Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 with security updates on January 14, 2020. It's like Windows XP again, but much worse. Many more people stick to Windows 7 than XP.
Windows 7 usage is still high
In April 2013, when Windows XP only had one year of support, only 24.93% Windows users were sticking to XP. A significant number of 62.27% of desktop users were already running Windows 7.
Microsoft has an important problem to solve here. And Microsoft is entering this final stretch with the largest ever Windows 10 update mess never on his hands, too. Microsoft hardly defends Windows 10's arguments with skeptical Windows 7 users.
Why the end of support is important
End of support is a big problem. This means that Microsoft will stop issuing security patches for Windows 7 issues, which will make Windows 7 systems more and more vulnerable to attack. Security breaches detected and fixed in newer versions of Windows also often affect Windows 7. This means that attackers have a road map to attack Windows 7 systems, which will become less and less secure over time.
Microsoft's end of support date will also encourage other companies to stop supporting Windows 7 as well. Windows desktop applications may eventually cease to support older versions of Windows. It probably won't happen immediately, because Windows 7 isn't as long in the tooth as Windows XP when it was left behind. But don't be surprised when new applications or updates to your existing applications stop supporting Windows 7. You can no longer use a modern web browser on Windows XP, for example.
What you should do
If you are using Windows 7, you still have a year to decide what to do. Businesses and government agencies can pay for expensive extended support contracts to continue getting security fixes if they need more than a year to migrate, but Microsoft is trying to get everyone to access new versions of Windows.
When the time comes, you should seriously consider upgrading to Windows 10 rather than sticking to an uncorrected and increasingly vulnerable Windows 7. Legal and official ways to get Windows 10 for free, even if you missed the great free upgrade offer from Microsoft. All you need to do is insert your Windows 7 product code when installing Windows 10.
If you're bored with Windows 10, well, we understand. We are not here to push Windows 10. We recommend it rather than staying with Windows 7 less secure, but we also recommend Linux installation, get a Chromebookor switch to a Mac.
In short, we don't recommend staying with a vulnerable version of Windows for the long term.
But isn't Windows 10 terrible?
While Windows 10 has a lot of low-level improvements and better hardware support, Microsoft has been struggling with update bugs and insert more and more ads. Windows 10 is better than Windows 7 in many ways, but it is also worse in other ways.
We criticized Windows 10, but we also praised it. It boots faster than Windows 7, supports modern hardware better, is more stable right out of the box and is packed with useful security improvements. It even has smaller features that geeks will find useful, such as GPU usage information in Task Manager and Native ISO mount in File Explorer.
Microsoft must clean up its act and stop breaking things. Windows 10 October 2018 Update has been the biggest disaster to date but Microsoft acting a little chastised. Hopefully Microsoft can fix the Windows development process. And Microsoft is already making Windows 10 less boring, provide a cleaner Start menu by default and let the users uninstall more built-in apps.
But, aside from complaints about Windows 10, we prefer to use a version of Windows supported by security patches rather than staying with Windows 7.
Let's put this in context: most Windows 10 users haven't encountered these bugs. Most Windows 10 systems work fine. Most Windows 10 users still don't even use the October 2018 update. (Just do not click "Check for updates"!)
We do not apologize for Microsoft's file here. We should all expect better from them. But keep in mind that despite these widely reported issues, most Windows 10 users have never encountered them.
Can you continue to use Windows 7?
Technically, you can continue to use Windows 7. Microsoft won't suddenly shut it down and keep it from working overnight – it only happens with unstable versions of Windows.
Today you can also use Windows XP. But it doesn't get new security fixes, and software companies have been drop support for that. Even Valve's Steam game service just stopped working on Windows XP – despite the fact that Steam still sells games that were designed and work better on Windows XP. New hardware often doesn't work with Windows 7 today, and it will only get worse.
The internet is a messy and dangerous place. We strongly recommend that you use a modern and secure operating system on which the latest security patches are installed, regardless of which operating system.
You still have a year!
But let's not be too apocalyptic yet. You have a year of security fixes left for Windows 7. That means Microsoft has a year to pull themselves together and improve Windows 10 update without causing problems too.
And, if you really want Windows 10 not to update as much, you can still get Windows 10 Professional and delay updates. Most bugs will be resolved before these updates reach your PC.