Microsoft is saying goodbye to Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Aside from the Operating System (OS) version, Microsoft is also ending support for its Internet Games such as Hearts, Backgammon, Checkers, Spades, Reversi, and MSN Go.
Windows first announced the end-of-life for Windows 7 in March. The tech company will no longer provide any security and feature updates for the version after the said date. In January 2015, Microsoft ended its mainstream support for Windows 7, and warranty claims for the OS were no longer valid since then.
Microsoft is encouraging users to move to its latest OS version, Windows 10. Windows released an update last March, which includes display notifications to upgrade to Windows 10.
Released in 2009, Windows 7 has been supported for a decade with only security updates since its last service pack in 2016. According to Netmarketshare, 39% of desktop users still have Windows 7. Users have less than six months to upgrade their OS to a new one.
However, the end-of-life support does not stop with Windows 7 OS.
Last week, Microsoft posted an announcement regarding the closing of Microsoft Internet Games on the following OS: Windows XP, Windows ME, and Windows 7. The games will no longer be available on Windows XP and ME starting July 31. For Windows 7, users can still play the games until January 22 of next year.
The Windows Gaming Team shared a heartfelt message for its gamers. And it reads: “We truly appreciate all the time and passion you’ve put into Microsoft Internet Games. This has been a great community.”
The team further added the company, along with its hardware and software partners, will be investing more on its recent innovation and modern hardware. One of the products that the Microsoft team is working on is its xCloud Xbox streaming service.
The new service will enable users to play video games over the internet regardless of device. The tech giant is using the same hardware as Xbox One consoles, which means, modifications are not needed from game developers. Any updates created for Xbox One will automatically be updated for users of the xCloud Xbox.
The Windows Gaming Team ended their announcement recognizing their customers’ patronage.
It read: “While we’re saddened to leave this chapter behind, we continue to be committed to delivering engaging, delightful gaming experiences. We hope you’ll come with us on this journey and join the community of any of the other Microsoft casual games.”
What to do before total closing of Windows 7
Contrary to Microsoft’s display notifications, there is no pressure to move to another OS. End-of-life phase does not limit users to use Windows 7. This does not mean that your desktop or laptop will no longer boot up Windows 7 after January 2020.
Users may still use the OS; however, future apps and security patches will no longer be compatible. Some users prefer to continue using End-of-Life OS since newer viruses are no longer targeting old OS.
However, if a significant amount of users continue using the old OS, hackers may be attracted to spend resources in attacking devices with the OS. Unfortunately, without security patches from Microsoft, there’s no real guarantee that your data and your system will be safe from hacking.
Another point to remember is the vulnerability of Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus and 2019 Office Suites. Microsoft also announced that they would no longer support Microsoft Office 365 in Windows 7. The same goes for 2019 Office Suites or lower.
Users and businesses who require the use of Office products are best to upgrade to Windows 10 before January next year.
Election Systems on Windows 7
Aside from personal users and businesses, another service that will be affected by the end-of-life announcement is the election systems.
According to Associated Press, Pennsylvania upgraded their election systems in April to lessen instances of being hacked. The cost of the upgrades was pegged at $14.15 million, with 60% of the systems upgraded. However, the problem is that most of the new systems are using Windows 7.
Windows 7-run election systems are not only limited to Pennsylvania. There are 10,000 counties using Windows 7 or older operating systems that are essential to the election process. The election systems are used to create ballots, program the voting machines, tally votes and report final election counts.
The local government has responded that the systems with older OS are entitled to a free software upgrade from their suppliers. Hopefully, the updates will be done before January 2020.