All good things comes to an end. 15th January 2020 marks the last day of official support by Microsoft to Windows 7 – the most used operating system worldwide.
Microsoft’s Windows 7 was a successor to the most under-appreciated Windows, Windows Vista and was released in October 2009.
Microsoft released Windows 7 in less than 3 years (3 years being its normal cycle back then) to address criticisms & issues that users encountered with Windows Vista, particularly in areas of poor performance on existing hardware of that time, applications and drivers incompatibilities and new hardware requirements to run AERO glass effect. The market wasn’t prepared for such a significant update and hence Vista was a big flop.
Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Microsoft 365 wrote in a blog post yesterday, “Today marks the end of support for Windows 7. Ten years ago, when we first announced Windows 7 and Office 2010, we focused on delivering the best productivity experience of the time. But since then, thanks to breakthrough advancements in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), we’ve been able to build tools to help you take advantage of new forms of productivity. And as the cybersecurity landscape continues to dramatically evolve every day, ten-year-old tech just can’t keep up. With Windows 10, the power of the cloud makes you and your organization more productive and secure than ever. As we end support for Windows 7, I encourage you to transition to these newer options right away.“
Windows 7 was generally received positively by the market and was meant to be incremental update to Vista, as said, mostly to undo the mistakes of Vista.
What does it mean for consumers and for Enterprise customers for Windows 7 after 15th January. Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7, which means no security patches, no bug fixes and no new features. This does not mean after 15th January your Operating System will suddenly not start. It will continue to work as expected with a warning by Microsoft about the end of life of the product.
If you are totally disconnected from the internet (which is highly unlikely) then there shouldn’t be a big problem for you, but for users who are using Windows 7 as their main daily driver connected to the internet, then there is bit of a concern here.
Bad guys out there will be more active targeting Windows 7 machines which still accounts for 30.34% worldwide (as per Net Applications as of Aug 2019). They will look for operating system’s security weaknesses. Windows 7 will be vulnerable and at much high risks of being attack.
For home users, I believe you should just upgrade to Windows 10 right away. There are only good stuff for you on the other side.
For Enterprise customers, you first need to analyze your environment. What critical applications are tied to Windows 7. Can your developers upgrade applications to support Windows 10? What are the timelines, cost associated with it? But upgrading to Windows 10 is highly recommended and sooner the better. The cost of upgrading custom applications to newer operating system maybe lesser than God forbid if your organization is taken to ransom by some hacker asking for x number of BitCoins or just getting infected by virus and losing important data.