In January 2020, Microsoft will officially begin the end of life phase of the Windows 7 operating system. What this means is that on January 14th, Windows 7 will no longer be supported on laptops and desktops, and no further security updates will be released for it.
What does this mean for you?
If you are using a device that runs on Windows 7, you need to start looking at upgrading your software. Don’t panic (yet!), you’re not alone. For years, Windows 7 has been one of the most popular operating systems in the world, and it still has over 30% market share despite the growing popularity of Windows 10.
However, now is the time to start looking at alternatives to Windows 7. If you allow your device to continue running on Windows 7 passed the cut-off date, you may find yourself (and by extension your business!) open to malicious attacks. And, if something does happen to go wrong, you will no longer be able to call on Microsoft to fix the problem as they will no longer support it.
So, the sooner you can upgrade to Windows 10, the better!
How do you move from Windows 10 from Windows 7?
Most new PCs and laptops now come with Windows 10 included and pre-installed, so if you are purchasing a new device this should take care of the upgrade for you. Most new devices don’t come with an option to downgrade to Windows 7, so if you are hoping to avoid moving to Windows 10 it will be an uphill struggle.
Once your PC or laptop meets all of the requirements of Windows 10, upgrading your current device can be quite a straightforward process. You can purchase the Home version of Windows 10 here and the Pro/Business version of Windows 10 here.
Minimum requirements for Windows 10
- Required processor: 1 GHz or faster compatible processor
- Required memory: 1 GB RAM for 32-bit; 2 GB for 64-bit
- Required hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS, 32 GB for 64-bit OS
- Required video card: 800 × 600 screen resolution or higher. DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Required connectivity: Internet connectivity is necessary to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features.
- Other system requirements: Microsoft account required for some features. Watching DVDs requires separate playback software.
- Additional system requirements: You must accept the enclosed Licence Terms, also at microsoft.com/useterms
Firstly, create a backup
Microsoft is constantly improving the Windows 10 upgrade process but there is always the chance that an upgrade will fail. So, as with any major change, it’s essential to make sure to have a full backup of your device that you can roll back to if anything happens to ensure you don’t lose any of your files. The System Image Backup tool somes with both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 come with the to create a backup of your entire computer.
Upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7
- Download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft. (If this doesn’t work for you, you can download the Windows 10 Disc Image here).
- Click the ‘Download’ button and save the file to your device.
- Double-click the ‘MediaCreationTool.exe’ file you downloaded to launch the Windows 10 setup wizard.
- Click ‘Accept’ for the licensing agreement.
- Select the option to ‘Upgrade this PC now’ and click ‘Next’. The required files will download and the upgrade will begin.
- Enter your Windows 10 product key (see the links above if to purchase the Windows 10 version you need) and click ‘Next’.
- Again, click ‘Accept’ for the licensing agreement again.
- Make sure the ‘Keep personal files and apps’ option is selected and click ‘Install’.
- Once the installation process has completed, run through the Windows 10 ‘Out of Box Experience’ and you’re ready to go with Windows 10.
Can I get Windows 10 for free?
Microsoft officially stopped providing free Windows 10 upgrade through the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app on July 29, 2016. However, according to many reports, users can still upgrade their Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free, once you have a PC or a laptop running an authentic copy of Windows 7 or 8.
This ZD Net article includes steps that apparently allow users to upgrade their Windows version to Windows 10 without purchasing a new license, just make sure you have taken a reliable backup before giving it a try!