Windows 10 users are plagued by ongoing problems with Windows 10 updates such as systems freezing, refusing to install if USB drives are present and even dramatic performance impacts on essential software. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that there is a large tranche of users who are refusing to make the move from Windows 7 to the Microsoft operating system flagship. According to the latest market share statistics the number of people still using Windows 7 has remained pretty static month on month. What may well surprise you is that while Windows 10 enjoyed a 44.1% share of the overall operating system market in April, Windows 7 still accounted for 36.43%. That figure hasn’t moved much at all from the 36.9% in December last year.
Microsoft obviously wants everyone to move to the latest generation of Windows and has a double-whammy of bad news for Windows 10 haters I’m afraid. Whammy number one is that Windows 7 will reach its end-of-life status on January 14 next year. Whammy number two is that it will cost you as much as $200 per year to get “extended security support” after that period. Assuming, that is, you are not a home user. I guess you could add a whammy number three in that home users will have absolutely zero options for security support post January 14, 2020.
There are plenty of very good reasons why people are reluctant to make the move to Windows 10: the hardware Windows 7 is running on might not be powerful enough or available storage could be problematical for example, but overwhelmingly it is likely to boil down to a simple dislike of Windows 10. In exactly the same way that Windows XP users steadfastly hung onto that obsolete operating system for years and refused to upgrade to Windows 7, I expect that the same will happen again as Windows 10 haters are “gonna hate” as the saying goes. Yet Windows 7 is fast approaching end of life status when free security support will come to an end. After January 14, 2020 it will cost as much as $200 per year, per PC, to upgrade to extended security support to keep it alive. And as I’ve already mentioned that’s for enterprise users only, there is no such option for home users.
The security question was widely dismissed as fake news by XP users for the longest time. I imagine a great many Windows 7 users will likewise insist it is far more secure than Windows 10. While there hasn’t been another WannaCry to highlight the problems of continuing to use unsupported operating systems, that doesn’t make Windows 7 a secure bet. Just last month Google was urging all Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 after the discovery of two zero-day vulnerabilities that could be used in tandem to take over host systems. Microsoft coughed up additional security updates for XP users in the wake of WannaCry, but Windows 7 users shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security by that.
I’m not going to explore all the security arguments for upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, not least as SentinelOne has done a great job of detailing 32 security reasons to move to Windows 10 over at the Security Boulevard blog. I do, however, urge all Windows 7 diehards to go read that article and ponder the potential consequences of sticking with it. In order to finish this bad news story with some potential good news, it is still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free if you are a Windows 7 user despite the original Get Windows 10 offer expired in 2016. It’s a little convoluted and involves the Microsoft media creation tool, a USB (or DVD) drive and a pinch of luck, but you can find the full instructions here.