Upgrade Windows 7

As Windows 7 counts down to the end of its support lifetime, it's time to look at what's next

Windows 7 was first made available to PC manufacturers in July 2009 and Microsoft has fixed the date for the end of support at 14th January, 2020. After that date, there will no longer be any security updates, even where known problems exist. It makes sense to change to a supported operating system to keep your computer running as safely as possible.

Replace your computer

If your computer is very old, you may already be thinking of replacing it. A new computer will come with Windows 10, so your problem will be solved.

(If you do replace your computer, you may still want to consider one of the other options below for the old one – handy as a spare, or for visitors, children or grandchildren to use, so your main computer remains in good shape for your essential use.)

Upgrade to Windows 10

Many Windows 7 computers will work with Windows 10 and upgrading may give you a few extra years of good service. In our experience, you really need the following minimum specification for Windows 10:

  • Dual-core, 64-bit processor
  • At least 4 GB memory (RAM)
  • At least 64 GB hard drive size

If your computer doesn't currently meet this specification, it may be cost-effective to upgrade some of the hardware. It isn't generally practical to change the processor, but adding memory is usually possible, for example.

You might also consider moving up to a new Solid State Drive (SSD) to replace your existing original hard drive. This commonly gives a very noticeable performance boost (an SSD can work about 20 times faster than a traditional hard drive), especially when starting the computer and when starting programs – both much quicker.

Have your computer assessed for suitability

If much of what you've read above is a complete mystery, don't worry – contact us for an assessment of your current computer, without obligation. If it's suitable for Windows 10, we'll give you a fixed price for the upgrade and prices for any optional changes.

Windows 10 disadvantages

There are some potential disadvantages to Windows 10, compared to earlier Windows versions.

Initially, it does look a little different, but mostly these are just cosmetic changes. Tackling some of your everyday tasks may seem a bit strange at first, but will soon become just as familiar as before.

Some of your preferred software programs may no longer be compatible. Notable among these are Internet Explorer (web browser) and the various versions of Windows Mail/Windows Live Mail from earlier Windows. Alternative programs are available to take the place of these unsupported ones.

The regular Windows Updates tend to be bigger and can take much longer to install. If your Internet connection speed is not very good, it may be very difficult to get updates downloaded, especially if you are trying to do something else at the same time.

Upgrade to Linux Mint

Linux Mint is a free operating system – free of cost and free of restrictions – that runs very well on even quite modest computers and should have no problem on a PC designed for Windows 7. It offers a huge range of equally free progams, many of which are included from the start. Some programs that you may already know will be waiting for you – Mozilla Firefox (web browser) and Thunderbird (email), Google Chrome (web browser) and VLC (multimedia player), for example. Additionally, LibreOffice (a full, professional-quality office suite) is able to read and write Microsoft Office files for Word and Excel and there are programs to organise and listen to your music, organise and edit pictures and for most other every-day tasks. These are automatically included in the installation.

You can choose to keep Windows available (select which operating system to run when the computer is started) or change completely to Linux Mint. In either case, all your old documents, music files and photos will be accessible from within Linux Mint.

Limitations

There are some things that won't work with Linux Mint and for which there is no alternative program, notably most GPS (sat. nav.) devices and some mobile phones, that connect through a computer to get updates. Almost all modern printers and scanners are fully supported. If you think you have something that may not work, please ask us to research its compatibility for you.

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