Windows 7 is probably Microsoft’s best release ever. After a few core updates, it was liked by consumers and IT managers alike. It provided stability, performance, a wide range of hardware and software support, and best of all – it just worked. When Windows 10 was launched, one of its biggest detriments was that it wasn’t Windows 7. It managed to hang on for awhile, causing both consumers and business to delay upgrade plans for Windows 10. But, all good things must come to an end.
In early 2019, Windows 7 reached end of life. This means that no security flaws,, no matter how serious or wide spread, will be patched. And can you blame Microsoft? Windows 7 was released in 2009, so after 10 years it had to hit its expiry date.
So what does end of life mean for you? Basically, continuing to run Windows 7 means the following for your home or business:
- Severe Possibility of data breach
- Severe possibility of ransomware
- An unacceptable risk of general cyberattacks
But don’t worry! You still have plenty of options. Some may require new hardware purchases, although if you purchased a PC towards the end of Windows 7’s lifespan, then it might be able to run an updated OS, although with recent security flaws found in Intel hardware, a new device might be in order.
Now that you’ve decided to move past Windows 7, what comes next? Here’s our recommended options.
If you are working in a Microsoft centric environment:
The obvious answer here is Windows 10. A solid desktop from a major vendor (we prefer Lenovo, although offerings from HP and Dell are also solid choices) will run your new OS just fine, and Windows 10 is mature enough to integrate into your IT environment. We recommend a device with at least 16GB of RAM ( 32GB or more if you will be creating media or carrying out heavy calculations), along with an SSD drive. SSD drives provide a huge boost in performance, and really are a must these days.
Estimated Cost: A new PC (~$500+)
If you are working in a mixed environment, or as a solopreneur in a creative industry:
If your budget allows for it, now would be a great time to consider migrating to macOS. Stability performance, and a great selection of software are just some of the benefits that Apple users enjoy. Like our recommendation above, an SSD drive is a must. If you’ve never used a Mac before, their ill be a learning curve, and a few items might seem odd or unintuitive, but the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. The only caveat here is that Apple is planning to release its own CPUs inside of refreshed hardware, so you may want to delay purchasing a Macbook or Mac Mini until late 2020/early 2021, so this may not be ideal since that Windows 7 machine really needs to go now.
Estimated Cost: A new Apple device (~$700+)
If you are in a mixed environment, solopreneur, or running mainly from the cloud and want a cost effective solution that will let you keep your existing hardware:
This is an option that is met with initial resistance, but soon becomes a favourite: keep your hardware by using a Linux based OS – we highly recommend Ubuntu for first time Linux users.
Haven’t heard of Linux before? Don’t feel bad – it is best known for its use in servers, and makes up only a tiny sliver of the desktop market. However, it is secure, super stable, and FREE. Yup, free. All you need is a USB drive to download the image to, and a bit of expertise (or a willingness to learn) to get it setup. If you need to continue using, or to resurrect older hardware, Linux is the way to go. It supports a wide range of hardware, and thanks to the cloud and a modern browser like Google Chrome, you can access Google Docs, Gmail, Office 365 (via the web), Zoom, Skype and so much more. Its biggest downside is the lack of native Office 365 support. If you are a Google Docs user and can do without MS Office, Linux can likely meet alll of your everyday needs.
Estimated cost: a USB drive, patience and some time.
Hopefully you’ll find an option here that meets your needs, but either way it’s time to retire your Windows 7 PC. Still having trouble deciding? Just drop us a line – we’re glad to help.