In a new post on the official Microsoft Newsroom, the company has warned Windows 7 users the ageing platform suffers from a number of serious failings including security deficiencies and hardware restrictions while reiterating all support for the platform is ending. It’s scary stuff.
“Today, [Windows 7] does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments,” says Markus Nitschke, Head of Windows at Microsoft Germany.
The Microsoft post (originally written in German) goes into more detail actively attacking Windows 7 for its "long-outdated security architectures" and warning any users and businesses who are running that they are more susceptible to cyber attacks.
But the remarkable beatdown of its own platform doesn’t stop there. Microsoft says that sticking with Windows 7 will result in "higher operating costs" for users due to problems with reliability and compatibility. It also warns some manufacturers are actively shunning Windows 7 and stopping driver support while the newest chipsets from AMD, Intel and Qualcomm are incompatible.
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Microsoft completes this somber vision for Windows 7 by emphasising that life cycle is ending and when that happens it will no longer provide any security updates or technical support.
So should you ditch Windows 7 and run for the hills? After all Microsoft also stresses in its post that it has never been easier to upgrade to Windows 10.
What To Think? Reality Vs Scare Tactics
Let me be absolutely clear: Microsoft is taking extreme liberties with the truth and Windows 7 users should not panic. Instead they should see this for what it is - a desperate attempt by the company to push users to Windows 10 after the infamous nagging stopped. So let’s break down Microsoft’s claims:
Yes, Windows 10 does technically have better security BUT Windows 7 remains a very secure operating system if you are going to keep it up to date with the latest security patches.
Yes, Windows 7 doesn’t support the latest AMD, Intel and Qualcomm chipsets but that is ONLY because Microsoft chose to make them incompatible. In the history of Windows this was an unprecedented step and designed to push users to Windows 10.
Yes, technically Windows Store apps are only compatible with Windows 10 but I’ve seen ZERO evidence any hardware or software companies are no longer supporting Windows 7. It would make no sense, Windows 7 is still by far the most popular and widely used operating system in the world.
Yes, Windows 7 support will end and Microsoft will cut off all support but not until January 14th 2020. You should upgrade after this date, but it remains a long way away in computer years.
And finally, Microsoft has been here before. In January 2016 the company warned Windows 7 users they choose the platform “at your own risk, at your own peril”. Again technically that’s true but it’s true of almost anything (you drive a car ‘at your own risk, at your own peril’). Just two years earlier Microsoft gushed security could be found in "a modern operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8 that have a decade of evolved security mitigations built in."
The reality is this: Microsoft wants all users on Windows 10 because it gives Microsoft far greater control over updates and privacy (despite important recent concessions). It also provides potentially greater revenue to Microsoft via the Windows Store and native advertising. Furthermore, while supposedly no longer tracked, Microsoft would prefer to miss its “one billion” installs target for Windows 10 by 2018 by a less embarrassing margin.
Microsoft is making major changes to how Windows 10 handles your privacy. It's a start but does not compare to the greater freedoms of Windows 7. Image credit: Microsoft
So ultimately all this scaremongering makes no sense. Why? Because avoiding Windows 10 long term is impossible if you wish to remain a Windows user. Microsoft’s decision to make older versions of Windows incompatible with new hardware has ensured that, so the company will get what it wants.
As such this impatience and foot stamping only makes Microsoft’s new blog post all the more unpalatable. Yes some of what Microsoft is saying is ‘technically true’, but the reality is it’s disingenuous and irresponsible fear mongering written primarily to further its own ambitions following the mixed response to Windows 10.
Don’t be scared by Microsoft and don’t let other, less technical, friends and family members be scared by it either. Share this post and take comfort from the fact that for the next three years Windows 7 will continue to serve you very well indeed - whether Microsoft likes it or not…