After 10 glorious years in the market, Windows 7 is finally coming to an end. Microsoft recently started sending Windows 7 Service Pack 1 users notifications about the operating system’s end of life date. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer release new security updates for Windows 7.
While you can technically keep using Windows 7 past its shelf life, the increasing risk of cybersecurity threats means that you really shouldn’t. For those who didn’t take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade in 2018, there’s still time to upgrade. Here are several ways to tackle the end-of-life for Windows 7:
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Download Windows 10 Directly from Microsoft
You can purchase Windows 10 Home edition directly from Microsoft’s official website. It would cost you a cool $130 or so, but you would have a legitimate and official product key. There are several steps involved in getting the upgrade.
Once you have downloaded the Windows 10 kit, install it and run the Media Creation tool. It would prompt you to upgrade your current PC or create an installation media to upgrade a different PC. The latter option allows you to create installed files on a CD or a USB stick for future use.
Once you have chosen your option, the machine would automatically upgrade to Windows 10. You would then have to activate your PC by following this path: Settings > Update & Security > Activation. Use the product key here to legitimize your copy of Windows 10. Then you can follow the prompt to fully install the operating system on your PC.
Users should note that Windows 10 installations have resulted in many errors in the past. If you get a “Windows 10 is not validated on this computer,” error message, it’s usually difficult to fix such issues. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to backup all your files before upgrading your computer.
Use Your Windows 7 Product Key
Microsoft has made it possible to upgrade to Windows 10 using a legitimate product key for Windows 7 machines. Follow the steps mentioned above for downloading Windows 10, and then use your Windows 7 product key to validate the installation.
If you have used your product key in several PCs, it may no longer work. In that case, you would need to purchase a new product key by paying for the operating system.
Buy a New Computer
Still using a PC you bought in 2009? Installing Windows 10 might not be possible on older machines, as the hardware must meet minimal requirements. For owners of older laptops or desktops, it might just be more cost-effective to purchase a new laptop that comes with Windows 10 already installed.
Use Windows Virtual Desktop
Not ready to give up Windows 7 yet? You can bypass the end-of-life date by switching to Microsoft Virtual Desktop application, which is hosted on the company’s Azure cloud platform. The app is intended for enterprise users of Windows 7, who might still use software compatible only with Windows 7, and not 10.
Virtual Desktop allows you to host Windows 7 applications on a Windows 10 cloud platform. No upgrades are necessary, and you can still enjoy complete security support. However, this bypass is not indefinite and you might eventually have to upgrade to Windows 10.
PC users now don’t have much choice by to upgrade to Windows 10, which is now available with most of the initial bugs sorted out. Make sure you upgrade before 2020 to get support from Microsoft in case anything goes wrong.