Microsoft's decade-old operating system - Windows 7 - will reach ‘end of life' on January 14. This means that the company will stop the free technical support and producing ‘security patches' to fix software vulnerabilities. It is recommended that all users switch to Windows 10 or newer Windows versions before Windows 7 support ends. While Windows 7 won't see any support, Google claims that it will keep updating Chrome on Windows 7 devices with software and security patches for 18 more months. This means support for Chrome users on Windows 7 will go on till July next year.
The tech giant is all set to end support for its Windows 7 software next week i.e. on January 14. While the software won't stop working, Microsoft won't be delivering any security patches, t hereby making it a breeding ground for hackers to tinker with. The ideal solution, as mentioned, is to update to the latest software. While the free program to update to Windows 10 ended on July 2016, users can purchase the software and install it easily. If you have a genuine copy of Windows 7 installed, you can still download Windows 10 for free by heading to the download page, and installing the Media Creation Tool.
So, what does the January 14 date mean exactly? On its site, Microsoft says "After January 14, 2020, if your PC is running Windows 7, it will no longer receive security updates. Therefore, it's important that you upgrade to a modern operating system such as Windows 10, which can provide the latest security updates to help keep you and your data safer. In addition, Microsoft customer service will no longer be available to provide Windows 7 technical support. Related services for Windows 7 will also be discontinued over time. For example, certain games such as Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers as well as Electronic Program Guide for Windows Media Center are scheduled to be discontinued in January 2020."
However, paid support is still available, and Microsoft notes: "Extended Security Updates (ESU) are available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Professional for Embedded Systems editions of this product, for up to an additional three years past the end of support."
Note that Microsoft advises against installing Windows 10 on a very old device, as some Windows 7 devices are not compatible with Windows 10 and could result in reduced feature availability. If you have an old device, consider updating to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 instead. Software support for Windows 8.1 is slated to end on January 10, 2023, so you can buy a few years with that. Users can also alternatively, choose to ditch Window OS altogether, and opt for Linux distros like Ubuntu, Debian, and more.
Microsoft notes that support for Internet Explorer will also end with Windows 7 on January 14, and to compensate for that, Google Chrome has announced that it will support Chrome software updates on Windows 7 devices till July 15, 2021. This is 18 months of additional software support, after Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 next week. “We will continue to fully support Chrome on Windows 7 for a minimum of 18 months from Microsoft's End of Life date, until at least July 15, 2021. So if you haven't started your move to Windows 10 yet, or even if your organization is mid-way through migration, you can still benefit from the enterprise capabilities of Chrome,” Google notes on its blog.