In our digital world, nearly everyone reading this right now stores some information about themselves on a personal computer. Especially if said information is sensitive, it should be kept from the hands of people who want to use it maliciously.
No software is perfect. With millions of people attempting to exploit the system and get access to personal data, vulnerabilities will be found even in the best software. Having a strong developer team identifying and patching these vulnerabilities is crucial to the success of an operating system. In many aspects, Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser improved upon the first iteration of Edge, including compatibility for Windows 7 and Windows 8.
But the end is near: according to a statement from Microsoft, Edge support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 will end in mid-January 2023, just when those operating systems stop receiving regular security upgrades. Microsoft Edge Webview2, which uses Edge's rendering engine to embed webpages in non-Edge apps, will also stop supporting Windows 7 and 8.
The end-of-support date for Edge coincides with the end of security update support for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 on January 10, and the end of Google Chrome support for Windows 7 and 8 with version 110. Microsoft could continue supporting Edge in earlier versions of Windows because the Chromium engine that powers both Chrome and Edge is open source, but the company is utilizing both end-of-support dates to support a clean split for Edge.
You would be correct if you assumed that Windows 7 has stopped receiving security updates. Almost ten years after its debut, in 2020, the majority of users of Windows 7 stopped receiving general-purpose security upgrades. But because Windows 7 was so well-liked by companies, Microsoft provided the operating system with an additional three years of optional, paid upgrade support. These updates are also coming to an end; Windows 8, which is far less popular and has just passed its 10-year anniversary, does not have access to a comparable program.
Edge will continue to function on Windows 11 and later iterations of Windows 10, as well as supported editions of Linux, iOS, and Android.
It is undeniable that the Microsoft Windows operating system is the most used desktop OS worldwide now. Although many people have upgraded to windows 10 years ago, there are still millions of computers worldwide that run Windows 7. As of March 2020, over 20% of all Windows users are still using it.
March 2020 Windows usage statistics (from statcounter)
Mainstream support for Windows 7 was ended back in January 2015, however, extended support was running until this year’s first month. With three months past the EoL (End of Life) date, serious dangers await those who are not ready to upgrade to the latest version yet.
Why does reaching EoL matter?
The End of Life means that there will no longer be bug fixes, security patches or new features, leaving the user significantly more susceptible to malware attacks. If a business stores its customers' personal information, it could be catastrophic if it were to succumb to malware due to a vulnerability discovered after the End of Life. This would compromise not only the business’ information, but the data on their customers too.
Microsoft's Mainstream Support includes free incident assistance, warranty claims, solutions for both non-security and security problems, design modifications, and feature requests. Updates for security purposes only make up Extended Support. In other words, Windows 7 is no longer relevant to Microsoft.
If you are still using Windows 7, you use a dead operating system effectively. Despite your computer continuing to work, if a new bug or vulnerability were to be found, you would be at serious risk. It also means that soon, new software will most probably not work on your machine as it was built with a newer operating system in mind.
Meaning of "end of support."
Your machine will still function if you keep using Windows 7, but security threats and malware will have an easier time infecting it. Even fewer software and hardware companies will likely create products that are compatible with the OS, preferring to concentrate on more recent iterations of Windows.
For over a year, Microsoft has warned Windows 7 users about the January 14, 2020 date. Now that it’s here, security updates are no longer available for Windows 7, at least not for free. You may, however, be able to purchase Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs).
Even though Windows 7 is an OS that will go down in computing history, it is now over 10 years old and is outdated. If your hardware allows it, we recommend switching to Windows 10. Hint: It only needs these:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC.
- 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.
- Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS, 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
- Display: 800x600.
Starting on January 15, 2020, a full-screen notification will appear that describes the risk of continuing to use Windows 7 Service Pack 1 after it reaches end of support on January 14, 2020. The notification will remain on the screen until you interact with it.
The following Windows 7 editions will display this notification: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. The notification won't show up if you've purchased Windows 7 ESUs, your computer is domain-joined, or it's in kiosk mode.
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