Microsoft has fulfilled its 10-year commitment to provide product support for Windows 7 after it was released in October 2009. With the deadline set for January 14, 2020, Windows 7 End of Life (EOL) is now imminent. Although Win 7 is still the favorite operating system for many users globally, Microsoft has decided to end the support of the Windows 7 Operating System come 2020.
This means that one year from now, you may have to upgrade to a new Windows version because Microsoft will no longer issue bug fixes or security patches for the Windows 7 Operating System.
Over 37 percent of Windows users are running Windows 7, and if it’s your case, your major concern must be, “Can I use Windows 7 after 2020?
Unfortunately, you have until January 2020 to consider an upgrade to keep using your PC. If you decide to continue using Windows 7, you’ll be putting your system at risk since security vulnerabilities will no longer be addressed by Microsoft.
The good news is that all is not lost. Today’s guide shows you how to keep using Windows 7 unscathed. But first, let us address two major questions that keep popping up on forums around the Internet.
Will Windows 7 Support Be Extended?
End of Life for Windows 7 means the end of support for the OS by Microsoft. Windows 7 will continue to work, but there will be no improvements or updates made on the product. This will be a huge challenge for many organizations who have been using the operating system for years.
If Windows 7 has been your main operating system for a long time, then you know that your employees have become accustomed to how the system works, and upgrading to a newer version might not be that easy. Plus, it is costly and time-consuming to upgrade all machines in an organization.
It is expensive to make all your employees undergo training on how the new system works, and this makes most companies reluctant to switch to a new Windows operating system. That’s why you will still find organizations using Windows XP at this day and age after Microsoft ended its support back on April 8, 2014.
For this reason, Microsoft has allowed individuals, companies, and organizations a period of one year to plan and implement the new changes. The year 2020 may seem far, but for a company, it makes it possible to identify all the infrastructure necessary for a smooth upgrade.
If you decide to use Windows 7 after the deadline, then you must be prepared to meet the costs. The Extended Security Updates (ESU) program will allow Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise users who are under Volume Licensing to pay a certain fee to keep receiving support, including security patches. This way, your system won’t be the target of malware developers. However, this doesn’t mean there will be new features.
The ESU program will be a per-device cost, which means the more computers you have running Windows 7, the more it will cost you. The program is set to run three years after the official public support ends. Microsoft also notes that the price will increase every year although there was no official announcement on pricing. In other words, it is organizations who will have to foot the bill for the pricey ESU program, making it inevitable to migrate to Windows 10.
Can I Continue Using Windows 7 After 2020?
The simple answer is yes. Windows 7 won’t stop working after the January 2020 deadline. But, there is a caveat. Cybercriminals will be able to easily exploit your system, and you’ll be putting your entire network at risk of bugs and cyber-attacks.
What if we told you there are certain key steps that you can take to keep using Windows 7 for as long as you wish? Read through to find out more.
Solutions to Use Windows 7 Forever
Microsoft’s main intention is for Windows users to switch to the new Windows 10 version. That’s why the extension of Win7 EOL is a paid service. If you can’t afford to pay for the security patches, there are a few tricks that you can employ to continue enjoying your favorite operating system.
Step 1. Keep Using Windows 7 After End of Life
Win7 will still be available to users worldwide. The only difference is that you won’t receive security updates or new features from Microsoft. Nevertheless, with a reliable antivirus, you can prevent hackers from finding loopholes in your system.
We recommend a tool like Auslogics Anti-Malware for the total security of your PC. Cybercriminals keep developing new malicious applications that target weak systems. Since your PC stores a lot of personal or company information, you won’t want to allow any risks that could jeopardize your business data, including passwords.
The Auslogics Anti-Malware software safeguards your system against malware intrusion and provides an impenetrable wall that will keep hackers out.
To further keep your files safe, consider backing up your computer regularly for easy data retrieval in case of a system crash or a malware attack.
Step 2. Disable Windows 10 Upgrade
By default, Windows 7 machines are set to auto-update to the latest Windows version. To stop the automatic updates, you can configure a Group Policy to disable the option to upgrade to Windows 10.
An easier way to disable and block the future Windows upgrade is via system configuration. To proceed, follow the steps outlined below.
- Open “Computer Configuration”, and select “Policies”.
- Look for, and select “Administrative Templates”.
- Select “Windows Updates”, and then double-click “Turn off the upgrade to the latest version of Windows through Windows Update”.
- Click “Enable” to finish the setup.
This action prevents your PC from upgrading to a new Windows version until that time when you decide you want to upgrade.
Step 3: Make Changes to Win7 Settings
There are various changes you can implement to prevent the automatic Windows upgrade.
Option 1. Turn off Automatic Updates
- Click “Start”, and then open Control Panel > System and Security.
- Click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” option.
- Under the Important Updates section, choose “Never check for updates (not recommended)” from the drop-down list.
- Uncheck the box marked “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates”.
- Click the “OK” button.
Option 2: Turn Off the Customer Improvement Program
- Click “Start”, and then type customer in the Search programs and files box.
- Choose “Change Customer Experience Improvement Program settings”.
- Select the second option that says, “I don’t want to participate in the program”.
- Click “Save changes”.
Option 3: Disable Tasks via Task Scheduler
- Click “Start”, and then type task.
- Select “Task Scheduler”, and then follow this path on the left pane:
- Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Application Experience.
- Here, you will see three options, namely:
- Application Experience agent (AitAgent).
- Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser.
- Click on each option and then select “Disable” on the right pane, under “Actions”.
Step 4: Optimize Your PC
You don’t want to run a slow PC that takes ages to load. Junk files pile up after you installing and uninstalling software. Likewise, you need to remove duplicated files lying around on your PC, taking up space.
To clean up your PC with ease, we recommend installing a tool that’s been on the market for over 10 years. Auslogics BoostSpee has a multitude of applications from Disk Defrag to Duplicate Finder to Registry Cleaner to Tweak Manager. The program also disables unneeded startup programs to speed up boot time.
On top of that, the Auslogics BoostSpeed software helps to conceal your passwords and credit card information from hackers. Your browser will also be optimized to enable smooth and faster internet connections.
In case your disk develops issues, the tool comes with the in-built Disk Doctor feature that scans and fixes disk problems. This is a trusted software with over 15 million downloads by Windows users. The tool allows you to do so much with a single click. Simply install and run it to tune up your PC to optimal levels.
Don’t forget to create regular backups of your system. Things happen, and you may wake up one day, only to discover that your PC has ceased all normal functions. You can use a cloud option or back up your data to an external hard drive.
Keep Up with the New Updates
Whether you approve Microsoft’s decision or not, the fact remains that the company will keep developing and releasing new updates periodically and stop supporting older operating systems.
This exposes the older Windows versions to security vulnerabilities that put your PC at risk. To get ready for the Win7 End of Life, consider the following actions:
- Set aside a budget and a timeline within which you will have upgraded to the new system.
- Strategize how to train employees on the new features that come with the new version of Windows.
- Identify all the machines in your organization that need replacing or upgrading. Some machines may not work with Windows 10 because they lack the necessary system requirements. This also includes hardware such as printers and scanners.
If you still want to hang on to Win7, we hope you find these guidelines useful.