Microsoft recently officially announced the end of the Windows 7 service life on January 14, 2020. This means they will no longer offer support for Windows 7. Continuing to use Windows 7 in the future will expose your computer to security vulnerabilities and threats.
This article will go over some of your Windows 7 end of life alternatives.
Upgrading to Windows 10
While many people still use Windows 7, they will eventually have to upgrade to a more secure operating system (OS).
The upgrade process is relatively straightforward as Microsoft has released both versions. Many programs and applications built for earlier versions of Windows will continue to work and update automatically.
However, some older applications may need updating or may not work at all.
Windows recommends upgrading to Windows 10 as you would expect. However, the free update ended on July 26, 2019. Users must now either purchase the full version of the software or purchase a new device with Windows 10 preinstalled.
To use Windows 10, your computer must meet the following requirements:
- Latest version of Windows 7 SPI or Windows 8.1 Update (find out which bit version you are using).
- processor with a clock speed of 1 GHz or higher.
- 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
- 16 GB hard disk space for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
- DirectX 9 graphics card or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
- Screen resolution 800 x 600 or higher.
How to upgrade to Windows 10
First, you need to purchase a Windows 10 license through Microsoft or an authorized reseller.
If you buy through Microsoft, you can use a USB port or boot the OS using an ISO file.
The USB option is a good choice if your internet connection isn’t stable enough to handle a 4GB download. Microsoft will ship your Windows 10 USB stick to your home.
Upgrade to Windows 10 with Media Creation Tool
Use this process if you did not order a USB drive. After you’ve purchased your Windows 10 license, follow these steps to install and activate it.
Download the ISO file for your architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) and language. Extract the ISO file to your local file system, to a removable disk, or burn it to DVD.
To extract the ISO installation files to a removable USB storage device, you can use an unzip application like 7zip Unzip the contents of the file to a folder on your local drive in your existing Windows OS.
Please note: if you want to keep all your files and applications, it is best to start the process from Windows 7.
If you do a clean install of Windows 10 from a USB drive or DVD, you won’t see this option and your files and apps will be lost.
Start the update by running setup.exe.
Windows guides you through the installation process. The first recommendation is to download drivers, updates, and other additional features. You must accept these options to ensure a successful upgrade.
- Select your version of Windows.
- Read and accept the license terms.
- The default Windows installation configuration is to keep your applications and files.
- Click Install.
It will take a few minutes to complete the installation. You can find your apps and folders in the same locations on Windows 10 as you do on Windows 7.
Switch to Linux
While Microsoft won’t agree, upgrading to Windows 10 isn’t your only option. Moving to the Linux operating system is a viable alternative.
Many Linux users see it as one of the best alternatives to Windows 7. Some of the reasons you might want to make the switch include:
- Less vulnerable to malware and viruses than Windows.
- Linux is free.
- Faster, more secure and consistent support and service.
- More control over your system if you choose.
- Comes with a wide range of preinstalled software and access to more with a dedicated package manager or software installation tool.
- Linux updates make your system faster, free up space, and rarely require a reboot.
How to replace Windows 7 with Linux
Before doing anything, back up all your data. Then choose which Linux distribution you want to use. Some of the most popular Linux distributions for 2020 include:
- Linux Mint
- elementary OS
- Pop! _OS
- Zorin OS
- MX Linux
Many distributions allow users to use the Live bootable from USB option to see how it works. If you like it, you can install it on your system or in VirtualBox. We will be using Ubuntu for this tutorial.
To try Ubuntu before installing on your system, first go to the Ubuntu download page and click Try Ubuntu.
If you like how Ubuntu works and are ready to install it, click Install Ubuntu and follow the instructions in the installation wizard. The process is simple.
Choose to replace Windows 7 with Linux, but remember that all your applications and files will be removed. As mentioned above, before doing anything, please back up your system first.
Leave Windows behind and switch to Mac
Windows 7 end of life can be a good reason to move from Windows to Mac. Apple has a great reputation for many reasons, including:
- No driver required.
- New versions are free.
- Apple’s diverse ecosystem.
- Most Windows programs are also available for Mac.
Whether you decide to upgrade to a Mac is a matter of personal preference. While it is true that Apple products tend to be more expensive than Microsoft products, they also age better. So, even if you spend more money in advance, your new Mac will last you longer than a new Windows computer.
Whichever option you choose to go to Windows 7 End of Life, create a secure backup of all your documents, files, and pictures. If you decide to stay with Windows 7, it is important to understand that you are putting your computer at risk due to security threats.
Help our HDG readers. Can you suggest any other important Windows 7 end of life tips?