- Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7, the popular PC software it released more than a decade ago in 2009.
- As of Tuesday, Windows 7 machines will no longer receive security updates or customer service.
- The cutoff comes after Microsoft began warning Windows 7 device users in March 2019 that it would end support. The company recommends upgrading to Windows 10 for $139 or purchasing a new PC with Windows 10 pre-installed.
- However, Windows 7 owners might be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free by going to Microsoft's upgrade page from a Windows 7 PC, first spotted by ZDNet and The Verge.
- Despite being more than a decade old, Windows 7 is still one of the most widely used operating systems for desktops and laptops.
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Microsoft is phasing out Windows 7, the PC software it released more than a decade ago in 2009 that still powers roughly a third of all laptop and desktop computers.
Microsoft says on its website that security updates and customer service will no longer be available for Windows 7 as of Tuesday. For those who own a PC that still runs on Windows 7, Microsoft recommends upgrading to the full version of Windows 10 for $139 or purchasing a new device with Windows 10 pre-installed. Microsoft no longer offers a free upgrade to Window 10, as it says that program ended on July 29, 2016.
However, there is still a way to get Windows 10 for free, which ZDNet and The Verge have spotted. Visit Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade page from a Windows 7 PC, click the "Download tool now" button, and select "Upgrade PC" now," and you should be able to install the new software free of charge. Before doing so, however, remember to back up all important files, and remember that not all Windows 7 apps may be compatible with Windows 10.
Otherwise, browse Microsoft's Windows 10 website to purchase Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, or Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.
The company also warns that older devices may not be compatible with Windows 10, or that some Windows 10 features may not work properly on older computers. To run Windows 10, your computer must have a processor that's 1GHz or faster, a hard disk that's 32 GB or larger, and at least 1GB of RAM, among other system requirements, as outlined on Microsoft's website.
If you don't upgrade to Windows 10, your computer will still work. But it will be at a much higher risk of security threats and viruses, and it won't receive any additional updates.
The cutoff comes after Microsoft published a blog post in March 2019 saying that it was planning to end support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. The company has also been reminding Windows 7 users of the transition through notifications since then.
If you're not sure which version of Windows your computer is running, click the "Start" butto,n and type the term "winver" into the search field. This will pull up a dialog box that displays information about your device's current operating system.
Windows 7 may be more than a decade old, but it still remains one of the most widely used operating systems. Windows 7 accounts for 32.74% of PC usage as of December 2019, whereas Windows 10 is responsible for 47.65%, according to analytics and reporting service Net MarketShare. Microsoft launched Windows 10 nearly five years ago in July 2015, but it didn't surpass Windows 7's market share until 2018, as The Verge reported at the time.
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