The End of Life for Windows 7: What You Need to Know

The Windows operating systems powers most of the devices that people use today. There are more than 1 billion machines that use Windows in the world right now. Yet, more impressive is that almost half of those machines, 400 million, use the latest Windows version - Windows 10.

That's because Windows is always released with new features and enhancements that make it a valuable investment. When you upgrade your operating system, you're extending the lifespan of your machine. You're always helping it run quicker and keeping it modern.

Yet, operating systems can fall out of vogue. Windows 7 is about to stop being supported, meaning many people may soon find themselves having to upgrade their systems. Yet, there isn't any rush. Windows 7 is still going strong, and it's still a solid operating system.

Keep reading below to learn what Windows 7 losing support can mean for you and your devices!

Operating Systems Can Expire

The most important thing to understand is that, just like almost anything else, operating systems can expire. You probably threw your old Nokia phone away when the smartphone away, just like you probably threw away food that's gone bad. Nothing lasts forever, and it's up to you to ensure your devices keep up with the rest of the tech world.

Windows 7 will lose extended support on January 14, 2020. Almost right as the next year starts, you can expect to stop being handed new updates to your operating system. To get them again, you'll have to upgrade.

The operating system already lost its mainstream support many years ago, in 2015. Once it loses extended support, the company will effectively abandon it except for the bare minimum it needs to function. You'll be left with the operating system you have, without it ever being updated again.

There Are Two Different Kinds Of Support

If you're unfamiliar with how operating systems work, you may be confused with terms like 'mainstream' and 'extended' support. They describe different parts of an operating system's life and different ways its creating company treats it. The terms also describe the different things you can expect out of your OS depending on how old it is.

Keep reading below to learn the differences between each term, and where your operating system is in its lifecycle.

Mainstream Support

Mainstream support is the first stage of an operating system and is when the company cares the most about it. While an operating system is in its mainstream support phase, you can expect lots of updates, as a user. These updates aren't always run-of-the-mill security updates and patches, either.

Instead, mainstream support often means you can expect more features to be added as time goes on. Its the period in which the company expects its product to keep up with the latest technology trends. Its when Microsoft wants its OS to stay relevant compared to other options.

To achieve that, they keep Windows updated so that it can compete with other systems like Linux or macOS. They add new features that can mimic some of the features being added on other platforms. Microsoft may also invent new features to add besides whatever is trending in the tech industry.

They can do this because the system is still powerful enough to handle updates, at this stage. It can still utilize hardware effectively and manage the resources available to it. Yet, as hardware evolves and systems get more and more updates, it can get difficult to manage.

When that happens, Microsoft starts to wind down its support and the system enters its second stage. Usually, this happens about five years after release.

Extended Support

Once a system's mainstream support stage is over, it enters the extended support stage. At this stage, Microsoft will still regularly update the system since by then, it's likely a commonly used system. The company can't simply abandon its core userbase. Yet, Microsoft may start working on other projects.

During the extended support phase, users can expect fewer large updates. Instead, they can expect minor bug fixes, patches, and security updates, for the most part. Users who run into issues with the system may also find it harder to get complimentary support for it.

This is the stage in which user communities usually start to emerge, with their own technical solutions to common problems. These communities are usually dedicated to the operating system, and work to ensure it remains relevant. In essence, the operating systems start being treated as more of an open source platform than an actual product.

This stage also usually lasts for around 5 years - and it'll end for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. After that, users will stop receiving updates like they're used to. The company will still release security updates to keep Windows 7 safe to use, but will not release patches or bug fixes. For those, you may need to turn to the community.

You Can Still Use Windows 7 With New Features

Just because an operating system may stop being supported doesn't mean it'll automatically break. You can still use Windows 7 exactly as you're used to using it. Losing support just means the company won't pay as much attention to it as they used to. They'll still keep it secure and operational, even if they're not as committed to it.

So keep downloading new programs to it, just as usual. For the time being, nothing will change. However, once an operating system's extended support phase ends, it's time to consider upgrading.

People will stop using it over time, which means software developers will stop making products for it. You'll see the options you have for various tools on your computer shrink. Then one day, you may not be able to download anything new at all.

So while you may not need to immediately upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 10 after January 14, 2020, you should consider it. Otherwise, you may end up stuck with an unusable system as software developers abandon the OS.

The Move To An Upgraded System Is Easy

Luckily, it's easy to upgrade from Windows 7. The operating system released around the time Microsoft began focusing on making its products consumer-friendly. There are many upgrade tools you can use to make the jump from Windows 7 to Windows 10 as easy as possible.

Or, if you need to upgrade a whole office of devices, you can just contact us for technical assistance. We will help you upgrade your system and keep it running as well as possible. That way, you'll be able to stay ahead in your market and keep working as hard as you always do!