Can You Still Use Windows 7 in 2020?

If you haven’t been sold on Windows 10, you’re not alone. To this day, Windows 7 remains the 2nd most popular Windows desktop operating system, with almost ​34 percent of computer users using it globally. Despite mainstream support for Windows 7 ending in 2015, and Microsoft’s insistence on users making the switch, there are plenty of people still holding out. Privacy concerns over Windows 10 ​calling home to Microsoft have been a concern for many people. Whatever your reasons are for remaining with Windows 7, we’re sharing our tips for keeping it running as long as possible.

First, let’s review what’s going on with Microsoft and what users can expect in the short term.

• As of January 13, 2015 Microsoft support for Windows 7 ended. Canceling any new Service Packs and features for the operating system. Microsoft is however still patching the operating system.

​• Extended support for users is still being offered until January 14, 2020. On this day, Microsoft will stop issuing new security updates and patches for Windows 7.

​Ultimately what this means for Windows 7 fans is that it is safe to continue using it until 2020, assuming you continue installing updates. After that point, however, is a different story. Come January 14th, 2020, security patches will cease to apply to your ​computer, ​resulting in your machine becoming vulnerable to known exploits. This is very dangerous.  Without proper patch management, cybercriminals ​will be able to compromise Windows 7 machines using known vulnerabilities in the operating system that are not patched.

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Continue updating

​In the meantime, while users can still feel secure in their use of Windows 7 there are a couple of outlining factors to consider. While many users are hesitant to install updates in fear of ending up with Windows 10 ​accidentally, entirely avoiding them is not a ​secure option. ​You must apply security patches.

Switch browsers

If you haven’t already, stopped using Internet Explorer. Microsoft has announced they will stop offering security updates for Internet Explorer 11 come 2020, and the latest Microsoft Edge is not available for Windows 7 computers. Fortunately, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are still reliable options for Windows 7 users. We can’t guarantee either of these browsers will continue offering Windows 7 support once Microsoft stops, but you will be able to utilize new features and updates for the time being.

Prepare to pay

In a blog post by Microsoft 365 Corporate VP Jared Spataro, it was announced that from January 14, 2020 a monthly fee, that doubles each year, will be implemented for Windows 7 users in order to keep their computers safe. Unfortunately, this offering is only available to Windows 7 Professional customers in Volume licensing. So the everyday user running Windows 7 Home will not be applicable.

A pricing plan ​obtained by ZDNet for Windows 7 Support is as followed:

• Year 1 (January 2020 – January 2021): $50 per device, with Windows 10 Enterprise add-on rate of $25.

• Year 2 (January 2021 – January 2022): $100 per device, with Windows 10 Enterprise add-on rate of $50.

• Year 3 (January 2022 – January 2023): $200 per device, with Windows 10 Enterprise add-on rate of $100.

While this increasing payment model was created to incentivize Windows 7 users to upgrade, the option to hold on to your preferred platform remains if you’re willing to pay for it. Whatever you choose to do, we hope these tips help!

  • Mark says:

    If you are still using Windows 7 because of privacy concerns with Windows 10, maybe it’s time to have a look at Linux…??

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      Maybe. Although sometimes you need Windows for one reason or another. But Linux is a viable alternative for many.

      • Don Hepler says:

        I am 88 years old and do not want windows 10. Can I update to windows 8 and still keep all the info I have on windows 7 professional. I know windows 8 will expire in 2023 but maybe I will be gone by then??

        • Nathan House Nathan House says:

          You can upgrade but there will be some differences. You might want to install on Windows 8 so it looks more like Windows 7. You might want to go to PC store for help if upgrading is new to you. Mayke sure you do a backup too!

          • ElizAnn Esl says:

            Hello Nathan .. I tried to paste into my updated Firefox browser with https everywhere, but got a warning that it was not https. Would it be possible for you to change it to https? Thank you, ElizAnn

        • Maureen Grayson says:

          Don’t say that, Don’t! You’re as young as you feel. Don’t forget, your generation is the super one … and that you are still obviously computing like crazy, tells me you’ve a good lifetime ahead of you yet!!!

  • Gerald says:

    what about Windows 8.1. Personally I switched from Windows 10 to Linux, because I do not like Windows 10 at all.

  • Mateusz says:

    So Windows 10 then. I switched a long time ago to Mac and I am very happy. Linux is the last choice. I do not recommend Windows unless you play a lot in computer games.

  • Me says:

    Why would anyone want to use WINDOWS

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      Many apps don’t work on Linux and or Mac. As part of a business.

    • Lucas says:

      -Runs in any PC
      -Easy of use
      -PC Games
      -Xbox integration
      -Microsoft Office
      -Other Software
      -Hates Linux user experience.
      -Cannot afford a Mac computer
      -Trust in Microsoft
      -PC came with Windows out of the box

      What I don’t get is why not update from Windows 7 to 10? Just turn off Cortana and those privacy-related settings. It is just much faster than 7 plus it has a dark mode now 😀

      • Teewoo says:

        Older people don’t want to learn a new operating system. Learning windows 10 is hard for people in their 70’s and up. My parents are a great example of this. They refuse to learn windows 10.

      • Marcus says:

        Even if you disable Cortana and those privacy related settings there is no guarantee that they were disabled. Even if you did disable the settings chances are they will be changed in another update. It is also easy to forget to change a setting. I’d prefer not to be opted in by default. There are also people who don’t like the idea of forced upgrades in windows 10 that sometimes have hosed a machine. I was automatically updated to windows 10 when it was first offered for free even though my windows 7 laptop BIOS wasn’t compatible. It hosed my laptop and I had to do a clean re-install and lose my data. I wasn’t too happy and don’t want a hosed system when there is an update since in the past I’ve seen MS updates fail and hose a system. Previous versions you could decide not to install or install a period afterwards.

      • John says:

        Ha ha you clearly have no idea. Turn off all the privacy settings you like. They don’t actually turn off. They stay on. As for faster. I’m just going to go ahead and assume you play games. Wait until you in the middle of a job and windows does it’s usual forced update and suddenly things stop working and the update hangs. Windows 10 is spyware pretending to be an OS.

    • Ben says:

      Give up, the sheeple haven’t got a clue.

  • ThaCrip says:

    Anyone still using Windows 7 can still upgrade for free to Windows 10 using the official upgrade tool from Microsoft. I tested this recently and it still works to get a activated copy of Windows 10 for free and then you can clean install Windows 10 in the future by wiping the drive and installing it from scratch and it automatically activates once your connected to the internet and it’s up and running.

  • KevinD says:

    Many industrial computers are running Windows 7. They bought the machine and installation years ago.

    We were in a fairly nice hospital ER room recently. The heart monitor was running Window 7 Embedded. Hopefully their embedded network is not connected to the internet!

    Updating would require 10+ grand per room.

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      Losing Windows 7 support (security updates) is going to be a big problem for many organisations that are tight on budgets. It’s often not just as simple as upgrading as all the applications also need to support Windows 10 and the hardware. We may well see many vulnerable Windows 7 machines in 2020 onwards.

      • Aca Miln says:

        Loosing Win7 support makes zero problem. I still use Firefox 56.0.2. Loosing support is just a way to force you to pay for new one.

        • Nathan House Nathan House says:

          It’s a problem if you use the Intertnet. Your Windows 7 wont get security updates and will be vulberable to hacking. Even worse is not updating Firefox. That is just asking for trouble!! Your version of Firefox has remote code execution vulernailtiies. Any site you vist can take control of your machine! Update now!

    • blurb says:

      They’ll update it to Win 10. I sure hope it’s not me on that heart machine with the forced update comes and shuts everything else down.

    • TRH says:

      This what I dont understand – why doesnt/didnt
      BIG Business MAKE Microsoft keep Windows 7 running – surely there is enough big business out there that cant afford to update. To me it should have been made ILLEGAL

  • Mark Baldwin says:

    A lot of industrial software won’t run on Windows 10 if the serial port is used. Some struggle with Windows 7. Upgrades are not an option on some software packages.
    A lot of industrial machines still run on Windows 2000 and Windows XP, luckily most of these are never connected to the internet so should be safe.

  • Tom says:

    Dump Windows. Use Linux.

  • John says:

    I stopped allowing windows 7 updates years ago. The only cyber criminal I’m worried about is Microsoft. Haven’t had a single problem since I stopped updates. Most of the security updates were about installing telemetry spyware, not protecting your computer. Ever wonder why an OS needs so many security updates? Because it’s a heap of crap!

    • Ryan Millar says:

      Youre stupid, even stupider making that comment publicly. Getting your ip and then exploiting the known vulnerabilities wouldnt be too hard for those in the know

  • John says:

    Interesting article. No updates. Yes!!! Finally. I stopped mine years ago and have never been happier.

  • Sagar Kumar says:

    I am using Linux os and I will never go for window because I am very concerned with privacy , previously when I using Windows os , it’s feel like window is spying on me

    Any additional security firewall or software available to make the window os anonymous

  • Billy Gregg says:

    People spreading fear about Jan. 2020 and no more security updates for Win 7. Here’s my take… what? It’s not as if Windows 10 has perfect security. It can be and is constantly being bombarded by malware and viruses. Microsoft patches vulnerabilities that they can, while keeping the operating system functional. But there are still lots of viruses and malware that attack the system. Microsoft simply can’t patch everything that’s attacked or the operating system will simply not function.

    That’s what anti virus and malware programs do. They detect and intercept viruses and malware before it affects your operating system. So any computer with Windows 7 that’s running a good anti virus and malware program(who’s isn’t?) is going to be just as protected as any Windows 10 system user.

    If Windows 7 doesn’t get a security update that Windows 10 gets, then that anything that tries to exploit that vulnerability will be detected by your anti virus or malware program. Anti virus and malware programs don’t exclude things that have been addressed by security updates, they are programmed to detect all know anti virus and malware attacks by default.

    So you are just fine running Windows 7 for the next several years while using a good anti virus and malware detection program. You will be just as secure as a Windows 10 user. And if the CIA or a foreign government with super military based techniques wants to access your system, then little old Windows 10 will not stop them. But the chances that the CIA or a foreign government will be attacking your home or small non technology business are slim to none or less…

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      The most import thing if using Windows 7 in 2020 is making sure your browser is upto date and not clicking on email you shouldn’t.

    • Charles says:

      That’s funny because the feds are always in my computers…..its not slim to none…..its is good for you if there not intrested in you.

    • Vlad123 says:

      You Install Windows 7 In 2017

    • Vlad123 says:

      I stopped allowing windows 7 updates years ago. The only cyber criminal I’m worried about is Microsoft. Haven’t had a single problem since I stopped updates. Most of the security updates were about installing telemetry spyware, not protecting your computer. Ever wonder why an OS needs so many security updates? Because it’s a heap of crap!

    • billy jean says:

      but if some hackers find an exploit in the os and microsoft isn’t there to patch it anti-virus won’t do anything.

  • Rj Gonzales says:

    Hey I got my first gaming pc and it’s os is windows 7 my question is how crucial/important is windows 10?or will there be games in the future that requires windows 10?i really dont want to upgrade.

  • Dominick says:

    I’m still running XP on two laptops. Windows 7 on one. Windows 2000 server on my home network and backup host. I use a resource monitor display to detect spurious activity. If that happens, I hard disconnect from Internet and run Process Explorer/Hacker to investigate, freeze and trap suspicious activity. I do not open unknown websites, email, or documents. Only once was I hit with a rootkit, and that required me to get a fix from another computer and run it on target machine.
    Ever since the demise of XP, we are no longer able to get into our own files. If your computer dies, try to read your Windows 7+ hard drive on another machine and you are not allowed…unless that is an XP machine which reads everything.
    Thank GOD Newton and our fathers of mathematics didn’t suffer the same disease that makes software constantly change how it works, else 2 plus 2 would have some “intuitive” answer instead of 4, and gravity itself might have arbitrary units.
    What ever happened to the standard Menu Pad with dropdowns? – ever try to navigate Facebook for business? Even Help (for Google or Facebook) can’t keep up with the changes.

  • Victoria says:

    Windows 10 broke my computer….
    I think downgrading 10 to 7 is a real update

    • dean says:

      same here windows 10 was find into the lasted update oct 2020 went on, then bsod and reboots loops. will not uninstall update and system restore and reset did not work, so put windows 7 with good antivirus . unlike 10 7 is very stable

    • Vlad123 says:

      Windows 7 Is Bad On Your Computer

    • Vladi123 says:


      • Eric says:

        only reason to go to 10 is screen swiping to run a PC like a cell phone. but it’s not worth buying a new computer just to half to sit up talk in your chair so you can reach the screen to swipe. I’d rather sit back in a recliner with the keyboard in my lap and a large monitor setup high in front of me. I could survive on 7 if the system was way c he f over by people who care.

  • Ken Cooper says:

    mozilla firefox continued support for vista after microsoft stopped further security updates will they continue to support windows7 after january 2020

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7. Firefox will continue to work on Windows 7.

      • Jennifer Casey says:

        Thank all of you for helping me to decide whether or not to upgrade to Windows 10.
        I really can’t afford to purchase a new pc, and I was afraid to have 10 put on mine because I’ve heard of all the problems even after being told by M.S. it would be fine. I will keep my Windows 7. Thanks again.
        Have a great day.

        • Nathan House Nathan House says:

          Good luck. Make sure you keep anything that touches the web/Internet up to date. Like browsers and email clients.

      • Windows 7 says:

        And Google Chrome

  • John Jones says:

    I wish someone would build a windows 7 from linux. Im tired of fixing windows and windows 10 is junk not the same people building 10. so its going to be a waste

  • Nelson says:

    For those of you who are still young in mind can still go for XP

  • Susan Dudak says:

    I have Windows 7 IE and have downloaded Google Chrome. I only use the google chrome nowadays – even though IE is on my computer. I want to continue to use GC on my Windows 7 and hopefully it will still be okay even though I won’t be getting any IE security updates. I have Webroot and HitmanPro on my computer. Do you think I will be okay with this.

  • Sam Castellino says:

    Maddie, great article.
    Do you know if a network security box will provide adequate protection for Windows 7 after January 20, 2020? I ask because we have some critical applications that will not run under Windows 10.
    At least one of the suppliers said they have no plans to upgrade their software for Windows 10.

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      What do you mean by a network security box? The answer will depend on what you do with these Windows 7 machines.

      • Sam Castellino says:

        A network security box is a piece of hardware between the incoming ISP’s line/ cable and the router/modem. They trap all potential malware and would be Intruders. So you don’t have to rely on your firewall and security software only. Therefore all your devices including smart home devices are protected. We put one in because bad guys were trying to get into our network. No damage was done. Now we see no evidence that they have made new attempts.

      • Sam Castellino says:

        Nathan To further answer you, the applications I’m referring to are device drivers for proprietary equipment – critical to our business. We would probably, at the worst, keep one Win 7 off-line and walk back at forth with USB sticks – no fun. Plus the devices would have to be taken off the network and connected via USB. But that’s the plan if the BOX won’t protect win 7.

  • Randy says:

    I use Firefox with my Windows 7 Home Premium and run the Microsoft Security Essentials for protection. Will I still be fairly safe. I’m one of them older folks that would prefer not to upgrade to Windows 10.

    • Nathan House Nathan House says:

      With Windows 7 – Keep your Internet-facing software up to date. i.e. browsers, email clients etc. Don’t click on anything you shouldn’t. Run anything suspicious in a virtual machine or sandbox.

  • ThaCrip says:

    I have been on Linux Mint for the last year now and I don’t regret the change. anyone who just wants a secure machine for some online use and the like, can’t go wrong with dumping Windows and switching to Linux and since just about all shady software targets Windows machines, short of Phishing scams and the like, one should be pretty safe online with Linux as even those novice users will be pretty safe since Linux will help protect them against themselves since they can’t just install random software like they might do if they were on Windows.

  • David G. says:

    I have win 8.1 I.E.11. I have been informed by You Tube they will stop supporting my browser soon. Which browser could I download that’s close to 8.1 win 11 so I can keep my tiles and proceed as close to normal as I do now. Thanks for any input. Dave

  • René Kokmeyer says:

    As long as I can use my Microsoft Office 2001 series, I will continue to us Windows 7. I have stopped the “rollups” monthly updates years ago at almost half a gig, every month and they never uninstall the old ones, do they?

  • Meet@Win7User says:

    Stupid Microsoft Why did they Kill Windows 7 And Make Windows 10

    I am Still using Windows 7 And I am Never Gonna Upgrade

  • Meet@Win7User says:

    Stupid Windows 10

  • Alishia says:

    You might have noticed that the majority of the users are dependent on outdated Windows 7 is because of their inability to run the newest version of OS or Some users have economic reasons behind the using Windows 7 OS whereas some are just too lazy to upgrade but at the same time, the users don’t understand that to have their devices secured from any security threat they need to migrate to supported versions on their devices and make sure that all security tools are upgraded before the transition!

  • Aadam says:

    As well yes you are right, but you need a usb from 2019 or on in the 2020.

  • Vlad123 says:

    You Must Download Windows 7 In 2021 NOT IN 2020!!!

  • Nathan House says:

    Windows 10 Is Better

  • Streety says:

    I’m still using a standard Windows 7 Pro edition on one of my older PCs, daily, and it’s still downloading MSE antivirus updates very frequently, and the MS malicious software removal tool still downloads monthly too, as of early 2021. I use the machine mainly because I play a lot of older games, but I also use it for some light browsing using Firefox (though I keep it locked down pretty tight). Never any viruses – so far.

    In fact I only belatedly updated that same PC from XP to the all new fancy Windows 7 in early 2019 – and I never had any viruses on it back then either. Again, I always kept it locked down pretty tight (though nothing exceptional) and went on-line with it daily.

    I’ll prob take it off-line once Firefox stop supporting Win7. I guess that’s a year or two away as they haven’t announced anything yet.

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