Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015, but extended their support until January 14, 2020. After 10 years of support, Microsoft has finally ended security updates for the operating system.
Microsoft’s Mainstream Support for Windows 7 included free incident support, warranty claims, fixes for non-security and security bugs, plus design changes and feature requests. Extended Support consists solely of security updates. In other words, Windows 7 is dead in Microsoft’s eyes.
If you continue to use Windows 7, your computer will still work, but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and malware. Software and hardware manufacturers will be even less likely to make products that work with the operating system, opting to focus on more recent versions of Windows.
Windows 10 users should receive at least five more years of support, based on Microsoft’s history. And while antivirus software can protect you from malicious software, a Microsoft spokesperson says it may still leave you vulnerable to “sophisticated attacks, like phishing and ransomware” if your operating system no longer receives updates.