windows 7 technically (in) secure?
If you are not a non-ESU Windows 7 user, it is best to migrate to Windows 10. Although Windows 7 does not stop working on your computer, Microsoft’s lack of support means that you will no longer have no security patch. This makes it technically insecure, like Windows Vista, XP, and other older systems.
Over time, cybercriminals will increasingly target computers that have not migrated to Windows 10. In other words, most Windows 7 computers can only be “used at your own risk”.
Security Workarounds in Windows 7
If you want to continue using Windows 7 now despite the warnings, you need to develop your own expertise to keep the system healthy. It’s just a matter of knowing how to use a firewall and antivirus software and enforcing your own Internet security.
Everything you need to solve your Windows 7 security issues is accessible from its “Action Center” function. To activate it, go to the Start menu or open the far right of the taskbar. Here you can activate the firewall and activate virus protection.
You can purchase any popular consumer antivirus software listed on the official Microsoft site. Some of them, like Avira, are completely free. As well. make sure your Windows Defender is up to date. It requires a simple update which takes a few minutes.
On Windows 7, Windows Defender is currently replaced by Microsoft Security Essentials (provided you have already updated). It does not work on Windows 8 and later versions. You can also turn on Internet security, user account protection, and other features, if that’s right for you. All of these options are available in Action Center. A decent amount of RAM is required to run as many security features smoothly. (~ 8 GB is appropriate.)
Windows 7 performance workarounds
Since Microsoft will no longer update your system, you will need to review it periodically to assess performance. Windows 7 provides a useful tool for this purpose called the “Windows Experience Index”, available on the “System” panel. The tool measures the capacity of your computer’s hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called the base score. The value of this base score ranges from 1.0 to 7.9.
In the example above, the graphics are a challenge. This means that you can get a quick performance boost by upgrading the graphics card or increasing the RAM, if possible.
First, go for a “disk cleanup” which is readily available from the Windows 7 Start menu. This tool deletes unnecessary or temporary files on your hard drive so that you can increase the amount of storage space available. You have.
Find “Manage offline files” in the Windows menu. It can be reduced to “zero”.
Then run “Disk Defragmenter” from the Start menu. Fragmentation forces your hard drive to do extra work that can slow things down. Removable storage media can also become fragmented.
For any remaining computer problems in Windows 7, go to the “Troubleshooting” options. Here you can solve all the problems related to audio recording, shared files, appearance of folders and files, etc.
As shown below, the Windows Experience Index score increased from 2.5 to 2.9 in this example. In the absence of any update from Microsoft, you will have to manually follow the above steps to keep the PC performance at a healthy level.
Compatibility with applications
Most of the newer apps designed for Windows 10 may not work very well on Windows 7. However, if you are happy with the performance of your existing third-party apps, there is not much to complain about.
Currently, Microsoft Office software is compatible with Windows 7, and expect it to remain so for Office 2016 until 2026. You will not benefit from support for Office 2019 which includes advanced features such as speech synthesis, translator, focus mode and dark themes. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, it will continue to support Windows 7.
Things can get a little risky for browsers. Currently, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have announced that they will only support Windows 7 until July 2021. However, if you don’t want to be limited by these choices, you can opt for many lightweight browsers that are highly compatible. with Chrome extensions. .
For most other everyday applications, you should not expect major problems. However, keep in mind that your Windows 7 system will not support futuristic features such as voice assistant, Windows Hello, and compatibility with smart speakers and other cool gadgets. Finally, although you can continue to use Windows 7 computers, you shouldn’t. It is better to use it as a second computer rather than as the main computer.
Image credit: Upgrade to Windows 7
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