If this reality has not set in for you yet – it is time to start considering the fact that Windows 7 will reach its end of extended support in 260 days on January 14th, 2020.
Unlike the extra two years Windows XP received, there is no expectation that Microsoft will suddenly grant a reprieve for life-cycle support when it comes to Windows 7. The company has made too many investments in Windows 10, their modern desktop, and all of the services around it including Windows as a Service (WaaS) when it comes to regular updates for the operating system.
If you are currently on Windows 7 you can expect to see an alert pop up at some point, if it hasn’t already, that reminds you that the end of life-cycle support is coming.
If you want to get the reminder again, just exit the window by clicking on the red X in the upper right hand corner. However, if once is enough, click on the Do not remind me again box in the lower left corner and you will not receive any further reminders.
Understand that dismissing the reminder does not change the fact that Windows 7 support is ending in about 8 1/2 months so you still have a decision to make about an upgrade or OS change. Currently, the undocumented upgrade to Windows 10 that is validated using a retail and/or OEM Windows 10 product key still works as documented by Ed Bott over at ZDNet.
Microsoft is about to release the May 2019 Update in about a month and with this release they are returning some control of system updates to end users. Both Home and Pro users will now have the same options to delay system updates up to 35 days before being required to install pending updates. When it comes to the semi-annual feature updates, these will not be presented as part of Windows Update itself. Starting with this next feature update, they will be presented as part of the Windows Update dialog with an option to download and install the update. No automatic updates or seeker mode moving forward however, the one exception is as you approach the end of support for your current feature update. Once you are within a couple of months of that date, the latest feature update will get automatically installed if you do not install it yourself.
That means for Home and Pro users, you can now keep your current feature update for nearly 18 months. That would move feature updates from twice per year to once every 18 months or so. Again, if you want the update and it is available you will have that option as well. You can read more details on how Microsoft plans to accomplish this process in our write up about these changes.
Of course, other options do exist for Windows 7 users including staying on Windows 7 past its end of support or moving to an alternative operating system like Linux, ChromeOS, or even MacOS if you buy the hardware. Choices abound but a choice has to be made. In my opinion staying on Windows 7 past January 14th, 2020 is not one of those options because starting in February 2020, no more patches for any vulnerabilities that might get discovered.
Are you willing to put your data at risk like that?