Why am I still writing about Windows 7? It’s dead, Jim! The tombstone reads, “June 22, 2009 – January 14, 2020.” It was a good run, but unless you’re shelling out some serious coin for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), you shouldn’t be running Windows 7.
But many of you are. According to the best survey of who’s running what, the U.S. government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP), on February 14, weeks after Win7’s end of life, just over one in 20 of Windows users was still using Windows 7! Oh, come on! More than five per cent! A dead and buried OS! Get with the program!
I know some of you are hanging on because you still have that one lousy application that requires Windows 7 to run. Heck, a friend told me his company is still using an “essential” application that’s running on — I kid you not — Windows 95.
That’s not smart.
If you really must keep that one program, stick it in a Windows 7 virtual machine (VM) without networking on an operating system that still has security and support.
What’s that? Your best-loved program won’t run without a network connection? <Closes eyes.> OK, get a newer version that will run on Windows 10. There isn’t one? Then get another program, or write your own — do anything except keep it running on Win7. You’re just asking for your PC, and then the rest of your network, to get hammered.
Do you really want your computers working for a MyKings botnet Bitcoin miner? I think not.
Some of you are sticking with Windows 7 out of pure inertia. I get that. You’ve used it for years, it’s done well for you, and, so far, nothing’s gone terribly wrong with it.
“So far.” But something will. It’s only a matter of time.
Making things even more annoying is that third-party software vendors are encouraging you to stick with Windows 7.
For example, Google has promised that it will support Windows 7 until July 2021. True, Chrome Safe Browsing, Site Isolation and Google’s latest advanced password and phishing protections make Windows 7 safer. But safer is not the same thing as safe. If you want to really protect yourself, you want to be running Chrome on Windows 10, Linux or, of course, Chrome OS.
More annoying by far is that antivirus companies are encouraging you to stick with Windows 7 as well. Pretty much every Windows 7 antivirus program will be supported for two more years. Even Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will continue to receive signature updates after January 14, 2020. However, the MSE software won’t be getting any updates.
In a way, all these support moves are nice. But, they’re not healthy. They’re enabling you to stick with a bad relationship. Windows 7 is dead. The sooner you recognise this and move on to a better operating system, the better.
But if you can’t let go, don’t come crying to me when your personal information ends up sold on the dark web or you find your PC locked up with ransomware.