Over the last year, many computer users have taken advantage of the offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1. Some have even purchased new machines with the newest operating system offered by Microsoft. Now that the free upgrade deadline has passed, those of us with working computers using older operating systems may be asking what to expect next. How long will the operating system last on their current computer? Is it time to start shopping for something new? Why is it necessary for some computers to be replaced rather than repaired? All are important questions and we would like to address them. Each operating system before Windows 10 does have an expiration date; some a quite bit sooner than others. To help you understand where your computer falls on the timeline, we delved into some detail on each of the different operating systems.
Mainstream Support vs. Extended Support
Before jumping into explanation of expirations of mainstream support and extended support let’s take moment to define exactly what the difference is between the two different types of support and what they entail.
When mainstream support ends, the following events take place:
- Microsoft no longer supplies non-security hotfixes unless you have an extended support agreements.
- All warranty claims end.
- Microsoft no longer accepts requests for new features and design changes.
- Free phone and online support is no longer available.
At this point, it is fine to continue to use your computer and Microsoft will still continue to run updates on any security patches as always.
When extended support ends, you can no longer count on any security patches or reliability patches. If you have a computer that has reached the end of its extended support, it is time to replace this computer with a newer model possessing an up-to-date operating system. However, it is important to note, that you may want to consider replacing even before the system support ends.
Windows 8.1 (Windows 8)
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 mostly have newer machines. As this is the most recent operating system prior to 10, Windows 8.1 users have considerably more time before expirations hit. On this particular operating system, users will see an end to mainstream in 2018 while extended support will end in 2023. As we near closer to those years, users can expect to see more solid dates on the end of support to be announced. In the meantime, enjoy your computer!
Windows 7 does have less time than Windows 8.1 but at this point it does have some time left. Mainstream support has already been terminated by Microsoft, its end date being April of 2015. Don’t worry though, your computer will still work and receive security updates until the end of this decade.
You will want to be prepared, though, as Microsoft will be ending extended support on January 14, 2020. After that day, the company will stop sending out bug fixes and security patches. Without those, Windows 7 will be more vulnerable to malware and other forms of attack. We always recommended that you stop using an operating system before this type of support end occurs.
Windows Vista is the oldest of the operating systems still currently receiving updates. Mainstream support ended a few years back on April 10, 2012 and we will be seeing extended support ending soon, on April 11, 2017. At this point, your Vista machine will no longer receive bug fixes and security patches which leave your computer vulnerable to malware and other forms of attack. Knowing this, it is important for users to understand that this might be the time to begin looking for a new computer.
Some may consider the idea of just updating the operating system on the computer. If makes logical sense to do that, especially if your computer is running just fine. However, with older computers, it is not recommended to upgrade the operating system to a newer one. Often, the cost of the upgrade would cost more than buying a brand new machine. Plus, some older machines simply cannot handle the requirements of a new operating system.
At this point Windows XP has been off support for about 2 years and we definitely recommend replacing this computer as soon as possible. Windows has long since stopped bug fixes and security patches and your computer is already vulnerable to malware or other forms of attack. In addition, hardware parts have become increasingly difficult to find and most of the time those parts aren’t new. E ven if they are new in box, those parts are just as old as the machine you are attempting to fix. This is definitely a machine it is work replacing rather than attempting a repair as often you will find yourself chasing one repair after another.
No one enjoys saying farewell to a computer that has been in their possession for a while, especially if that computer has served them well. However, it is important to remember, that computers don’t last forever. There are moving parts in the hardware, and software that has to be updated on a regular basis. When the software no longer gets the needed updates, your computer becomes a higher risk to your security. Many of us employees at CompuTime remember certain computers we personally owned and had to bid a fond farewell to, so we understand where you as a user would feel. If you are having some trouble with your computer or are curious about what you might need for a newer computer, be sure to give us a call or stop on in. Our staff knows what it is like to make the choice of repair versus replace and we are always happy to help you decide what would be the best step in keeping your technological world running smoothly.