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Support for Windows 7 is nearing the end

After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is coming to an end on January 14, 2020.
Support for Windows 7 is nearing the end

The end is near for Windows 7 users: After 10 years, Microsoft will stop supporting the OS on Jan. 14, 2020, which means it's time to upgrade to Windows 10 to keep your PC running smoothly and securely. (Extended support for Windows 8.1 users ends in January 2023.)

Some users have been hesitant to make the switch, as the rollout of Windows 10 saw several issues, including a series of bugs that led Microsoft to pull its October 2018 Update days after its release. In April, however, Microsoft laid out several changes to its update approach starting with the May 2019 release, including slower rollouts with additional testing, more options for pausing updates and more disclosure of known issues.

Many of the issues are due to the fact that updates are happening more frequently, said Gartner Research analyst Steve Kleynhans. "But overall most users seem pretty happy with the OS and like the experience it brings, especially on newer devices," he added.

What does end of support mean?

When Windows 7 reaches end of support on January 14, 2020, your computer will still function but Microsoft will no longer provide the following:

  • Technical support for any issues
  • Software updates
  • Security updates or fixes

While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10. And the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC. While it is possible to install Windows 10 on your older device, it is not recommended.

Here are the three main reasons why you need to upgrade your personal PC to Windows 10 ASAP.

Security

The need to upgrade to Windows 10 is "primarily a security issue," said Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt. If you are still using Windows 7 or earlier versions come January, Microsoft will not provide security updates or fixes, or technical support for any issues -- leaving your computer at greater risk from viruses and malware.

Windows 10 includes the built-in Windows Defender Antivirus to protect against malware and spyware across email, apps, the cloud and the web. Windows Hello offers a password-free sign in option to unlock your devices with your face or a fingerprint reader. And a Find My Device service can lock and erase your Windows device remotely, or map the location of your device.

User experience features

Windows 10 offers a better user experience thanks to a number of features, Kleynhans said. One is the Your Phone app, which allows you to access texts, notifications and apps on your phone using your PC -- similar to Apple's Continuity features. A feature called Calls allows you to place and answer Android calls on your PC as well (and you can connect your iPhone to your Windows PC as well). A dictation feature lets you easily record ideas.

Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana is also available on Windows 10 PCs. The OS also integrates better with Microsoft OneDrive and other cloud tools, Kleynhans said.

The most recent Windows 10 November 2019 update includes some new features such as changes to notifications that will make them easier to configure and manage from an app or website, and the ability to create events directly from the Calendar flyout on the Taskbar, instead of opening the app.

Automatic updates

Unlike previous versions, Windows 10 offers automatic updates by default, to keep systems more secure. (You can turn these off if you want to, by going to Windows Update Settings > Advanced Options and changing from Automatic to another option in the drop-down menu.)

"While some users might actually think that getting no more annoying updates is a blessing, it actually would pretty quickly expose the user to all sorts of potential malware attacks," Kleynhans said. "The good news is that for the most part Windows 10 is a pretty smooth upgrade for the vast majority of users."

You can expect updates to happen fairly frequently, Hewitt said, "almost as if you're using an Android or an iOS device and getting prompts to continuously update the operating system."

What's new in recent updates [Check in here]

New features in recent Windows updates will help you manage your time, increase security, and get more creative with Windows 10. With this update, it'll be easier to get things done on your PC and across your other devices, including syncing to Android phones (7.0 or later).

Get the Windows 10 May 2019 Update

When the Windows 10 May 2019 Update is ready for your device, it will be available to download from the Windows Update page in Settings. Choose a time that works best for you to download the update. You'll then need to restart your device and complete the installation. After that, your device will be running Windows 10, version 1903. (To check whether you're already running the May 2019 Update, select View update history on the Windows Update settings page.)
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