Only 13 weeks left from today

That’s 91 days, 2184 hours, 131,040 minutes, or 7,862,400 seconds. The writing on the wall is unmistakable: for most of us, we have to move off of Windows 7 before Jan. 14, 2020!

Sure, there is an annual paid option to extend, up to three years, the ability to continue to receive monthly security updates. Narrow criteria exists to use this option, officially christened as the Extended Security Update program (“ESU” for short), which requires your Windows 7 computer to be part of a volume licensing contract with Microsoft; it also has to be a certain “trim level” of Windows 7 operating system to even qualify. Hence, most residential users and many small businesses too are out of luck. 

I’ve covered this topic a few times already but I was compelled to sound the alarm again. While shopping at an office supply store recently, I overheard a gentleman asking if he had to upgrade his beloved Windows “XP” computer! Since this Windows 7 situation is similar to what we went through with Windows XP earlier, I took it as a sign to revisit the topic.

Mind you, it’s not that your Windows 7 computer will cease to work on Jan. 14, 2020. Think of it like the expiration date on the carton of eggs. You may still eat scrambled eggs (but not with runny yolk) without getting a tummy ache using two days post-expiration eggs. I cannot say the same with an unsupported operating system; using Windows 7 without the monthly security patches, aka Band-Aids, post-expiration elevates the risk of being victimized while travelling the digital world.

Although Windows 7 was born more than 10 years ago, vulnerabilities that the nefarious can take advantage of were uncovered from day one of its existence. Microsoft, through the issuance of these monthly updates, patched these holes (hence the Band-Aid analogy patching wounds). You can imagine what may happen to your body if your wounds were exposed without bandages as these wounds will become entry points for germs that can lead to infection.

It doesn’t help that monthly updates for Windows 10 have been and continue to be problematic in 2019 thus far. Sure, monthly updates didn’t cause problems for every Windows 10 user but anecdotal evidence suggests that many were inconvenienced. Still, if you use computers for many things that tablets or smartphones don’t do well, you have to look at Windows 10, Apple’s MacOS, or a flavor of the LINUX operating system that often can be had for free.

As I wrote earlier in 2019 (please refer to this column at website for those articles), if your use case for the computer is mostly checking emails, browsing, social media, and utilizing other communication methodologies such as videochats (Skype and Hangout for example), you can look at tablets, smartphones or Chromebooks as possible replacements.

I’ll repeat this again: inaction is the worst thing you can do. Start planning.

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 20, Posted 9:19 AM, 10.15.2019