There’s a strong chance that your computer is currently running on Windows 7. In fact, according to Net Application, 40.3% of all computer users are still running on this software. It’s a fan favorite for users. And as of today, despite being nine years old, it is still the most widely used operating system.

Despite the popularity, just like every other operating system, Windows 7 will soon reach the end of its product lifecycle. That date is quickly approaching and on January 14th, 2020 all support will end for Windows 7.

Letting Your Guard Down

So what does this mean for the 40% of computer users who are still on this operating system? I’m sure you’re wondering what would happen if you decided to risk it and continue running your computer with Windows 7 after January 2020. The primary risk is that there are significant security implications that arise when support no longer exists for an operating system. Cybercriminals will have plenty of information about the vulnerabilities that exist in Windows 7.

Any new vulnerabilities discovered after this date will not be addressed by new security updates that are issued by Microsoft. Cybercriminals can reverse engineer vulnerabilities to find the code that contains a vulnerability. Hacker can develop a workaround that exploits the vulnerability of non-updated machines (as of January 2020 that will be all Windows 7 machines) if they can find the bad code.

The Domino Effect

Once a vulnerability is found in one version of Windows, research is conducted to identify if any other versions are affected. Microsoft attempts to combat this by releasing security updates to all affected products at once. Such a practice, helps users protect their computers before a hacker can reverse engineer the vulnerability (this only applies if you apply updates promptly!).

On January 14th, 2020, Cybercriminals will now have a leg up on those machines with Windows 7. Any new security updates for other Windows Operating Systems will be reverse engineered in an attempt to exploit those users who have failed to update to Windows 10. Essentially, those computers with Windows 7 will have a big red target on them starting on January 15th, 2020.

Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Windows 7 was a great operating system in its time and has provided value to many people and organizations around the world for years. But all good things must come to an end.

Knowing this information, you’re sure to have some questions. We’ve decided to help answer some of the most frequently asked questions by users.

Can I upgrade my existing PC to Windows 10?

Yes, you can upgrade compatible Windows 7 PCs based on specific requirements with a full license. To take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities, Microsoft recommends moving to a new PC with Windows 10.

What happens if I continue to use Windows 7?

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 updates.

After January 14th, 2020 can I still activate Windows 7?

After support has ended, users can still install and activate Windows 7. However, to avoid unnecessary security risks and viruses, Microsoft strongly recommends that you use Windows 10 instead.

Will Windows 7 still support Internet Explorer?

On January 14th, 2020, Microsoft will discontinue support for Internet Explorer on Windows 7 devices. As a component of Windows Operating Systems, Internet Explorer follows the same support lifecycle.

Change is Inevitable

Ready to make the shift to Windows 10? It’s a change we can help you prepare for. A new Operating System means continued security and protection from possible threats. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It’s time to start considering the upgrade to Windows 10 today before you fall victim to an attack when support stops in 2020.