The Windows 7 Microsoft operating system was launched in 2009, and its life cycle ended on January 14
Now it’s for real. If you use Windows 7, you should probably stop as soon as possible. Next week, more specifically from Tuesday, January 14, the operating system, launched in 2009, will have its “death” decreed by Microsoft, which had already been alerting the public to the decision for several months.
But what does that mean, after all?
First, it’s important to note: when you turn on your computer on the 15th, it will continue to function normally.
Windows 7 won’t blow up your computer, or anything like that. The operating system will continue to function as it was designed to run indefinitely.
What changed is the security issue; for this reason, it is not recommended to continue using the operating system.
When the operating system loses its support, it stops receiving any update, except for extremely urgent and severe cases, as it was at the time of WannaCry.
At the time, Microsoft decided to release an update to address the vulnerability to Windows XP, which had been definitively abandoned a few years earlier.
Even in these urgent cases, the company is no longer required to update the system and does so basically out of goodwill.
This means that if a failure exists in the operating system, it will continue to exist for eternity.
This may not make much difference in the first few weeks after Windows 7 was abandoned, but over the months and years, vulnerabilities will be discovered by cybercrime, which could take advantage of them to steal personal and banking information, which can cause a lot of damage to a person’s life and huge damage to an unprepared company.
Am I totally unprotected?
There are ways to mitigate your risks, however, if you are unable to upgrade immediately. In this case, the important thing is to follow the manual of good digital security practices as rigidly as possible, because the security mesh of the operating system is, by definition, punctured and can yield at any time.
A lot of them have to do with common sense, which in itself already avoids most cyber-attacks. This includes not clicking on strange links, no matter how reliable the source appears, as well as not opening files from unknown sources.
Keeping your antivirus up to date is a recommendation that becomes even more important with the outdated operating system, but the precautionary measures do not stop there.
All the software you use most regularly, such as your browser, Office, plugins like Flash and Java (if you still have them installed), also deserve attention.
Because Windows 7 is still extremely popular, companies are unlikely to abandon updates to their version of their applications.
Google, for example, has already confirmed that it will continue to support Chrome on Microsoft’s system, even at the end of its life cycle.
Final Tips On Using Windows 7
Finally, it is also recommended to use the operating system without administrator privileges. This way, it becomes much more difficult for a virus or other type of malicious software to take complete control of your PC, even if you become infected. Enable administrator features only when strictly necessary, and then disable them again.
These measures can extend the healthy life of your Windows 7 computer, but the idea is that they are only temporary. At any moment, a new serious flaw in the system may be discovered that does not even depend on your intervention as a user to be successful. There is also no way to guarantee that the other programs you use regularly will continue to receive updates, as the user base tends to decline naturally over time.
For companies that really depend on Windows 7 and cannot update their systems, there is another option. It is possible to pay to continue enjoying the operating system updates for some time, through a program called Extended Security Updates (ESU), which will offer updates for another three years after 2020, with prices increasing every year, for Professional and Enterprise versions of the operating system only.