Windows 7 will reach its end of life next week on Tuesday, January 14. From that point onwards Microsoft will cease to provide the operating system with technical assistance and software updates, making it a prime target for hackers eager to exploit ageing PCs. The importance of upgrading from Windows 7 cannot be understated. Microsoft itself has told its loyal army of fans that any PCs that continue to leverage the 2009 operating system will still work, but they’ll be “more vulnerable to security risks”.
Along with that alert, Express.co.uk recently spoke with McAfee’s Chief Scientist and Fellow Raj Samani about Windows 7’s end of life. Samani was eager to discuss the potential risks users could face if they continue to use a PC with the operating system installed. In fact, he went so far as to say user data and information could potentially be accessed by hackers exploiting software flaws.
This certainly makes sense, especially as Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system became a target for hackers after it reached its end of life back in April of 2014.
“Cybercriminals can use this to their advantage by identifying any flaws in the system and potentially accessing consumer’s data and information. As seen previously during the end life of former operating systems, such as Windows XP.”
So how do you make sure you’re safe? Well, the simple answer is to upgrade your operating system to one that is supported with consistent security updates.
The McAfee Chief Scientist and Fellow continued: “To ensure users do not fall victim to cybercrime related to Windows 7, users should seek an update immediately to ensure they’re supported by a system that is supported with security updates.
“It’s also a great time to update your cybersecurity software to ensure its providing you with the most up-to-date features that ensure protection across not only your computer or laptop, but your mobile devices too.”
While some Windows 7 users will be able to upgrade their PCs to Windows 10, Microsoft is incentivising users to update their hardware in addition to their operating system. Simply put, newer PCs will be able to cope with the demands of Windows 10 much better and deliver a much smoother experience.
Commenting on the matter, Microsoft stated: “To take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities, we recommend moving to a new PC with Windows 10. As an alternative, compatible Windows 7 PCs can be upgraded by purchasing and installing a full version of the software.”
Although a number of Microsoft fans claim you can still get an upgrade to Windows 10 for free, Microsoft says otherwise. In a post on the firm’s Support forum, the Redmond firm said Windows 10 has been a paid upgrade since July 29, 2016.
The firm went on: “The Windows 10 free upgrade offer ended on July 29, 2016. To get Windows 10 you will need to either purchase a new device or, if you have a compatible PC, purchase a full version of the software to upgrade your existing device.
“We recommend that you don’t install Windows 10 on an older device, as some Windows 7 devices are not compatible with Windows 10 or could experience reduced feature availability.”