From January 14, 2020, Microsoft has ended the 10-year life cycle of Windows 7. What does it mean? It means that Microsoft will not provide any patching for bugs and security updates, your computer will be more vulnerable than ever before. But you still can use Windows 7.
In addition, Windows 7 end of life also means that Windows Server 2008 also reach end of life. Every desktop version of Windows is accompanied with a Windows Server version and for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/R2 is it. Just like Windows 7, your server and your whole network will become vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Then you may have a bunch of questions, such as, is it safe to use Windows 7 after 2020? what are the risks staying with Windows 7? what should I do when Windows 7 is not supported?
Don't worry about too much, you can get clear idea about these questions in the following. Here is a quick navigation for the content of this article, please click the anchor text to jumpt to what you want.
Windows 7 end of life risks: you need to know
As a matter of fact, it's not safe to use Windows 7 after 2020, here are the advice from Microsoft. It's not limited to the operating system, but also the programs you use on Windows 7 may also stop receiving updates to fix bugs and security holes. Among them, outdated software greatly increases the risk of spreading malware.
"You can continue to use Windows 7, but once support ends, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. Windows will operate, but you will stop receiving security and feature updates."
Also, all the possible vulnerabilities can be a chance for hackers to attack your computer, WannaCry in 2017 can be an obvious example, which lead to huge data loss in different countries. At this time, you may want to use antivirus software to protect your computer, but it can only detects viruses based signatures. If there are any new variants, your computer is exposed.
What's more, this operation violates security rules that many organizations must follow regarding compliance. If you are still running Windows 7 past its expiration date, your business will no longer be compliant. Therefore, it's not suggested to use Windows 7 for a long time after 2020.
Windows 7 end of life security risks: what to do now?
Even though mainstream support ended more than four years ago, many organizations as well as home users still using it. According to a survey, until January 2019, 37 percent of computers continue to use Windows 7 while 41 percent have moved on to Windows 10. Now the Windows 7 has reached end of life finally. If you are still running on Windows 7, what you should do next to greatly reduce the risks of unsupported Windows 7? Here are 3 main strategies you can do.
Strategy 1: Upgrade to Windows 10
Compatible Windows 7 PCs can be upgraded by purchasing and installing a full version of the software. Check the minimum specifications that Windows 10 required. For detailed steps, you can refer to this article: Top 2 Easy Ways to Install Windows 10 on SSD.
Processor: 1GHz or faster processor.
RAM: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit.
Hard disk space: 16GB for 32-bit, or 20GB for 64-bit.
Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later.
Display: 800×600 resolution.
Strategy 2: Move to new device with Windows 10
If your current device is unable to run the newest OS versions or you prefer better Windows 10 experience, you can consider moving to a new device with Windows 10. Today's PCs are faster, lightweight yet powerful, and more secure, with an average price that's considerably less than that of the average PC eight years ago.
Strategy 3: Use paid extended support
Actually, businesses, professional organizations, and mission-critical computers can apply for the Extended Security Updates program. The fee starts at $50 for the first year and doubles each year afterward up to a maximum of three years. Besides, this extended security update support on a per-system basis.
Strategy 4: Backup your Windows 7 to protect data security
Backing up Windows 7 can be the best strategies to protect your Windows 7 computer, whether data or system, it gives you a quick way to restore system image to new hard drive and use it as normal. Also, you can restore files from backup to get your data back completely.
To complete the task, you need a free yet professional backup software, AOMEI Backupper Standard, for example. It supports all the backup and restore solutions, such as, file backup, partition backup, system backup, disk backup, schedule backup, incremental & differential backup, system restore, create bootable media etc. But it only supports Windows PC, such as, Windows 7/8/10. If your computer is server 2008 or 2008 R2, you could consider using its Server edition.
One backup is not enough to protect Windows 7
One backup will only include the items that are currently on your computer, so it's best to schedule backup Windows 7. The backup feature is located at the main page of specific backup solution, it's "Schedule".
You can schedule backup in daily/weekly/monthly to continuously backup Windows 7 and its files. Also, you can enable event triggered backup to backup at a specific event, such as, system shutdown, or backup from/to USB drive automatically when it's plugged in with "USB plug in". In addition, you still can use full/incremental/differential backup, the last two options allow you to backup only changed files, which greatly saves disk space and backup time. Some features are only available on AOMEI Backupper Professional at least.
Windows 7 end of support security updates makes your computer become more vulnerable to security risks, you have 4 choices, but the best one is to upgrade to Windows 10 or buy a new PC preinstalled with Windows 10.
In addition, some users still insist on using Windows 7. Please remember to backup your computer or important data continuously to ensure data safety. If you don't want to lose any data, download this software to start the new journey.