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Countdown to the End-of-Life ☠️ for Windows 7 🖥️ – Tips for Upgrading or Buying New

a carved figure with a walking staff walking on a beach with a roll of large clocks at the edge of the tide.

If you’re still running Windows 7, the End-of-Life (EOL) is January 14, 2020… less than 2-months from now, so if you haven’t thought about upgrading to a newer Operating System or purchasing a New Computer, the time is now. It is not a good idea to delay dealing with this past EOL with the vast number of exploits and vulnerabilities that are coming out on almost a daily basis. If you’re still on Windows XP and connected to the internet with it… that’s also just a bad, bad, bad idea. (shaking head 🤷)

 

Repeat, because it’s important: “It is not a good idea to delay dealing with this past EOL with the vast number of exploits and vulnerabilities that are coming out on almost a daily basis. If you’re still on Windows XP and connected to the internet with it… that’s also just a bad, bad, bad idea. (shaking head 🤷)”

 

Sadly, for the home consumer, upgrading or buying a Windows 10 system really are your only options. While Microsoft is offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for up to 3 years, there are limitations. Businesses with Volume License Agreements can purchase the ESU coverage on a per-device basis. Recently, Microsoft extended that option to small and midsize businesses through their Cloud Solution Provider program. This program is only available to those running Windows 7 Pro or higher. Windows 7 Home users do not qualify.

 

My Old Computer works fine, can I just upgrade it to Windows 10?

Windows 10 has added a lot of amazing features and capabilities, though with that comes more performance needs and some older systems simply aren’t up to the task or soon won’t be as more demanding updates come out.

A really old, broken computer in an alley with leaves on the ground

A good starting point for consideration is that if your system is 5 or more years old, it may not be worth (or even capable of) upgrading the operating system. If you purchased a major manufacturer computer (such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, …), you can also check the support website to see if there are driver and software support for Windows 10 and how recently an update has been released. We have seen systems with stated support for Windows 10, but have not received an update in several years. The two biggest issues with this are the power management system and BIOS/UEFI support. Incompatibility issues can range from poor performance to missing boot devices, and even to allowing too much power through the system and “frying” components.

Another thing to consider is cost. Upgrading a system requires purchasing a license. Windows 10 Home currently retails at $139.00 and Pro comes in at $199.99. Is your old system worth putting the money into upgrading the operating system for the remainder of its usable life? This doesn’t even factor in hardware upgrades such as RAM, hard drive/solid-state drive, video cards, … if needed. And if the upgrade task is beyond one’s technical prowess, then add on hiring someone to run the upgrade and updates for you (which a reasonable and reputable tech company is going to be charging between $50 to $100 per hour, and on average $65 per hour – To help consumers take the guesswork out of that and be able to budget, we offer these services at stated and fully-transparent flat rates based on the average estimated time it takes to do the job correctly and the cost for us to do business).

We’re not saying upgrading is a bad idea, just make sure you have looked at all the variables before deciding.

The other option is simply purchasing a new computer. With Black Friday just around the corner… many people may be tempted to take advantage of it to get a big discount on a new computer… they often are not worth it as they are normally vastly under-powered or low on features (even for a base user who just browses the internet and types documents). There is the rare exception where you can truly find a great deal on a good system, but they are few and far between, and you really need to check the specs of the system.

 

4-Big Tips from André when it comes to a new computer

a pile of computer parts, motherboards, circuit boards, cooling fan, and more

  • RAM: Minimum of 4 GB of RAM, though we would recommend 8 GB or more. Microsoft says a minimum of 1 GB for 32-bit, and 2 GB for 64-bit, though what we have seen is that’s pretty much, to put it bluntly, garbage… even for a base user.
  • Processor: avoid the Pentium Series processors (they are basically glorified cell phone processors). We recommend an Intel I-Series processor. With AMD processors, while we won’t say to avoid them, there are sometimes issues getting things to play well together, especially later in the life of the computer.
  • Storage: making sure you have enough storage is very important… and while solid-state drives have massively dropped in price in the last few months, sometimes upgrading the storage later is next to impossible as it is directly on the motherboard or a proprietary connector. An easy gauge of how much space you need is to look at the free space you currently have and subtract it from the total size of the drive.

Also, you need to find out will the new computer work with your existing hardware like monitor, printer, and other devices you likely don’t think much about. For example, your favorite monitor may need a connector type that is not on your new system, and some printers may not have drivers to work with Windows 10.

 

Getting Help and Guidance on a New Computer Purchase

Buying a new computer is one of the most stressful things a person will do, next to buying a house or a car. While many people will do lots of research, there’s a lot of information out there (do you seriously need a degree in computers before buying a computer?), and industry trends (like what laptops or desktops break down more frequently vs others) aren’t always talked about publicly.

Next, working with a sales rep at some of the big-box retailers might not be the right move for some people. For example, a few years ago one of our clients told us about their experience buying their last computer at a big-box retailer. This was a couple that had pretty basic needs, checking email, documents, spreadsheets… and they were sold a $2,000 gaming rig. While they were expecting to spend that kind of money on their new computer, it was way over-kill for what they needed and way overspent on something that they wouldn’t even get close to using its full functionality… ever.

This is why we came out with the Computer Purchasing Concierge Service. We felt that this older couple had been completely taken advantage of… and why… Because they could afford it? Because the sale person had a quota to fill? Because they didn’t know any better? Now recently this couple purchased a new computer through this service and spent just over $1,000 for the new laptop, including the full computer setup as well (which includes transferring files from one computer to the new one, taking out bloatware, and explaining how to use the new computer, what’s different, and so much more!). While yes, we do charge for this service (included in the purchase price of the computer) in our experience you’ll still end up saving money in the long, or even short, run.

 

by André Thomas, Lead Windows PC Therapist – “With over 30-years of experience in the computer field, I help to take the headache out of your computer ordeals.”

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