Sun is setting on Windows 7

I don’t know if something first built in 1987 is old enough to qualify as a “classic” but I would love to own a Ferrari F40, a modern classic in my eyes, as my daily driver; scout’s honor that it won’t become a “garage queen” under my watch – vroom, vroom!

The digital world has its own classics. For example Microsoft’s Windows computer operating system has had classics, and duds, over the decades.

Remember Windows XP? That was a classic, both in terms of how long it lasted in the market and how versatile it was as an operating system. Of the many versions that followed Windows XP, one worthy of one day being called a classic is Windows 7.

Although the jury is out as to whether Windows 10 will also be a classic, the days are numbered for Windows 7. On Jan. 14, 2020, it’ll meet the same fate Windows XP faced on April 8, 2014.

In late 2018 Microsoft said they’ll offer a “paid” support option to give you three more years of use; your Windows 7 “trim” must meet certain criteria, akin to car models having various trim levels you can pay for. Frankly, for the masses, I don’t see the point in paying for those three extra years as it will probably be pricey.

Supercars or family sedans, they all have an engine that, through the transmission, moves the four wheels touching the road to get you from point A to point B. Even a Ford Model T (in 2019), almost 110 years after its birth, can deliver on that promise in the real world.

Computers, tablets, smartphones and most other electronic devices in the digital world have operating systems that manage how the hardware (i.e. pieces-and-parts) and software work together to accomplish what the user wants to do. Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s MacOS are operating systems for desktop and laptop computers while Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are operating systems for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Technology evolves at a hair-raising rate which I often refer to as dog years. The passing of one real-world year is equivalent to seven years in the digital world, and most electronic devices succumb to obsolescence – technological obsolescence to be exact – that makes them useless beyond a certain point (which is unlike the car analogy).

It’s one thing if your device becomes useless due to technology’s built-in obsolescence; it’s another if continued use of expired operating systems leads to more serious risks. As was the case in using Windows XP beyond April 2014, continued use of Windows 7 after January 2020 exposes you to greater risk of being victimized, especially in the always-connected [to internet] world we live in today.

In a future column we will enumerate options to move on from Windows 7, including options other than moving to Windows 10. We don’t have too much time as Ides of March is already upon us and in my mind it is not a question of “to upgrade, or not to upgrade” as the latter has potential of dire consequences in 2020.

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with almost 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 03.05.2019