Microsoft wants everyone to upgrade to Windows 10 to take advantage of the regular update cycle. But what happens to an older version of Windows if you don't upgrade to Windows 10?
Your current system will continue to work for the time being, but may encounter problems over time. Let's look at what happens if you don't upgrade to Windows 10 to create a plan.
If you are not sure, WhatIsMyBrowser will tell you which version of Windows you are on.
If you have already upgraded to Windows 10
If you work on Windows 10, congratulations! You are already using the latest Microsoft operating system.
In contrast to previous versions, Windows 10 receives important function updates
The latest version of Windows 10 won't be the last
about twice a year (usually in May and November). This means that the operating system is constantly evolving, although it remains under the umbrella name Windows 10.
Even though you are using Windows 10, you should make sure you are using the latest version. Microsoft supports every major update to Windows 10 for 18 months. This means that you shouldn't stay on one version for too long.
Go to Settings> System> Info and check the execution under Windows specifications to see what you're doing. The version number corresponds to the year and month of the intended publication. hence the current at the time of writing 2004 is from April 2020.
If you are out of date for more than a year, go to Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update to install the latest version. You can also visit the Windows 10 download page to request the update.
Do I have to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10?
From 2020, Windows 8.1 will be the only version of Windows besides Windows 10 that Microsoft still supports. Mainstream support was discontinued in January 2018, but Windows 8.1 will be expanded through January 10, 2023. Windows 8.1 was not nearly as popular as Windows 7, but can still be used for a few years.
If you stay on Windows 8.1, you must upgrade before the end of its life to avoid using an unsafe operating system. Depending on how old your computer is, you may be able to update it directly to Windows 10. See instructions below.
Manufacturers no longer sell computers with Windows 8.1 pre-installed. So if for some reason you want to buy a new computer with Windows 8.1, you don't have many options other than buying used ones or installing them yourself.
Windows 8 users: Update now!
If you are still running Windows 8, you are using an unsupported operating system and must upgrade to Windows 8.1 as soon as possible to ensure security. Microsoft discontinued support for Windows 8 in January 2016, so security updates are no longer received.
Even if you don't want to upgrade to Windows 10 yet, the update from Windows 8 to 8.1 remains free. Run Windows Update to make sure you have the latest patches installed. Then open the Store app and search for the Update Windows Tile. Use this option to start downloading Windows 8.1.
Once you're using Windows 8.1, the section above applies to you. You can use Windows 8.1 through January 2023, but you should have an upgrade plan in mind beforehand.
As with any update, you should back up your data first so that you have a copy in case something goes wrong. For more help, visit Microsoft's Windows 8.1 update page.
Windows 7: what happens if I don't upgrade to Windows 10?
Unfortunately, Windows 7 support expired in January 2020. This means that anyone using Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates from Microsoft.
For the time being, this is not catastrophic. But at some point, popular software will no longer support Windows 7 (just like most apps will no longer run on Windows XP). If someone detects a major security hole in Windows 7, Microsoft cannot fix it.
If you are running Windows 7, you should try to upgrade as soon as possible. There is a relatively small chance that a home user will be working on an unsupported operating system, but you shouldn't be at risk for long periods of time.
We set your options for upgrading from Windows 7
4 best ways to upgrade from Windows 7 to 10 before 2020
So you know what's available. Follow the instructions in the "Upgrade to Windows 10" section if you think you can upgrade your current system to Windows 10.
Are you still using Windows Vista or XP?
Running a really old version of Windows? Windows Vista reached the end of extended support in April 2017, and Windows XP has not been supported since 2014. You will most likely not be able to directly upgrade to Windows 10 if you still have a Vista or XP system.
If your computer is so old, it is probably time to replace it. Consider buying a new laptop or desktop – or build your own PC
How to build your own PC
when you are ready. You can find affordable desktops and laptops in stores and on Amazon with Windows 10.
How to upgrade to Windows 10
If you have a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 system with a real product key, you can easily upgrade to Windows 10. While Microsoft announced a free upgrade to Windows 10 that supposedly ended in 2016, this method will still work in 2020.
To upgrade your current computer to Windows 10, visit Microsoft's Windows 10 download page and click Download the tool now. This will download the media creation tool. Open it and choose Update this PC now to start installing Windows 10.
If you want to upgrade multiple systems to Windows 10, choose Create installation media instead. This will guide you through creating a bootable installer so you can install Windows 10 from a USB drive
How to install Windows 10 from a bootable USB drive
After installation, complete the installation process for Windows 10 and Windows will not ask for a license key. When everything is ready, go to Settings> Update & Security> Activation and it shows that you are activated.
You should not need the product key from your current Windows installation. If you have it and it fails for some reason, you can enter it to activate Windows 10.
Obtaining a Windows 10 license key
If you don't have a valid license key on your current computer, you can still install Windows 10 on this device using the download tool. We have shown different ways you can get Windows 10 for free or cheap
How to get Windows 10 for free or cheap
Check them to see if they're right for you.
As a last resort, Windows 10 works fine without activation, aside from limiting personalization options and displaying a watermark in the corner of the screen.
If you buy a computer with Windows 10 off the shelf, it will of course already be activated.
What if I don't upgrade to Windows 10?
Now you know what happens if you don't upgrade to Windows 10. Finally, all versions have reached the end of the support date and are out of date. If you're using an old version of Windows, you may be able to upgrade using the methods above, but may also need to buy a new computer if your computer is quite old.
However, once you're using Windows 10, you're using a modern operating system that regularly receives security and feature updates. For guidance, see our Windows 10 Settings Guide
The Windows 10 Settings Guide: Do anything and everything
. It's not a bad idea to go through the steps you should take before using a new computer.
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