By Ivy / Last update September 20, 2022

About Windows 7 end of life

In Microsoft, there are two support models, including mainstream support and extended export. During the mainstream support span, Microsoft provides regular feature updates, design changes, warranty claims, patching, security updates, and this support model has reached its end of life on January 13, 2015.

After that, extended support has been introduced. It’s used to ensure the security of Windows 7 and mainly provides patching for bugs and security updates. After careful consideration, Microsoft decide to stop the 10 years of product support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020.

According to Microsoft office, the main reason to stop support for Windows 7 is to focus on new investments with newer technology and great experience. Up still Oct 5, 2021, Microsoft released the latest operating system called Windows 11. 

Windows 7 end of life what does it mean?

On January 14, 2020, Microsoft has officially announced Windows 7 end of life. You may want to know what does it mean.

That is to say, after January 14, 2020, Microsoft does not provide any technical support for Windows 7, including software updates, security updates, and fixes,  your computer will become more vulnerable to security risks after the date.

And Microsoft customer service, Related services, and devices, such as Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, Electronic Program Guide for Windows Media Center, and Internet Explore, will be disconnected.

What are the risks of Windows 7 end of life?

After Windows 7 ends its life, your computer will be more vulnerable. In view of this, Hackers and other criminals will make use of the vulnerabilities to attack your computer, and finally, your will lose your data forever or pay for Hackers or other criminals. WannaCry and NotPetya is the best example.

Anyway, you need to take data security seriously. The best way is to back up your files with free backup software. Windows 7 comes along with Backup and Restore, but considering that it is inherently insecure, we suggest you to backup files to external hard drive or other offline locations with third-party software.

Can you still use Windows 7 after 2020?

After the mainstream support end of its life, there are still 37% of computers using Windows 7, and only 41% computers upgrade to Windows 10. What’s more, in a 2018 survey, 43% of IT professionals said that their company is still using Windows 7 and 17% of businesses were not aware that mainstream support was ended.

Windows 7 End Of Life

But now, Windows 7 completely end of its life and Microsoft does not provide any technical support for users. Many users may have this question, “Windows 7 end of life can I still use it”.

Yes, even if Windows 7 has reached its end of life, you can also use Windows 7 as you like. It will work as before, but you may be bothered by the security risks issue. It may be attacked by viruses, hackers, or other criminals. Thus, it’s suggested to do a free upgrade to Windows 10 or 11, so that you can ensure the security of your data and OS, as well as enjoy technical support from Microsoft.

Windows 7 end of life what should I do?

“What should I do?” may be one of the biggest questions for users who are still using Windows 7 when it ends of life on January 14, 2020. According to Microsoft office, you’d better upgrade to Windows 10. Also, you can directly download and install Windows 11. At the same time, it still says that you can use Windows 7 after 2020, but your computer will be exposed to many risks, such as virus attacks, hacking, new bugs, etc.

Next, in the following article, I’ll show you how to back up your system if you still use Windows 7 and upgrade to Windows 10 with installation media.

Backup your system if you still use Windows 7

Without Microsoft's technical support, starting January 15, 2020, Windows 7 is no longer as secure as before. So, you need a trusted and reliable backup and restore software, which allows you to backup the system, disk, partition, or files in simple steps and saves it to external hard drive.

Here, I highly recommend you free AOMEI Backupper Standard. With it, you can:

Continuously protect your Windows and files with the help of scheduled settings, such as daily backup, weekly backup, or monthly backup.  
Greatly reduce disk usage by backing up only changed files. Its incremental backup is a default backup method, you don't even need to configure it manually. At the same time, you still can enjoy features like compression, splitting, etc to further save disk space. 
Create a bootable media to boot your Windows 7 computer when it is in trouble, such as system or disk failure. 

To backup your system after Windows 7 end of life, use the following steps:

1. Preparing for backup tasks. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard, install and launch it. Connect the external hard drive to the computer and make sure it can be detected.

2. Click “Backup” and “System Backup” subsequently. To backup files, click "File Backup" as instead.

System Backup

3. Click where the arrow point, and select a path to save backup image. You can choose to backup Windows 7 to external hard drive, USB drive, network drive, NAS, etc. 

AOMEI Backupper will automatically select the required partitions for a system backup, that’s because there are some hidden boot-related partitions on a computer and you may ignore it. Finally, the computer in trouble is still unbootable after recovery.

Select Path

4(Important step). Click “Schedule Backup” and enable it, then select daily, weekly, or monthly. By default, this software will enable default incremental backup to create a daily incremental backup that keeps multiple backups while using less space.

Schedule Settings

It is very important to maintain the integrity and security of your backups, otherwise, you will lose your OS and data on it. So we suggest you to try the following features (available on higher editions):  
• Event-trigger backup: In order not to affect your work efficiency, you can choose to backup Windows 7 at the system shutdown.
• USB plug in: It's a plug-and-pull feature, copy Windows 7 automatically when the USB drive is connected, so you don't need to worry about forgetting backup.  
• Backup Scheme: This is the only feature of not increasing but decreasing in this software, which will automatically delete old backups via a certain rule to free up disk space. Considering the independence of backups, it's suggested to use an advanced backup method - differential backup

5. After all sets up, click “Start Backup” to backup system in Windows 7 automatically. 

Windows 7 end of life upgrade to Windows 10

If you search “Windows 7 end of life extended” on the internet, you may know a free upgrade to Windows 10 is one of the best ways. But Microsoft has removed the free upgrade option. If you want to use Windows 10 and enjoy its technical support, you can choose to reinstall Windows 10 using installation media. 

Free Upgrade Is Not Available

You can also choose to directly download and install Windows 11. Here take Windows 10 as an example to show you the detailed steps. And it does not matter, because the steps are very similar, if you want to upgrade to Windows 11, you still can use the following steps as reference.

Preparation:

  • Download Windows 10 installation media and create an installation media with it.

  • Backing up your system or files on the computer. By default, clean install or reinstall Windows will remove the original operating system and create a new one. To avoid system failure owing to human error, you can backup system in advance. a

Perform Windows 7 end of life upgrade to Windows 10:

1. Set boot priority for your installation media. Restart your computer, press the specific key (eg: ESC, F2) on the first screen, go to the boot option and move CD/VD or USB drive to the firs option using “+”, hit F10 key to save the changes, and exit. After that, just wait and your computer will restart to the Windows Setup page.

change boot order

2. Click Next on the Windows Setup page.

3. Click “Install Now”. Then, you will see the words “Setup is starting” and wait patiently until the next window pops up.

Install Now

4. Click “I don’t have a product key”.

5. Select the operating system you want to install and click Next.

6. On the “Applicable notices and license terms” page, tick “I accept the license terms” and click Next.

7. On the “Which type of installation do you want?”, click “Custom”.

Custom

8. Delete the original partitions and create a new operating system with it. Just select the partition you want to delete and click Delete, then repeat these operations until all the partitions are deleted, select the unallocated space and click Next. After installation, set up your references.

Select Drive 0 Unallocated Space

Written in the end

Reading here, you may already know everything about Windows 7 end of life as well as the answer to “Windows 7 end of life what to do”. The best way is to upgrade to Windows 10 free, because it’s much safer. But Microsoft has removed its free upgrade option, you can only reinstall Windows 10 on the existing computer.

Note it will remove all the installed programs and personal data. If you don't want to lose data, please create a file backup or system backup in advance. And it gives you a choice to restore system if you don't like this system. And it can help you schedule backup system or data if you are sure to use the new Windows 10.