RIP Windows 7: We’re Going to Miss You

Windows 7 default wallpaper

More than a decade after its release, End of Windows 7 support January 14, 2020. Let’s see what made Windows 7 so great and why it’s a great operating system that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

An upgrade worthy of Windows XP

A Windows 7 desktop with the Control Panel and Windows Explorer open.

Windows 7 arrived on October 22, 2009, eight years after Microsoft released Windows XP. Sure, Windows Vista came out in between, but many people haven’t switched to Windows Vista. Many of us here at How-To Geek haven’t!

Windows XP was a solid operating system at the time. It was the first consumer version of Windows based on the Windows NT kernel and was much more stable than the previous version, Windows ME. But 2001 was a different period from 2009, and Windows XP was getting long in the tooth.

Windows 7 was a major upgrade from Windows XP. Even the visuals were a big problem: we remember Windows XP fondly, but many Windows users criticized it for its “Fisher-Price look” at the time. Windows 7 brought Aero Glass, a more refined transparent look that many Windows users still miss on Windows 10.

So much has been improved. For example, Windows HomeGroup made it easier to share files and printers compared to the standard home network configuration of Windows XP. Windows 7 offered good support 64-bit version. There was a 64-bit edition of Windows XP, but it came later, and far fewer people used it.

Windows 7 was also designed from day one for security. It’s easy to forget, but the initial versions of Windows XP were somewhat vulnerable to malware because they exposed critical services to the Internet by default. This led to the “Trustworthy IT“And Windows XP Service Pack 2, which allowed the firewall window by default. Windows 7 was much more secure from the start.

RELATED: Windows 7 dies today: here’s what you need to know

Keep the promise of Windows Vista

A User Account Control security prompt on Windows 7.

Many of the best features in Windows 7 weren’t new at all. These were more refined versions of the functionality first introduced in Windows Vista, which many PC users have overlooked. Windows 7 has seen significant polishing and refinements to many features of Windows Vista. Windows 7 was Windows Vista like Windows 10 Windows 8.

User account control is one of those great features. It’s easy to forget the bad old days now, but many people were using Windows XP with administrator accounts, and all of the software was running with administrator permissions all the time. Windows XP theoretically allows you to use a standard user account with reduced permissions, but many applications do not support it. User account control has provided a simplified way to authorize administrator access, and classic Windows desktop programs now work with lower authorization levels, except when they require full access to your system. This is excellent for security as it limits the damage that running applications can do to your system, especially if they are compromised.

It was an improvement on Windows Vista, but many applications were not designed for it at the time. UAC was difficult at the start of Windows Vista. A new graphics driver model has also been introduced in Windows Vista, but manufacturers have taken a while to stabilize their graphics drivers.

These startup issues were resolved on Windows Vista before the launch of Windows 7. Windows 7 acquired the refined versions of all these important features, and the operating system was stable and rock-like on the first day.

A raft to hang onto during the Windows 8 era

The Start menu opens on a Windows 7 desktop.

Windows 8 came out three years after Windows 7, and that’s when we started to enjoy Windows 7 even more.

At the time, Microsoft’s vision was all about touch screens. Windows 8 didn’t include a Start menu and forced you to start in full screen “Subway“Environment. Even on desktop computers, Microsoft thought that a huge, full-screen “Metro” application was the future. Anyway, who needs Windows on an operating system called Windows?

Windows users balked, and many of the craziest changes – the lack of a Start menu, for example – were quickly picked up in Windows 8.1. Other changes, like the ability to run these new style apps in desktop windows, have materialized in Windows 10.

But, while Windows has undergone its most traumatic changes in decades, most Windows users haven’t skipped a moment. We all had Windows 7 to keep. The crazy changes in Windows 8 didn’t matter. In fact, most people skipped Windows 8 and went straight to Windows 10.

A simpler operating system

Solitaire on Windows 7.

Using Windows 7 is like using a simpler operating system.

For example, Solitaire on Windows 7 is just a desktop program that plays Solitaire. Unlike the modern version of Microsoft Solitaire, you won’t find any paid video ads or monthly subscriptions in Solitaire on Windows 7.

Windows 7 offers automatic updates, but not automatic forced updates that you can’t turn off. Fortunately, this is something Microsoft came back from. You now have a lot more control over Windows 10 updates.

Windows 7 also doesn’t receive massive updates every six months. Again, this is something Microsoft is moving away from. Windows 10 November 10 update was the smallest and best to date.

Advertising is minimal on Windows 7 – was there advertising in Windows 7? – Windows 10 is full of ads with ads for everything from Minecraft to Office 365 to Microsoft Rewards.

Windows 7 does not have install Candy Crush automatically after configuring it either. And Windows 7 didn’t use dark patterns to encourage you to create a Microsoft account—He didn’t even allow you to sign in with a Microsoft account. Your accounts were always local.

It’s no wonder so many people don’t want to switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10, even if Windows 7 reaches its official end of support.

RELATED: How to turn off all built-in ads in Windows 10

So why do we recommend an upgrade?

Windows 10 clear background image logo.

We could remember Windows 7 endlessly, and we will remember it fondly. But despite all this, we still recommend leaving Windows 7 behind after Microsoft has focused on it.

If you want to continue using Windows, you need to upgrade to Windows 10. Security updates are essential for staying safe online, and Windows 10 gets them while Windows 7 is not. Many flaws found in Windows 10 will also apply to Windows 7. Attackers will hear about it and can start attacking these vulnerable Windows 7 systems. The more time passes, the more there are known uncorrected flaws in Windows 7 for exploitation.

Hardware manufacturers also support Windows 10 instead of Windows 7. This will only become true after the end of support date. Even software publishers will one day stop publishing new versions of their web browsers and other software for Windows 7.

While it’s easy to focus on the negatives with Windows 10, there are many positives. A lot of work under the hood has helped make Windows 10 (and Windows 8 before it) safer and faster. For example, if you have an older processor, it will work better on Windows 10 than on Windows 7 thanks to more optimized fixes for the Specter flaw on this more modern operating system.

Windows 10 basically has the same hardware requirements as Windows 7 and will work on your existing computer.

You can turn off built-in ads in Windows 10, even if it’s more work than it should be. You also have a lot more control over updates, and Microsoft seems to be slowing down and tweaking these Windows updates much better.

RELATED: What it Means When Microsoft Stops Supporting Your Version of Windows

You don’t need to use Windows 10

And, if you don’t want to continue using Windows, you have more options than ever! From Macs to Chromebooks to iPads and Linux desktops, there are many solid computing platforms. With the Web more important than ever, platforms like Chrome OS and Linux are very usable.

Yes, you can run Chrome (or Firefox) and do everything that Chrome (or Firefox) does on Linux, including watching Netflix and other streaming services.

We’re not trying to sell you on Windows 10 here, we just think it’s time for Windows 7 users to switch to a modern platform supported with security fixes and optimized for use with hardware most recent. We are in 2020 and the era of Windows 7 has ended.

However, if you want to upgrade to Windows 10, you can still get Windows 10 for free on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC. We don’t know if Microsoft will end this offer after the company officially ends support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020.

RELATED: You can still get Windows 10 for free with a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 key

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