Dan the Computer Man

Your Computer's Best Friend
In-home computer repair in the San Antonio area

Microsoft Windows Support

Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7 as of January 14, 2020.
In addition, they will no longer support Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023.
(Windows 10 will continue to be supported by Microsoft until October 14, 2025.)
That means they will no longer create updates for that software.

If you are still running one of these versions of Windows, it will not stop working. There is no need to act rashly.

Web browsers will continue to update on Windows 7 for a significant amount of time. Antiviruses will likewise continue to update for 2 years after Microsoft's end of life date.

But, slowly, the world will recede from Windows 7 (and then 8), similar to the way Windows XP, 98, and 95 have gone away. Over time, software such as web browsers will no longer be able to get updates, so websites will not work well on Windows 7. But the attrition of Windows 7 will be long and slow.

What should you do? Here are several options:

  1. Do nothing.
    Your computer will keep working, but eventually problems develop as the world moves away from Windows 7.
    I will continue to support old computers as long as it's financially worthwhile for the customer.
  2. Buy a new computer.
    It will come with Windows 10, so you get both a new version of Windows and faster equipment.
    If you want to know what to buy, see my article Shop for a new computer.
  3. Upgrade your existing computer.
    You don't need to buy Windows 10, because if you have a license for Windows 7 or 8, you already have a license for Windows 10.
    To consider whether it may be in your best interest to repair an old computer, see my article Should I repair or replace my computer?
    There are 2 ways to upgrade your operating system:
    • Upgrade in place. You will keep your programs and data while upgrading the foundation (operating system) underneath them. Sometimes problems result from this approach.
      If you want to try it yourself, here is Microsoft's Windows 10 download available for free.
    • Clean install of Windows. This is my approach. It involves erasing everything, and starting over with a clean slate, but first backing up data. Afterward, programs need to be reinstalled. If this is to be done, I recommend installing a new solid state drive at the same time.

Further reading about Microsoft support:

Here are Microsoft's long-term plans about supporting Windows: Microsoft's table of support lifecycle

Here Microsoft explains what "support" means.
See the question: What is the difference between Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Self-help Online Support for software products?

Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended January 13, 2015, which means no more changes to "product design and features", and that "complimentary support" is not available. However, Extended Support (for Windows 7 through January 2020) includes security updates, paid support, and continued questions and answers on Microsoft's support websites. Sounds good to me!

In addition, Microsoft "will offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January 2023" only for organizations that have large-scale expensive contracts with Microsoft, which means Not for you!