Windows 7 official ends this week: what you need to do

Nothing lasts forever, whether good or bad. By Tuesday, one of Microsoft's less controversial Windows releases will finally be put to rest, for better or worse. Windows 7 support for everyone who didn't buy an extended support package (only available to enterprise customers) will officially end on Tuesday, January 14. And, of course, that means that anyone who wants to continue getting important security fixes and remain on the Windows platform will have to move to Windows 10 sooner rather than later.

You can still keep using your Windows 7 computer, naturally, as that will continue working up to the end of time. You just won't be getting any updates containing fixes to bugs or even important security patches, which practically means all Windows 7 computers starting Wednesday will be left exposed to all new potential exploits.

You have three paths moving forward and if you're a business that absolutely needs to remain on Windows 7 for as long as possible, there's an option to buy your way through extended support. It's expensive, of course, and you pay per device per year. And it won't last long either, just until you're made enough preparations to finally make the jump in 2023.

Not everyone fancies moving up to Windows 10 but the risk of an unprotected Windows outweighs that. Fortunately, there's still a way to get Windows 10 for free but you do have to work a bit for it. You'll need to go to Microsoft's Downloads page, get the Windows 10 installer, and create an installation media to upgrade your PC to Windows 10.

Some, however, may have been frightened off Windows 10 with all the news of problematic updates or have a passionate hatred for the direction that Microsoft has taken the operating system. Windows 7's retirement might be an opportunity for such users to venture outside of the Windows world and try out macOS or, if they're really adventurous enough, even Linux.