What to do About Windows?

The sun is trying to burn through the clouds.

If you are working on a computer running Windows 7, you have no doubt been made aware that support for that operating system ends on January 14, 2020. What does that mean? Well, for one, it doesn’t mean your laptop will stop working. However, if you continue using that machine after January 14th, you will become increasingly vulnerable to technical and security risks.

Technical risks stem from new or evolving technology that Windows 7 won’t be able to support. For example, if you have to replace your printer, you might find that there are no printer drivers available for Windows 7. Microsoft isn’t going to be providing any, and peripheral manufactures aren’t required to ship Windows 7 drivers with new equipment. These problems are real, but unlikely to affect you, at least in the near term.

Security risks are a much larger concern. Despite having been around for years, people are still discovering vulnerabilities with Windows 7. As they exploit these vulnerabilities in the future, Microsoft won’t be issuing updates to patch the holes. It’s not clear if third-party products like BitDefender (the anti-malware software I use) will continue providing updates, either.

The answer, as much as you may not want to go there, is Windows 10. I run machines running Windows 7 and Windows 10, and they are both stable, reliable platforms. They have their differences and frankly, there are features in Windows 7 that I like better, but that doesn’t change the facts – Windows 7 is not going to be a viable platform in a few months. There are some other issues with switching to Windows 10 that you might have to prepare for:

Non-compliant software – Perhaps, in addition to not upgrading Windows, you didn’t upgrade software products like Office, or Adobe or other less common products. Some of those programs will not work properly under Windows 10 – some might not even install successfully. In that case, you will need to buy a new version of that software.

Non-compliant hardware – Less likely than software, it’s possible that you have an older printer, scanner or other device for which Windows 10 drivers were never produced. There is almost nothing you can do about this.

Data – What about all your stuff? You can reinstall software on a new computer, but you still need your files. The easiest way to move these is to transfer them to a new Windows 10 computer via a USB external drive. You can, as one reader commented last week, remove your existing hard drive and install it in an apparatus that will make it available as a USB drive. You can also transfer to and from a cloud-based storage location like OneDrive, but a USB drive will be much faster.

What if you like your current machine? What if it’s not that old and is still working well. Can you upgrade to Windows 10?

The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is yes, but… The ‘but’ is how you define upgrade. If you are contemplating what is known as upgrading-in-place, i.e. running a program on your current machine that will change the operating system from Windows 7 to Windows 10, good luck. This didn’t work well in the initial upgrade period, in fact, I had to revert to Windows 7 after a barely successful Windows 10 upgrade. The smarter approach would be to let Windows 10 wipe the computer and install itself as a fresh operating system. That means you have to reinstall your software and backup and replace your files and data.

I intend to take both options. I plan to obtain a new laptop running Windows 10 and upgrade my current Windows 7 laptop to Windows 10. My current laptop required Windows 7 for programs I ran at work. It’s not that old, and it runs very well. In retirement, I plan to work between two locations in our house, and it will be nice not to have to lug the machine with me. The software I use for writing (Microsoft Office) can be installed on several machines, and the files I work on are stored in the Box (cloud) – moving from machine to machine is easy.

This will require the purchase of a copy of Windows 10 ($200) and a backup device. I would need the backup device regardless (and it’s a good thing to have). I purchased a Western Digital Passport backup drive with 2 TB of storage. It was on sale at BestBuy several months ago. You can actually get larger drives today for less than I paid. In fact, Amazon has 4TB drives for about $100.

Whichever route you go, the destination is clear. We (Windows 7 users) should all be on Windows 10 by mid-January. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below. I will do my best to answer them.


83 thoughts on “What to do About Windows?

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  1. I abandoned Windows a few years ago after a particularly bad experience with a new Dell laptop. I’m now in the Apple camp.
    I know I have an ugly upgrade ahead of me for Lightroom. I’m constantly getting reminders to upgrade but previous changes have been painful – much like Windows. I’m looking forward to it like a root canal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew there would be a bunch of Apple users in the crowd, but people have been asking me about this notification Microsoft started sending. The computer I use the most is already on Windows 10, so I’ll be OK. Everything else I have has been upgraded, so I just need to back it all up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dan – I was worried … but checked I’m on 10 – so am very grateful … all I need to do is admire the Fall views with a few critters to cheer us all up – have a good week … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sure all your Windows readers appreciate this info. I’m still using a 2012 Mac Laptop that I pray over every day to keep it running. I know it’s gone way past its intended life. :-) I did have a good chuckle about having two laptops in various parts of your house when you retire. Now, you’re thinking like a retiree – it’s all about the comfort. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was reluctant to let 7 go, but the death of my laptop and purchase of my new all in one required a switch to 10. To be honest, I worried needlessly. Other than the nightmare of transferring thousands of photos and buying new Word, all is well.
    Lovely autumn shots…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, lucky me! The only windows here are on my house! 😂😂😂

    Beautiful, colorful leaves, especially the fallen ones covered in raindrops.

    My, Smokey, what a beautiful tail you have!!

    Maddie’s “kiss while we walk” routine is too funny!! She puts a lot of gusto into it so I’m sure you try to get your feet well-planted! Lol.

    Good idea to leave MiMi alone. I think she’s been sharpening her nails “just in case”!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I’m glad to know that you’re not worried about this change.

      Maddie doesn’t give any warning that she’s about to “thank me” like this. I happened to have my phone out and the camera on, because I could hear those geese coming. She’s come close to knocking me down with that kiss.

      Smokey normally scampers up the tree. I was so happy he sat still for a few seconds. I love that tail.

      MiMi has started to make her feelings known. Her claws are always very sharp.

      Like

  6. My husband said a free Microsoft 10 upgrade was offered….earlier? I’m good. Oh, I feel the joy in Maddie’s kisses. So cute! Smokey is a sweetheart and, oh yes, cat claws….. Have a great Monday, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The upgrade was free for a limited time. I tried doing it, and it took days to get my computer back to normal.

      Maddie’s thank you kisses are wonderful, but I swear, she’s going to knock me over one of these days. Smokey is the cutest thing. MiMi can be cute, but…

      Like

  7. I saw the notification about Windows 7 expiry date. We have already upgraded our office OS to Windows 10. I had a problem with my AutoCAD which isn’t compatible with Windows 10 but I upgraded that too. So for now now everything is working fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well naturally when I read this title I thought of house windows because that’s what we’ve been doing around here, having them replaced. Then I find that you’ve written a useful post about something I do not have [being an iMac household], thus I’m left to comment and say: cute squirrel photo!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I guess this means the old ‘spare’ laptop is now officially an anchor. The battery died a while back. I tried to replace it and ordered a new one. Sadly the replacement arrived ready to be replaced. I plugged it in and it said 100%. And it proceeded to go directly to 0% without recharging. The battery was returned and refunded. We just plug it in when we need to use it. And that won’t be much longer. Progress marches on, right over and through what previously was not a boat anchor…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly, John, the tech industry never heard the expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Windows 10 was born broken, and has been constantly under repair ever since. Fortunately, it is a nice stable operating system now, but it wasn’t when the upgrade was free.

      I have two working Windows 7 machined that will become anchors, but I have one I am going to bring forward into the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good post, Dan… hope it’ll help someone. Me, I’m beyond help… I’m on Windows 10 v.1903 and absolutely detest it. This is just one of three devices in our house running windows 10. My husband’s pc has an earlier version that I was going to update to 1903 until I read about the f*ckup with the last system update – which I’ve not got yet and plan never to get. (I’m the computer tech in our house… not that I ever touch anything in the registry, with my own memory problems, I’d lose track and down it would go…) Now I’m waiting til that’s sorted and realise it could be months or even a year – if it ever happens. I wish I’d never got started on Windows. I set our two pcs and my tablet (Linx running windows) onto ‘metred connection’ so that I don’t get any unpleasant surprises, but since the last update it’s been downloading anyway and just waiting for my permission to install, which means that if I ever need to restart my pc, I can’t do it, or it’d upgrade the damn system. A few days ago it wouldn’t release my pendrive with the usual disconnect and what I usually do then is restart with the pendrive still in the usb slot, but I couldn’t do that. So it was ‘eject’ via the C drive til it ‘agreed’ to spit it out. :(

    Hubby’s pc had windows 7 but we decided that since the machine itself was malfunctioning at the time, to get a new pc with 10 already installed on it. My last pc, before my current one was running xp and it was actually the only pc I’ve ever had that didn’t go wrong. I’d love to get that fixed (clock batter and bios need attention) and use it again but then I would have to use it offline and only with its existing programs. I still use an old version of photoshop elements on this one, but it doesn’t like it and of course – no drivers for it. Downstairs the multifunction printer/scanner has only a driver for part of it.

    I really think eventually windows 10 will go so far downhill as to completely break.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am sorry that you’ve had so much trouble. I managed to get through the May 2019 update relatively unscathed. In theory, the next major upgrade is next month (every 6 months) but it’s hard to know if they fixed everything they broke. At work, we had a lot of our in-house developed applications fail after that upgrade, but we figured out a way to fix them that was relatively easy. Managing upgrades shouldn’t be this difficult. Between Windows and iOS, I worry that one day, everything will be broken when I wake up.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for keeping us informed, Dan. I like using Windows 10. I found it to be more user friendly than when I upgraded from windows 98 to Windows 7. I am using an older passport that still works great and has lots of storage space for all my files. I really like the pictures you took of the leaves in the grass. The glistening rain drops were and extra bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sandi. If it’s working for you, it’s a good thing. That’s really how you have to look at these things. I hope that when I’m on my own in a few days, I’ll still be able to keep things working. I’m glad you liked the pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. He-Man works from home and the company upgraded to Win 10 when it came so we needed to. I really liked Win 7. It just worked! I never had any issues with it, and when he made the switch to Win 10 I couldn’t find anything! It took me a while to get everything figured out. I just wanted to cry. The startup menu was completely different, my stuff was in different places.

    I dread the day they upgrade to Win whatever and everything changes again. I’m finally comfortable and happy with Win 10!

    We don’t have many reds here either, and what we do have is Landscaped not natural. We have yellows, gold, and a few oranges out here. Fall looks lovely there. Maddie is so cute! Geese. They are to me the noisiest bird on the planet. I think they’re the lookouts or Sentries in the bird world. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just described my reluctant journey into the world of Windows 10. I am there, I am reasonably happy, but I wish I had the option to continue using both. Only because, I don’t want to go through the process of upgrading a machine that works just fine as it is.

      Our colors have been brilliant, albeit short lived. The geese are noisy, but in this case it worked. I had my phone out and camera loaded because I heard them coming. That’s the only way I’d ever get a picture of Maddie’s thank you kiss. She doesn’t give any warning for those.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. I tried the upgrade when it was first offered, but it failed miserably. I worked my way back to Windows 7 and I stayed there.

      I am enjoying the bright colors, and walking with Maddie (early) is giving us a chance to see them in the rising sun.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My current laptop came with Windows 10, so I’m good. It works just fine, although I have yet to figure out everything Windows 10 can do outside of my current writing/FB/email needs.

    Maddie is so cute! I love happy dogs! Speaking of which, Mimi must be part dog…you know, let sleeping dogs (and MiMis) lie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. I don’t want much from an operating system these days. I just want it to boot up quickly without any errors (which seems to be asking a lot).

      MiMi might be part dog, I am trying to avoid waking her whenever possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Such happy leaves and precious animal faces :) I liked that part best. I am on a Chromebook and enjoy speed and not worrying about security, but I miss Windows for several things, not the least of which is photo organization. I suppose I’ll move to 10 lappy, as I think my last one was anyway. Nosy Thing She Was. I wonder what on earth our puters are at work. I will look tomorrow. Reception REALLY needs a new tower, I know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Photos: GORGEOUS!!!!
    Maddie: PRECIOUS!!!!
    Mimi: ADORABLE!!!!
    Windows 10: NO. No. Just no. Tried it. Didn’t like it. Can’t use it with the programs I have, and damned if I’m going to spend money because Windows wants me to. If THEY want to pay for new versions of working programs, okay. But, no, not okay, because I HATE WINDOWS, especially Win10. One computer which I run offline with Win7 for programs that won’t work anyplace else, any other computers running Linux. Even Charlie has switched to Linux.
    BTW, this was a wonderful post. I really appreciate your sharing not only your knowledge but your actual, hands-on experience. It’s both informative and entertaining. Thankee.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, phooey. I’d not heard about this. I’ve been running Win7Pro w/SP1 on my Lenovo for several years now, and I am so happy with it. There have been no problems — not a single one! — and I can’t stand the thought of messing with a computer that’s so perfect. Beyond that, I can’t afford a new computer, or even upgrading software, at this point. I did just buy a new Canon printer/scanner/copier, so I suppose if I’m forced to go to Win10 it will be compatible. But I don’t want to upgrade. With an external hard drive running real-time backup, and a 3TB external SSB where I also back up photos and files, I may just stick my fingers in my ears and say, “Lalalalalalal — I can’t hear you!” until something goes BOOM! and there’s no option.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, lookie here: “However, users running Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise editions can purchase extended security updates through January 2023.” A year of extended security for $50 would allow for some planning and saving for a new machine — and even beats the $200 for Win10.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just talked to my computer gurus who set me up with my current system. They said that as long as I keep my ESET and malwarebytes up to date, and keep current backups, I should be fine while I’m saving my pennies.

        Like

  17. Another Mac user here. I have newer machines but still hang on to my Apple IIc and that ages me terribly… but it still works! Fall photos are wonderful. Gotta fatten up your squirrels for winter. More peanuts!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. upgraded all three of my machines when the upgrade was free. All at once. Maybe not the best idea but the learning curve was done and we were up and running in a couple of days. After a couple large updates, we have never had any problems and like what we have now. Thanks for the heads up and I hope everything goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. We skipped 98 at work. We went from 95 to 2000, and you’re right, nice and stable. We didn’t start with Windows until 95. We spent a few years running OS/2 (which I loved). Then 2000, XP, Windows 7 and now 10. I was the only employee who had Windows Vista – the idea was to be able to say: “the head of IT is using it…” but it was horrible.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. “A better DOS than DOS – A better Windows than Windows” – until Windows 95, we actually found that to be true. We basically used OS/2 as a platform from which to run DOS and Windows programs.

              Liked by 1 person

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