Desktop Users! One Out of Five of You is Running on An Insecure, Unsupported Operating System: Cybersecurity Trends

OK, maybe a PC with Windows 7 isn’t as old as the picture above, but it could seem that way.

If you’re reading this blog post on your desktop system (i.e., any computer using a desktop operating system, like PCs and Macs), chances are you’re doing so on a computer with a Windows 10 operating system.  But one out of five of you is reading this blog post on an 11-year-old operating system that is not secure, not supported, and much more subject to cybersecurity issues.

In Bleeping Computer (Windows 7 won’t die, still second most popular operating system, by Mayank Parmar), the author relayed a report from the data analysts firm NetMarketShare that revealed that Windows 10 has seen another uptake in users and it went up to 64.04% from 61.26% last month.  What’s the second most popular operating system out there?  If you said any version of Mac OS, you’re wrong, it’s actually Windows 7 – by more than a factor of four over the most used Mac OS version.

According to NetMarketShare, Windows 7 saw a drop from 22.77% to 20.41% the previous month, but that still dwarfs Mac OS S 10.15, which also dropped slightly from 5.11% to 4.88%.

For the 20-plus percentage of you that remain on Windows 7, here’s why that could be a problem:

If you’re not concerned about that, feel free to check out my blog post from yesterday with links to some startling cybersecurity stats.

Here’s the good news – you can still upgrade your Windows 7 PC to Windows 10 – for FREE.  As Bleeping Computer tells you in this article (also by Mayank Parmar), while a promotion that allowed Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free ended in 2017, but a method still exists to upgrade older computers to Windows 10 for free.  Microsoft has quietly turned a blind eye to the fact that you can use the Media Creation Tool to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

When upgrading a Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computer with the Media Creation Tool, your older license will be converted to a Windows 10 digital license tied to that device.  After upgrading, this digital license allows you to perform a clean install of Windows 10 on the device, continue upgrading to newer versions of Windows 10, and potentially get a free upgrade to future versions of Windows.

And I know it works – because I did it myself.  When I started my new business earlier this year, I had to manage it earlier this year for nearly the first seven months on a nine-year-old Dell laptop that I bought at an Estate sale for $50.  What can I say, when you start a new business, you have no choice but to keep expenses low!  That laptop had Windows 7 on it (and a full install of Microsoft Office, albeit Office 2010!) and I originally bought it for the kids to use, but even they rejected it because it was a Windows 7 machine (that should tell you something). 

When I was thrust into a new business, that old PC suddenly became my lifeline to set up a WordPress account, create a new blog site, write all of my blog posts, conduct all of my meetings via Zoom and other web meeting platforms, etc.  Of course, I upgraded to Windows 10 as soon as I could – encountered a couple of issues getting the upgrade completed, which are addressed in that second Bleeping Computer article linked above – but successfully completed it and kept on working with that old laptop.  I only finally replaced it last week when I (finally) bought a new updated laptop.

Given the cybersecurity challenges this year and the importance of securing your working environment, if you’re still using a PC with Windows 7 on it, you need to upgrade it ASAP.  Otherwise, the term “bleeping computer” may take on a different connotation entirely!

So, what do you think?  Are you still running Windows 7 on your PC?  If you are, I know you won’t answer that question truthfully!  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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