What we'll cover
What does end of support mean?
All Windows operating systems have an end of support date that marks when Microsoft will no longer officially provide any updates for it. For Windows 7 that day is January 14th, 2020. After this day, you will no longer receive updates for any new features or bugs, but most importantly you will no longer receive security updates. Without security updates, your computer becomes MUCH more susceptible to viruses, hacks, and other cyber attacks. This is why we HIGHLY RECOMMEND upgrading to Windows 10 on or before the January 14th date.
Option 1: Buy a new computer
Considering Windows 7 was released a little over 10 years ago, you may be due an upgrade of your computer hardware. While computers can last longer, you typically want to upgrade your computer every 4-5 years for performance reasons. This will also ensure that you are able to use all of Windows 10's features.
Option 2: Upgrade to Windows 10
If you're not concerned about performance, you'll be pleased to know that as long as you have a hard drive that's 32GB or larger, you'll be able to upgrade to Windows 10. However, you may not be able to use all of its features, such as Windows Hello, without upgraded parts. For a complete list of those features and their requirements, see this article from Microsoft.
Upgrade for Free
When Windows 10 first came out, they offered it as a free upgrade to those on Windows 7 and 8 for a limited time. While this promotion was technically supposed to end in July 2016, this method has been confirmed to still work as of November 2019. However, we're not sure how much longer this method will work.
One thing to note about this upgrade is that you'll be upgraded to a comparable version of Windows 10. So If you have Windows 10 Home Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium, you'll be upgraded to Windows 10 Home. If you have Windows 10 Professional or Ultimate, you'll be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
Here's how you do it:
- Download the Media Creation Tool here.
- Open the program once it is downloaded.
- Choose "Upgrade this PC now."
- Follow the on screen prompts to complete the upgrade process.
Note: If you're prompting for an activation key, we recommend members to reach out to us so we can investigate further or to use the "Buy a Windows 10 license" method.
- Once the upgrade is complete, search for "Activation Settings" in the search bar at the bottom left of your screen and click on the result.
- Verify that next to "Activation" you see "Windows is activated with a digital license."
Note: If you do not see this, Windows 10 did not activate and we recommend members to contact us so we can find out why.
Buy a Windows 10 license
If the method above does not work, you can purchase a Windows 10 license from Microsoft directly or most other retailers that sell software (i.e. Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, etc.). The price for Windows 10 is normally $140 and $200 for Windows 10 Pro, but can sometimes be found on sale for less.
Most people will want to stick with a comparable edition of Windows 10. This means you'll want Windows 10 Home if you have Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, or Home Premium. If you Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, you'll want Windows 10 Pro.
If your needs have changed and you need the extra features that come with the Pro edition, you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from any of the Windows 7 Home editions. However if you want to go from Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate to Windows 10 Home, it is considered an edition downgrade. When you downgrade in edition you will still retain your personal data, but you'll lose your current applications and settings.