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Microsoft will begin warning Windows 7 users that support has ended on January 15

Windows 7 Out Of Support
Windows 7 Out Of Support (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Windows 7 support ends January 14 2020.
  • Microsoft will be sending out the 5th (and final) warning to users.
  • Windows 7 users dismiss the message and continue using their PCs.

Windows 7's life support is almost up. Launched a decade ago in 2009, Windows 7 has been a success story for Microsoft, but just like with Windows XP; there are millions of people who are still using Windows 7 as support for it comes to an end. Support officially ends on January 14, and beginning January 15, Microsoft will start letting users know this with full-screen warnings.

Just like the smaller windowed warnings that have been popping up for Windows 7 users this year, this full-screen warning will be dismissible and can be turned off forever if the user chooses. Those who do decide to stick with Windows 7 after the end of support date will be vulnerable to any Windows OS attacks that become known after January 14, which could put your PC and data at risk.

There are a guesstimated 300 million Windows 7 users connected to the internet today, which pales in comparison to the 900 million Windows 10 users out there. But 300 million is not a small group of people and is a huge target for attackers looking to take advantage of people using an OS that is no longer in support.

If you're running Windows 7 on your PC today, you can still take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, even though that offer has expired. Microsoft will turn a blind eye and let you activate Windows 10 legitimately with your Windows 7 serial key. You can head to the Windows 10 Upgrade (opens in new tab) website to get started.

Are you still using Windows 7? Will you continue to use it after January 14? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

6 Comments
  • Let's be honest.. most regular end users on 7 won't be any safer or more secure regardless of "supported" OS. That doesn't stop Grammy from downloading that free sewing pattern or Gramps from clicking on some gun special or fishing link. Most issues are self-inflicted and not just some random vulnerability. Or often it's a spam/fake vulnerability to trick people into thinking there are problems. I see as many issues with users on 10 as I do 8.1 or 7.
  • Wrong, "Compatibility" is still a thing, file formats or how data is handled in various programs change over time, like how HTML5 is favored over Adobe Flash on most major websites now, and if you happen to own an old Mobile/PC; it would be obvious that many things just tend to break when your device/platform doesn't support these new ways of data processing, also not all Win7 users are over their 60's or 80's since most folks of that age wouldn't actually notice the difference between all these platforms nor would they really care. Windows 10 has its issues but it is quite far ahead in terms of stability and safety than Windows 7 is currently; Defender uses cloud AI that helps deal with most virus infections and even without doing so, its real-time protection keeps most things at bay "even when grammy or gramps wants to install sketchy programs off the web, Win10 will do a better job than Win7", and all this is without mentioning the fact that from this point onward the chances of getting new driver updates for Win7 is next to null. ah yes, I almost forgot, "security patches" lack of those can introduce even more problems to the mix cause it's not just about the software components, some of those fixes are for hardware as well.
  • Well I don't care what your Gammaw does I'm sticking with Win7.
  • You do that. No one really cares. It's not our personal information or system that will be stricken with vulnerabilities just because we're stubborn enough to avoid change. Don't get me wrong. I love Windows 7 as much as the next person, but there's no real reason NOT to upgrade to Windows 10 except as some form of petty protest against evolution that no one is going to listen to or care about. It's like sticking with Windows 95 or 98 "because I grew up on that." It's like, I understand, I really do, but it's time to move forward. You're going to have to eventually, whether it's on Windows 10, Linux, or MacOS. Eventually that Windows 7 computer will not be sufficient for you anymore.
  • People who absolutely don't want to switch to Windows 10 should VERY seriously consider Linux. Even if they're not tech savvy, a distribution like Linux Mint looks pretty much exactly like Windows 7 and it's just as user-friendly, if not more so. And it's much more secure.
  • If Microsoft was smart they'd offer a paid subscription for Windows XP and 7.