The date is 01/14/2020. On the fourteenth day of the second month of 2020, Microsoft's support of updates to one of the best operating systems ever built by the company, Windows 7, comes to an end for most users. Yes, most.
Businesses (and some users who are venturing to cheat on Microsoft) can pay a steep price for extended support for up to three years.
But any percentage of machines that remain in the version becomes relevant as Windows 7 still holds almost 27% of the market, according to NetMarkeShare. That is, it is indeed something that carries a potential risk that cannot be ignored.
The fact is that with the end of the updates, even if there is no malicious agent that has “guarded” any specific Windows 7 crashes to use, there are still security risks that are being discovered day by day.
To get a sense of the volume, only in the November 2019 update, Microsoft delivered 74 corrections, 13 of which concerned vulnerabilities that allowed remote code execution by an external agent.
In addition, the Microsoft Security Essentials which, inter alia, delivers to Windows Defender and Firewall the definition updates that ensure malware blocking effectiveness will no longer work on Windows 7. That is, the risk of remaining using this operating system will be increasing as new vulnerabilities are emerging.
Who will persist using Windows 7
Part of the installed base that cannot exit Windows 7 for using software incompatible with Windows 10;
Part of the installed base that is made up of old computers, unable to run Windows 10;
Part of the installed base that does not want or cannot upgrade to Windows 10 for other reasons, such as unplanned, unwilling to buy another license, etc;
But let's be practical.
What to do if you still use Windows 7 (and can't invest in Windows 10)?
The first thing is to make sure whether or not you can upgrade your Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free. This works with some versions.
Officially, this stopped happening in 2016, but I tested it on a virtual machine and made an old Windows 7 license turn into a beautiful, sleek Windows 10 in October 2019.
The upgrade method is not foolproof and I do not advise doing it on PCs older than five years.
How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10
Go to the website where you can get Windows 10
Click on "Download Tool Now" and run;
Choose "Update this PC now";
Follow the instructions;
Once complete, go to “Settings >> Updates and Security >> Activation”;
If all went well you will see an activation notification.
But, I repeat, this can go very wrong on computers that use hardware older than five years. So what to do if you are actually forced to stay on Windows 7?
Tips for Staying on Windows 7
Companies that need to stay on Windows 7 due to legacy software should seriously consider blocking these machines from accessing the Internet or leaving them with an extremely restricted configuration using whitelist principles. That is, everything on the internet will be blocked except what is explicitly allowed after a case by case analysis.
But in general, the tips for those who remained using the system are:
Make sure your router has updated firmware and the password is not the factory default;
Disable Windows Defender and install another antivirus. THE Bitdefender and Kaspersky offer free versions, which have a minimum of effectiveness (but ideally buy a suite). Make constant scans;
If you can, hire a Bitdefender, Karpersky or Norton “suite”, this is a suite of applications that includes antivirus and firewall;
Review installed applications and delete anything you don't need. Uninstall things like Adobe Shockwave and Flash, Java, and video players like Quicktime;
Use Windows with a normal user account only and never with an administrator account. Incidentally, this goes for any Windows, already dramatically reduces the effectiveness of malware;
Do not download anything from the internet before assessing the absolute necessity of doing so;
Set up your connection to use secure DNS, I suggest Cloudflare 22.214.171.124 and Google 126.96.36.199 (the following link tutorial was created for Windows 10, but can be used on Windows 7);
Browse with Brave or Firefox and enable the blockers. Both are above average and Brave, especially, is designed with a focus on privacy and security (even allowing easy use of the TOR network);
By yes, by no, back up your essential files externally;
And of course, the tip that everyone has heard, but few have had the courage to follow:
10. Consider migrating to Linux.
But calm down.
Things have changed a lot in the last few years, Linux has ceased to be that nervous and hard-to-tame monster and has become more a matter of adaptation than anything else.
From Windows 7 to Linux
There are paid versions like Zorin that emulate the look of windows and macOS. But if it is to install on an older computer, there is a version called Core , which brings the essentials, with Windows look and is lighter and free. There are other free distributions like Mint, Deepin and Ubuntu that can and should be considered.
Take a look at this Zorin demo and tell me: Is it beautiful or not?