Many of you will remember when Windows XP was cut off years ago. Microsoft cut a great operating system from getting security updates and patches. Many people still used the system after that and they still use it today! Next year it will be the turn of Windows 7!

What does ending support mean?

Good question! It means that the system will no longer receive essential security updates and patches. I mean, Windows XP and Windows Vista no longer receive them even when security holes are found. This means that you are on your own when a hole is found. But even with this information people are still using Windows XP.

To be honest these systems are still usable if you’re not connected to the internet. For example, a couple of years ago they found that an Auto Repair Shop in Gdansk, Poland is still using a Commodore 64 to balance drive shafts! Impressive right?

Don’t forget about software support!

There are other things to consider too. Your favourite programs, programs that you might not even be considering such as Google Chrome will and have stopped supporting the System.

It’s likely that a couple of years from now, software vendors will too stop supporting Windows 7. To show you what that will look like and to see what still works and what doesn’t on Windows XP and Vista, I decided to do a little experiment with both systems to see whether the programs I regularly use are still supported.

Testing to see what still works on Windows XP and Vista

To test this I dug out two old installations disks containing Windows Vista and XP I had in the attic and I installed both systems in trial mode onto a VirtualBox which allowed me to run the system in a virtual environment. To make the test fair, I installed the latest updates on both builds.

Test 1 – Google Chrome

The Google Chrome installation was successful on both but it does come with the message “This computer will no longer receive Google Chrome Updates.”

Test 2 – Steam

Steam installed on both but failed to update on both too. Although the error messages don’t state it’s due to the fact that they are old not supported systems. But it’s kind of suspicious.

Test 3 – Spotify

Spotify was the first program in both systems that actually worked. But for a second there, I thought that it was no longer compatible with Windows Vista because I completely forgot that in this version of Windows you had to unlock certain executables in the properties. Once enabled the program launched.

Test 4 – Avast Free Anti-virus

Like Spotify, Avast Free Antivirus was successfully installed. It’s good that Anti-virus vendors are still supporting old systems but it doesn’t mean that Windows will get security patches. It means that the anti-virus program will get virus signature updates.

Test 5 – Microsoft Office 2016

Whilst Microsoft Office downloaded, it didn’t allow me to install it.

Outcomes

The five programs I tested were ones which I use often. As you can see, the majority of apps I use either couldn’t be installed or are no longer supported. The list goes on though, there are many more programs like this.

When support for Windows 7 ends on the 14th January next year it’s likely that in the coming year’s software vendors will stop supporting the older systems too. Although according to Chris Merriman from The Inquirer…

“For the first time, Microsoft has publicly stated that it will carry on supporting Windows 7, for users willing to pay. It did the same with Windows XP, but those deals tended to be done behind locked doors.”

Chris Merriman The Inquirer Available here…

The above statement is great news, especially for businesses who need time to test and get used to Windows 10.

So what next?

There are many options available for you to take but it’s important to remember that not all systems will be compatible with all hardware. In other words, it’s very wise to research before you upgrade!

Please note!

Before conducting any upgrades, remember to back up your data as upgrading will mean your hard disk getting wiped! If you don’t feel confident about performing the upgrade take your computer to a local PC Repair shop! I am not responsible for any damage caused!

Upgrade to Windows 10

The simplest option is to just upgrade to Windows 10. But even that may not be so easy. There are loads of things to consider before upgrading such as whether your hardware is compatible with the new system. For example, I tried to upgrade an old Dell Optiplex GX280 from Windows XP to Windows 10 back in its Insider Preview days but the processor simply did not support it. Luckily I found one on eBay that did and I was able to run Windows 10 Insider preview!

Upgrading my old Dell Optiplex GX280 to run Windows 10.

Upgrade to Linux

Linux is getting more and more publicity these days. It’s a series of Open source operating systems. Examples include Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and RedHat which was recently acquired by IBM but the list goes on. In fact, I decided to switch to Linux Mint myself! Find out how I did with using it for over 1 month…

There are many Linux flavours available but for some reason, I like Linux Mint most at the moment. In the background, I have also been testing Sparky Linux, which Like Ubuntu and Linux Mint is based on Debian.

Before I decided to make Linux Mint my everyday system, I tested it on a PC I had lying around and I came to like it.

Restoring a Dell Optiplex 380 with Linux Mint

Buy a new PC

The third and most costly option is to just buy a new PC right? Not necessarily! If you’re like me and you built your own it will be much easier to just buy a new system. On the other hand, you might have purchased a pre-built PC that was expensive and you might not want to be spending that much money again.

Unless you fancy buying a new PC, my advice would be that if your PC is slow and starting to show it’s age it might be worth buying a new PC, otherwise, whichever way you want to go, upgrading seems to be the way forward!

What are you planning to do when Microsoft ends support for Windows 7? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to like subscribe for more great content!