How to replace your 7 depends on your usage

In my March 5 article that highlighted Windows 7’s impending demise, I mentioned Microsoft’s forthcoming annual subscription option that will provide Windows 7 “Pro” edition users the monthly security updates (up to three additional years) beyond the expiration date. However, there is no such offering for Windows 7 “Home” edition users. To check which edition you have, go to “Start” -> “Control Panel” -> “System.”

A couple of weeks after that article went to press, Microsoft announced the pricing for its Extended Security Updates subscription. Whether burning $350 over three years ($50, $100 and $200 respectively) is a good option or a money pit will depend on your price sensitivity and other personal parameters.

An actionable plan is better than inaction because you want to minimize the risk of being victimized if you are still using Windows 7 on your computer beyond Jan. 14, 2020. At the least for Pro edition users, forking over $50 that first year can buy you time.

Many of you may have the feeling of deja vu and you are correct. Microsoft did something similar, although it didn’t cost anything, with their other popular operating system Windows XP. Microsoft relented and moved the date back when users revolted to Microsoft’s initial R.I.P. date on XP’s tombstone.

There is one major difference between planning for XP’s demise back then versus Windows 7’s: more options are available now. With the exponential growth of lifestyle-altering personal tools such as smartphones, combined with the prominence of internet in our daily lives, the usage of traditional computers running Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s MacOS may have tilted further to the “specialized” end of the use case continuum.

When you bought your current computer, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you were mostly using it to check your personal email and browse the web. After all, not everyone needs to use a spreadsheet, balance a budget, type a dissertation or manage a project!

If emailing and browsing is all that one does, these days we have far greater options than buying a computer that does everything but the kitchen sink. For example we have smartphones and tablets that can easily let you email and shop online. A SmartTV can easily stream (i.e. receive transmission over the internet) different kinds of entertainment.

Of course if you do more than just email and browse the internet, another computer to replace your system running on Windows 7 will make sense. Even then you have more options: Windows 10, MacOS, Chromebook, and Linux. The latter has come a long way from being the enthusiast’s operating system of choice and can also have the added advantage of being friendly to your wallet.

An honest understanding of your use case should lead you to the appropriate strategy of how to spend your hard-earned cash when you need to do “something” with your Windows 7 computer before Jan. 14, 2020. We’ll review many options in detail in the third installment of this topic.

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 8, Posted 9:43 AM, 04.16.2019