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Important note: Windows 7 no longer protected

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 1/13/20

Windows 7 was released in October, 2009, and Tuesday ( Jan. 14, 2020) is the last day Microsoft will support it on computers in homes and small businesses. These computers won’t stop working, but they will no longer receive security or bug fixes. Thus, the computers with Windows 7 will be more vulnerable to viruses and hacking. Furthermore, third-party software like anti-viruses, browsers, and other programs may start ending support

in that the operating system as well.

It’s advisable by pretty much everyone — including me — to either upgrade to Windows 10 or buy a new computer running Windows 10 already.

Checking your current Windows version: If you aren’t sure of your Windows version, you can quickly check on your computer: click the Start Button in the lowerleft corner to bring up the Start Menu, look for “Computer” or “My Computer,” right-click whichever one you have, and then select “Properties.” If you don’t see “Computer” or “My Computer” on the Start Menu, you may have Windows 8, 8.1, or 10.

In those versions, you’d right-click the Start Button itself in lower-left corner and select “System.”

Once you see the System window pop-up, you’ll find your Windows version and edition near the top of that window if using Windows 7 (or older) or near the bottom if using Windows 8, 8.1, or 10.

If you still have Windows XP or Vista, I strongly recommend buying a new computer right away as support for those Windows versions ended years ago.

Upgrading or buying new?: If you do have Windows 7 still, then you can either upgrade your current computer or buy a new computer (brand new or refurbished). Upgrading depends upon the age of the computer, the specs (processor and memory), and the health of the hard drive. A computer tech like myself can give you feedback on these and provide a good recommendation.

If you do invest in upgrading your current system, I highly suggest replacing the hard drive with a newer and much faster drive: a solid state drive (SSD).

When shopping around for a computer you might find them as low as $200, but keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for. The cheaper the computer, generally means the slower the computer will be. Cheaper computers also usually offer less ports and are less likely to be upgradable in the future. A cheap computer (even though it’s new) may even be slower than your current computer.

I usually suggest budgeting for at least $500 to $700 for a new computer and about $150 additional if you need a new monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

If this is out of your price range, I suggest buying a good refurbished computer from a trusted source for $250 or more.

Staying with Windows 7: If you make the decision to stay with Windows 7 after Jan. 14, I highly suggest getting a professional check up at least yearly even if you don’t appear to have any issues. A tech can check things like hard drive health and security to better help protect your data and computer, plus perform a tune-up to possibly getting it running better.

Using the small local companies: When shopping around for a new computer, consider the small local computer shops and service companies. They might sell custom PCs and refurbished computers, both of which you won’t find at the big box stores. Customer service at smaller businesses can be superior as well.

No matter where you buy your computer, I also suggest getting professional help to transfer the data and programs over. If you don’t want to lug your computer into a shop, consider a company that provides on-site service where a tech comes to you and provides one-on-one help, sometimes the same price or cheaper than dropping it off at a shop.

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