Windows 7 users be advised: You only have one year left until Microsoft ends support for the OS.
After Jan. 14, 2020, your PC will no longer receive security updates, and Microsoft’s customer service will stop providing technical support.
The operating system still has a 37 percent market share in the desktop/laptop market, according to data from NetApplications. Windows 10 only just topped Windows 7 on that front; it now has a 39 percent share. But many clients, especially businesses, have yet to upgrade to the newer operating system, which arrived three years ago.
To continue receiving support, businesses will have to pay for it. In September, Microsoft announced it would extend Windows 7 security updates through January 2023, but only to enterprise users who buy in volume. The support will be “sold on a per-device basis and the price will increase each year” for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise-installed systems, Microsoft said.
Unfortunately, the extended support program isn’t for consumers. The company is instead encouraging these users to upgrade their hardware to Windows 10, which starts at $139, or buy a new PC.
Windows 7 was released in 2009, but Microsoft decided to only provide 10 years of product support to the OS so the company could focus on investing and supporting newer technologies.
If you stick with Windows 7, the OS will continue operating as normal once the deadline passes. However, any newly discovered vulnerabilities in the software will remain unpatched, which can make your PC easier for hackers to compromise.
To protect yourself, you should move away from using Internet Explorer, which will also no longer receive security updates on Jan. 14, 2020. It’s also a good idea to install a third-party antivirus software with continued Windows 7 support to help protect your system from the latest threats.