Warning: Windows 7 Support Ends Soon - 5 Reasons to Update to Windows 10 Today
As you may have heard, Windows 7 will no longer be receiving support starting January 14, 2020. You may be wondering what this means...will my computer just stop working? Will I lose data? Will I be instantly hacked and have my identity stolen?
The good news is: probably not. Your computer will still run, you will (probably) not experience any kind of immediate issues, and life can go on as normal...for a while.
As time goes on, however, your Windows 7 device will get less and less secure, and leave you more open to hackers and malware as new vulnerabilities are discovered and acted upon while Microsoft is no longer trying to keep up with security updates, and there will be no Windows 7 tech support to help you through any issues you may face (Tech-Ease will always be here, though, and I'm happy to help).
Windows 10 is the newest kid on the block from Microsoft, and is currently touted to be "the last version of Windows". Rather than upgrading entire versions to, say, Windows 11 (or 12, or 9000, or ASDF, or whatever random name Microsoft decides it should have), Windows 10 will simply receive periodic major updates (for free, according to current models). These should be relatively painless, and you'll hardly notice them beyond a few annoying prompts to restart your PC. These prompts and restarts can be configured to happen automatically, too.
So, for those of you who might be hesitant to upgrade the latest Windows operating system, here are five good reasons to pull the trigger:
Decreased Learning Curve (compared to Windows 8)
Dedicated App Store
Better Productivity Tools
Windows 10 comes with a new-and-improved Windows Defender, which can handle the majority of your protection from viruses, rootkits, and some forms of malware. Personally, I still advocate pairing with a competent anti-Malware program (like Malwarebytes), as the two applications together work synergistically to keep you as protected as possible. Please note that no software can protect from everything, so the standard rules of staying safe online still apply.
Similarity to Windows 7 By Design
Windows 8 was regarded as an ugly, clumsy mess by many (including myself). The "Metro UI" was clunky, the loss of the Start menu was crippling, and it was just hard to get around. Windows 10, however, has taken that outcry to heart and (in my opinion) is very similar to Windows 7 in design and layout. The classic Start menu is back (with some of the Metro UI build -in as a side panel that can be adjusted in size by clicking-and-dragging on the edge of the screen.
This means a shorter learning curve, allowing you to get moving in less time and with fewer growing pains.
If you want to get even closer the the "Classic" experience, there is an app called Classic Shell that allows you to replace your Start Menu, File Explorer and Internet Explorer with their Windows 7 counterparts, allowing you to replicate the look-and-feel on your new install.
Dedicated App Store - Microsoft Store
Windows 10 gives you access to the Microsoft Store, giving you a one-stop-shop for all (well, most) of your software needs. Install the apps you want with the click of a button, and keep them all updated in the same place. You can also stream music and video from your favorite services from the Store, as well. These apps run in their own sandboxes, so they are more secure than traditionally installed software, and the store itself is policed by Microsoft. This means you are much safer, too!
As time goes on, developers outside of Microsoft will also stop supporting Windows 7 for their hardware and software. End of life for Windows 7 also means end of support for drivers (the firmware that lets your computer talk to various other devices, like your keyboards, usb sticks, cameras, etc.). This means that your new camera you get next year may not be compatible with Windows 7, and future editions of your favorite software (Microsoft Office 2019, for example) will also not work with your old operating system. For those of you with legacy hardware and software, you can always install in Compatibility Mode for Windows 7, so do not be afraid of losing access to your current tech. The latest Microsoft Office will also not be compatible with Windows 7,
Features and Productivity Boosts
Ok, this is my favorite part of the article, and I will try not to overload you with features. I can geek out about productivity tools, software, apps, and the like for days. As time goes on, I will create separate articles and tutorials for these programs and link to them from here as they are finished.
These updated features include (in no particular order):
This neat little feature lets you store multiple items in your clipboard and access them from one place (and sync them between devices!). This can be a major help when doing a lot of heavy copy/pasting. You will have to turn this feature on In Clipboard Settings, as it was off by default on my devices. To use the feature, the shortcut Windows Key+"H" will bring up the menu.
Better Snipping Tool
The classic Snipping Tool has been replaced by a tool called Screen Snipping, and it is much simpler to use by default than its predecessor. You can set the "Print Screen" button on your keyboard to open this app by default, or you can use the Windows Key+Shift+"S" shortcut (by default) to quickly open the tool. Screenshots can then be edited or marked up and saved to any location. I used it for all of the screenshots in this article.
Multiple Desktops, Task View, and Timeline
Task View gives you a quick, 10,000-foot view of all of your currently open programs (and allows you to move them between your virtual desktops - more on that below). Open it with the Task Bar button (circled in red in the screenshot) or with the Windows Key+Tab shortcut. You can also view your timeline from here, allowing you to "go back in time" and re-open tasks and applications you were using recently (and as far back as 30 days). This can be searched, too, using the search function circled in yellow.
Decrease clutter when you really want to focus on a particular task by moving to a second (or third, or fourth) desktop. All of your shortcuts and layouts will be exactly the same, and you can decide which windows you want to open on which desktops. Good for folks like me, who have TONS of open windows and tabs and need to clear space to work on a single task that requires a lot of screen space without wanting to close and re-open our regular applications. Move between them in Task View or by using the Ctrl+Windows Key+Arrow Key (left or right) shortcut.
For those who prefer to dictate typing to your device, Windows 10 can now handle that for you natively. Just press Windows Key+H and start talking. You'll have to turn on Speech Recognition in Settings first (if you haven't already), and pressing the keyboard shortcut to open voice-to-text will give you a link to do so. You will also need a microphone if there is not one built in to your device. This can really help for projects that involve a ton of typing, allowing you to quickly get the text on the page (although, as you may know, it is important to carefully edit voice-to-text results...)
Windows' AI Assistant, Cortana, is available on Windows 10. Cortana gives you a unified search for your device, as well as voice-activated actions. Windows Key + "C" will bring up Cortana, or you can click the button located near the Start menu by default (and circled in red in the image). Personally, I do not use voice assistants a lot on any platform (including my Android phone), but if you like to use them Cortana is willing to give you a friendly ear.
You can now "pin" apps directly to the task bar (at the bottom of the screen) by simply right-clicking on any object and choosing "Pin to Taskbar". This gives you a handy place to store frequently used applications for easy access. You can also open the first 9 items on the taskbar by pressing the Windows Key + the program's corresponding number from the left (so to open the first pinned app, you would press Windows Key + 1. To open the third, Windows Key + 3. And so on). No more hunting through Start or needing to minimize all of your windows (Windows Key + "M", by the way) to find the program on your desktop.
You can now use the "Your Phone" app to connect your Windows device to you phone to share pictures, text messages, notifications, and even control your phone from your PC (which can come in VERY handy if you ever break your mobile screen - just be sure you set this up BEFORE the damage occurs, as you will need to grant permission on your phone before this service will work, which is difficult (but not necessarily impossible) once your display no longer works.
How To Update
You can find a ton of information about the entire process, directly from Microsoft, here, complete with FAQs and links to how-to guides.
I will do my own guide soon, and I will add links to it here when it is complete.
If all of this sounds like more of a hassle than you want to deal with, or you just want to be absolutely sure that everything is up-and-running properly when you are done, then have your system upgraded at Tech-Ease (I will be discounting my OS Upgrade service for November and December by 25%, so get them in soon!). I've installed Windows 10 on dozens of machines, and I have tools to text your system extensively to be sure that everything is in working order.
I would be more than willing to train you on your new operating system, answering any questions you may have and helping to tackle any possible issues that may arise after installation with incompatible hardware or software, different features, or anything else. Just give me a call, send me an email, or get in touch with me on Facebook Messenger and let's get you using the latest and greatest Windows.
If you really can not stand Windows 10 (which I have heard from a few, although I personally love the OS), then we can also discuss other options such as
Upgrading to Windows 8
Migrating to MacOS (Apple)
Migrating to Linux (a free, alternative operating system that, with a little setup, will be very similar to Windows)
Whatever your needs, I hope this article helped to relieve some hesitation about upgrading to the newest Windows operating system and helped to clarify your options. If there is anything I can clarify, expand upon, or explain further, please ask in the comments on this post or on my Facebook page and I will answer you as soon as I can!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article!