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Should You Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10?

Written by  Jan 23, 2020

Windows 7 is now at the end of its life. On 14th January 2020, Microsoft ended all support for the operating system.

What that means is that there will be no more updates, no patches for security holes and no tech support provided by Microsoft.

In reality if you keep using Windows 7 you are taking a big risk. 


What does Windows ‘end of support’ actually mean?

When an operating system is fully supported it means it will continue to receive new features, bug fixes and a regular supply of security patches to counter any new vulnerabilities found by hackers.

Microsoft has continued with the security patches up until the 14th January 2020, but they will not continue effectively killing off the operating system.

Is it still safe to use?

Technically speaking there is nothing to stop you using your Windows 7 PC or laptop in the same way you have up until now. It will not change: apps will run, you can browse the internet, and nothing will seem in any way different. But you will be vulnerable to cyber attacks as security holes will inevitably be exploited and Windows 7 users will "have a target on their back", it's only a matter of time.

Microsoft have previously released patches as one-offs when serious vulnerabilities have been found in unsupported products. But they do not and will not make guarantees with Windows 7.

Continuing to use a Windows 7 PC which is connected to the internet leaves your data and other personal information at serious risk.

Using a PC or laptop offline all of the time means that you willl need to ensure you don't attach any USB thumb drives or external devices which could contain malicious software: you need to protect every avenue that data can enter your PC.

This would be very inconvenient and limit you severely for all but basic usage as there is no support left for you online, you would be immediately exposed without up-to-date security patches if you were to reconnect.

Will antivirus software protect Windows 7?

Not to put too fine a point on it, no.

While security packages will prevent certain styles of attack, Microsoft’s updates tend to address vulnerability issues in Windows itself rather than programs running on it.

Antivirus software isn't generally good at stopping the kinds of attacks which seek to exploit holes in the OS's defences.

Will all of my software work if I upgrade to Windows 10?

Not necessarily, but it should. Windows 10 can be made to run older apps, but for just about everything other than the most obscure software, as all popular software already works with Windows 10.

If you do still need to run a particular program you rely on which you know isn't compatible with Windows 10, then check with the manufacturer for support or compatible upgrades.

Or maybe look for a more modern app that can do the same job.

Is Windows 10 very different?

For the most part, all the things that you used on Windows 7 will be there or thereabouts on Windows 10. Although the desktop certainly looks different, below the surface is very similar. It is of course more advanced, with many new features that you may well find beneficial

How do I upgrade to Windows 10?

The process of upgrading is relatively straightforward, please do a complete backup of any critical files, documents, music, photos, videos and other data before proceeding.

Once you have backed up, you can download the Microsoft Media Creation tool and follow the instructions given when you run it to upgrade. You need to select the option to keep your files rather than do a completely fresh installation.

Alternatively, you can buy Windows 10 on a USB flash drive which currently costs £99.99  for the Home edition or £109.00 for the Pro edition at Amazon.

Peter Flynn

Creator and director of IT Security Centre UK.

I have worked in the IT industry for many years and developed my IT security skills in particular. As this area has always been of interest to me and is more important now than ever.

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