Why am I being told to upgrade my Windows 7 and should I?

Users of Windows 7 will have been ignoring messages about needing to upgrade for several years, but Microsoft have finally put a line in the sand. As of the 14th January 2020 Microsoft ceased providing technical support, software updates, security updates and fixes. This means users will still be able to use their Windows 7 devices, but they will not be as secure as they are today and will only become more insecure as time passes.

A lot of members have contacted us about this, asking questions such as:

  • If they only use their device for emails is there really a big risk?
  • Who is interested in hacking me?
  • Is this just a scary sales ploy by Microsoft to get them pay £119 for Windows 10?

And simply

What should I do?

 

Firstly, lets deal with the “I only use it for emails or Amazon” question. Unfortunately, this really isn’t an argument against upgrading. Using email on a vulnerable device leaves cybercriminals free reign to gather private information, impersonate you to your contacts and steal your identity. There is a lot of personal information in all our email accounts and it need to be secure. And, in truth most people will also use their device to login to other accounts, often financial and you really don’t want to do this on an insecure device. So, yes this is a big risk.

Who is interested in hacking me? Well, just look in your junk file and you will see how somebody is trying nearly every day. According to Accenture cybercrime cost $5.2 trillion in 2019. That’s nearly 3 times the total revenue of the global car industry. It’s big business!

So, are Microsoft just trying to force users to pay £119 for new software which they never asked for? That’s a harder question to answer, but the fact that they offered upgrades for a long period of time makes us feel better disposed towards them, although technically the upgrade now costs £119.

What should you do? Unfortunately, the answer to that is simple, it’s time to upgrade.

How do I upgrade?

The easiest, but not necessarily the cheapest is go to Microsoft website, click here, take the short quiz, follow the checks to see that your device is compatible and pay £119 for the Home Edition. An alternative is to buy a new device, a decent Windows 10 laptop can be had for below £200 and the extra £80 would get you a faster more modern device.

An alternative is to check out the theory that free upgrades are still available from Microsoft, click here to read a great article which talks you through how to do this, it’s not illegal but you will need your original Windows 7 license key number to try the method. If Windows came pre-installed on your device the product key should appear on a sticker on your device if you bought a physical copy the key will be on a label on the box, if not contact Microsoft Support.

If you search “Buy Windows 10” you will see lots of sellers as low as £10 including offers on Amazon and Groupon. Be careful with this route as at best these are volume buyers reselling individual licenses and at worst complete scammers looking to get your credit card details. Definitely do not go for any deal without thousands of positive reviews and be careful, think very carefully is it worth the risk?

In summary, Windows 7 users need to upgrade to stay safe. How they do it is a personal choice.