Microsoft have announced that Windows 7 computers will no longer receive Windows Security updates from January 14th, 2020. This is effectively marking the end-of-life for Windows 7, and it seems to be Microsoft’s way of encouraging Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10, and may have been triggered by the lack of movement from Windows 7 to Windows 10 recently.
According to NetMarketShare’s statistics for the desktop OS market in April 2019 the breakdown of the number of Windows 10 and Windows 7 users has remained virtually static, only increasing from 43.62% to 44.1% for Windows 10 and 36.52% in March to 36.43% for April for Windows 7 and just in case you are thinking this might be just a blip, going back to December 2018 the proportion of Windows 7 users was 36.9%.
Paid-For Option For Windows Professional
Microsoft will be offering Windows professional users the option of paid-for security updates for Windows 7 beyond January 2020 but at prices up to $200 per year per computer, it won’t be a cheap solution. It may help professional users who are still on Windows 7 because the hardware Windows 7 is running on might not be powerful enough or available storage could be problematic. However the option for paid-for updates for Windows Home users will not be available at all.
Microsoft Adopt Stick Rather Than Carrot
However there does seem to be a significant number of users choosing to stay on Windows 7 so it looks like Microsoft seems to be adopting a stick rather than a carrot approach now.
What Should I Do About This?
So what should DAW users do about this? Our advice is clear. Update to Windows 10, but be careful how you do it. Back in 2016, on our Pro Tools Expert blog, we ran an article entitled Windows 10 And Pro Tools - Our Advice because some community members had been in touch about upgrading to Windows 10 on Pro Tools systems and also what to do about the free Windows 10 upgrade that was about to expire. If you are looking to update to Windows 10 we strongly recommend you look at this article if you want to avoid some pitfalls.
As we said in our article Why Alan Sallabank Continues To Use Windows For Pro Tools After Fourteen Years…
Four years on and Windows 10 is now with us. The plug’n’play support is vastly improved and as my server build article demonstrated, a clean Windows install is now a swift and painless operation, and none of my pro-audio software has been dramatically affected by Windows updates. It’s still very rare to get BSOD lockouts. If it does happen, nowadays it can include a QR-code that you can scan with your phone to get more information about what fault has caused the issue.
If you are still using a computer running Windows 7 then we recommend now is the time to plan to upgrade. If your existing computer can run Windows 10 then follow our guidance on the best way to upgrade. We also recommend that you look at increasing your RAM and consider installing an SSD for your boot drive, if you haven’t already done so. SSDs have come down in price significantly recently, you can get a 500GB Crucial SSD for around £50 now.
If you cannot run Windows 10 on your current computer then it’s probably time to look at investing in a new one. Check out our articles for some help and advice…