In just a week's time, Microsoft will cease offering even critical security updates for both Windows 7 and Windows 8.x.
We wrote about Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) coming to an end, and the termination of support for Windows 8.x just last month, but with a large number of people and businesses still unwilling -- or unable -- to move on from these aging operating systems it is a warning that bears repeating.
Microsoft completely ends support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 in under a month; now really is the time to move on
It is no secret that the uptake of Windows 11 is rather slow. Microsoft may be unlikely to publicly say as much, but the company will no doubt be extremely disappointed at the number of people who have made the leap to the latest version of its operating system.
All this could change in 2023, however. There are many people and businesses who have hung on to Windows 7 or Windows 8, despite the fact that mainstream supported ended back in 2020. But when January 10, 2023 rolls around, Microsoft will no longer even offer paid-for Extended Security Updates. And with the likes of Edge and Chrome no longer supporting the aged OSes, the time really has come to switch to Windows 11.
These days you no longer need to stick with Microsoft's Windows operating system if you don't want to. There are some excellent Linux distributions you can run instead, like Ubuntu or Linux Lite, or macOS if you opt to switch to Apple hardware. You can even use iPads or Android tablets as laptop alternatives if you prefer.
In 2013, Microsoft Windows accounted for over 90 percent of the total desktop operating system market, but that figure has dropped significantly in the past decade in the face of increased competition.
While there are plenty of people who do not feel the need to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, there is still a surprising number of people who decided to stick with even older versions.
There are, of course, many implicated associated with using Windows 7 or Windows 8, most of them security related. But there is also the matter of software support, and Microsoft is now trying to push hangers-on to upgrade to the latest version of its operating system by cutting Windows 7 and 8.x out of using OneDrive.
Every generation of Windows -- well, from Windows 95 onwards at least -- has had a catchy slogan, designed, in some way, to encapsulate what the software giant hoped the OS would bring to users.
With Windows 95, for example, it was "Start me up", because that was the first time Microsoft’s operating system came with a Start button and menu.
Microsoft took a big gamble with Windows 8. Back in 2012 the tech giant believed that touchscreens were the way we’d all be interacting with our devices, and so overhauled Windows to give it a touch-first design and a Start screen in place of the traditional Start menu -- which didn’t go down at all well with the Windows faithful.
Although the company relented and eventually added a Start menu and made various other user-requested tweaks, Windows 8 is viewed by many as one of the worst versions of Windows, which is a little unfair as it had much to recommend it.
Flash is a blight on the internet and has long posed a security threat to any computer with it installed. Once widely used in website design, the technology is now dead and has been overtaken by more secure alternatives -- but Flash remains installed on millions of computers around the world.
While all major web browsers will remove Adobe Flash Player at the end of 2020, there's no need to wait. Here's how to remove Flash right now.
Having already started to push the Chromium-based version of Edge to Windows 10 users, Microsoft is now doing the same for older versions of Windows.
With the KB4567409 update, Microsoft is bringing the new version of Edge not only to people who are still using Windows 8.1, but also those who are still on Windows 7 -- which is interesting because Windows 7 is no longer supported.
When Windows 10 first appeared, Microsoft made quite a fuss about that fact that while it was possible to upgrade for free, this was a time-limited offer. Many people rushed to upgrade because they felt the deadline was hanging over them like the sword of Damocles… but it seems that the deadline was not as pressing as Microsoft made out.
In fact, you might be surprised to learn that more than five years after the launch of Windows 10, it is still possible to upgrade for free. So what's going on?
Microsoft developers working on Windows 8 created a puzzle and embedded it in the wallpapers used for internal builds of the operating system.
The team knew that the images would leak out to the public -- and probably the internal builds of Windows -- so they decided to have some fun with it. Over the course of numerous builds, the puzzle was developed -- but only one person ever solved it!
However, according to Google Project Zero researcher Mateusz Jurczyk, by focusing on patching Windows 10, and not applying the same fixes to Windows 7 and 8.x, Microsoft is actually putting users of those two older operating systems at risk.
A day after introducing iOS 10.2, Apple releases macOS Sierra 10.12.2. The update promises to resolve the graphics problems affecting the 2016 MacBook Pro line, adds some improvements, and fixes lots of bugs.
Another highlight of macOS Sierra 10.12.2 is that it now supports new installations of Windows 7 and Windows 8 in Boot Camp. The previous version limited users to Windows 10, but the older versions of Windows are still very popular -- and in high demand, apparently with Mac users.
Increasing concern over Windows "spying" technologies has brought a host of free tools claiming to disable them, but are they safe to use? It’s often hard to tell, as developers don’t clearly explain what they’re doing.
Ancile is easier to evaluate, at least for experienced users, because it’s just a Windows script -- open the files in your text editor of choice and it’s all there.
Never 10 is a new freeware tool which aims to prevent Windows 7 and Windows 8.x systems from automatically updating to Windows 10. Sounds like a host of other recent update-blockers, we thought -- but no. It’s more interesting than that.
First up, it’s written by veteran developer Steve Gibson, the man behind SpinRite, ShieldsUp! and assorted early Windows freeware, and someone who knows what he’s doing. If you need more reassurance, the 81KB download size tells you there’s no adware here, no extra payload.
Whatever version of Windows you're running, the time will probably come when you want to reinstall. You might be lucky and can have recovery media on hand, or your recovery partition may be intact. If not, what can you do? You can download ISOs for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 direct from Microsoft.
It's always best to be prepared, so rather than waiting until you find yourself in desperate need, why not spend a few minutes grabbing the ISO (or ISOs) you need in readiness. There's no need to head off to a torrent site to download an illicit copy of Windows along with a crack, everything is available from Microsoft. Here's what you need to do.