End of Windows 7 Support – What Should I Do?

We’ve had many customers ask us about their Windows 7 machines recently.  For the past year, there has been sporadic news that Microsoft won’t provide Windows 7 support in just a few months. It’s true. From the Microsoft website:

“Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.

So, what should you do? You’ve got at least four options:

  1. Keep Windows 7 on your machine without updates after January 2020, making sure you have a great anti-virus.
  2. Upgrade your Operating System to Windows 10 on your current machine before January
  3. Replace with a brand new Windows 10 machine
  4. Totally switch gears and buy a Mac

Just so you know, Chris says we’ll continue using our Win7 computers after Windows 7 support ends, until there is some combination of:

  1. Our applications no longer work on Windows 7, and
  2. There are too many security issues that the Antivirus is not able to mitigate.

Please note: we will often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like.  Some of these we receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Reasons to keep Windows 7:

  1. Windows 7 is a well-socialized Operating System.  It has been around for years, has been used daily on Millions or Billions of computers, and has received many constructive bug fixes and incremental fixes over time.
  2. Windows 10 does have some useful security features which Windows 7 does not have.  But a superior Antivirus should intercept most of those issues for the foreseeable future.
  3. Windows 10 does not have any features that you have to run out and get right now because you are missing something.
  4. I have seen several instances where Windows 7 would have been more robust to a “Graceless Shutdown” or an “Operating System Corruption” than Windows 10.

There is a Rebuild versus Replace balance.

  • REPLACE: Getting a new computer will come with Windows 10 already on it, it will be new technology, and it will come with a new warranty.
  • REBUILD: Your current computer can have Windows 10 installed onto it, but there will be a parts and labor cost, and your applications will need to be installed and activated – some of them at a price.

Migrate or Upgrade?

We don’t recommend that you upgrade to Windows 10 but treat the process as a Migration instead.

How do I migrate to Windows 10?

  1. Replace your storage with a new drive.  This is an opportunity to get new and faster technology at your chief performance bottleneck.  Also, this allows the full contents of the original drive to be copied From – and can serve as a backup snapshot at the time.  If possible, get a Solid State Drive, because they are /Much/ faster than physical Hard Drives.  (Here’s a recent article I wrote about SSD’s. Chris recommends this internal SSD from Samsung.) If possible, Mirror your drives as a Raid 1 mirrored pair, to allow your data to survive the Single Drive Failure scenario.  On the open market, a 1TB SSD costs about $150.
  2. Do a fresh install of the Operating System.  Then, update the Operating System thoroughly. Once the OS is up-to-date, begin installing any applications.  Figure the retail cost of the Windows 10 Professional software is around $200.
  3. Have a fast line to the internet.  A complete first update of Windows 10 takes about one hour to receive over a line with a rated bandwidth of 12Mbps.
  4. You will need to reinstall all applications and software on the computer. This includes any productivity software like Office, accounting software like Quicken, etc. Keep in mind that apps like Microsoft Office allow a limited number of activations. If you’ve already reinstalled it a few times, you may not be able to reinstall it again.

Change is bad. Do I really have to make a change just because Windows 7 support is ending?

Good news! Microsoft has announced that they will begin to offer an Extended Security Update for Windows 7 starting in January.  This is from their press release:

“With that in mind, today we are announcing that we will offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January 2023. The Windows 7 ESU will be sold on a per-device basis and the price will increase each year. Windows 7 ESUs will be available to all Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers in Volume Licensing, with a discount to customers with Windows software assurance, Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education subscriptions. In addition, Office 365 ProPlus will be supported on devices with active Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January 2023. This means that customers who purchase the Windows 7 ESU will be able to continue to run Office 365 ProPlus.”

I haven’t been able to find pricing information, but we’ve heard rumors that the subscription to receive Windows 7 Operating System updates will be $100 for 2020, $200 for 2021, and $300 or $400 for 2022.

Conclusion:

Please contact us if you want to discuss your options.  Yes, we can help!

Please forward this to anyone who still has a Windows 7 machine.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

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