You probably heard that Microsoft officially stopped support for Windows 7 on Jan. 14th 2020. If you are running the popular operating system, your computer still functions, but Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for any issues, software updates, or security updates or fixes.
“While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware,” Microsoft says.
In light of that security warning, you might be wondering what happened with Windows 7, what will happen to your antivirus, if Avast still works, and what you have to do. We can explain the big picture, and answer more questions below.
Yes, we have you covered and we will fully support Avast antivirus products on Windows 7.
“Worldwide, roughly 26% of PC users are still running Windows 7, the operating system (OS) that as of January 14 will no longer receive technical support in the form of updates and patches from Microsoft,” says Martin Zima, Avast senior product manager for protection products.
“According to our own research, more than a third of our PC customers have Windows 7 installed, which is largely due to ongoing preference for the product versus newer versions.”
Zima said ending technical support for Windows 7 leaves the machines on which it’s installed vulnerable to cyberattacks that seek to exploit unpatched flaws. “In the interest of our users’ security and privacy, Avast will continue to provide virus definition updates for Windows 7 for those who are unable or do not wish to make the switch to a newer version of Windows.”
How long will Avast continue support for Windows 7? For at least two years. So far we don’t foresee a speedy increase in the migration of users to the newer Windows versions, and haven’t set any hard deadline for our support.
What will happen if I purchase an Avast Premium Security license and decide to change my OS later?
Your questions answered
What happened with Windows 7?
The Operating system Windows 7 was launched in July 2009 and became hugely popular. Maintaining an operating system is difficult and costly, and Microsoft prefers to focus on its latest OS, Windows 10. Thus, like any other OS, Windows 7 had its lifespan, and in January 2015 Microsoft ended mainstream support for it. That meant that there were no improvements or new features added, but it was patched for vulnerabilities and fixed for bugs, remaining a safe operating system. In January 2020, Windows ended this support as well.
Does Avast’s protection of my device running Windows 7 change?
Your Avast protection doesn’t change, whether you are using Avast Free Antivirus or Premium Security. Windows 7 users will still benefit from our most up-to-date protection against viruses, malware, and other threats – but please be aware that the risk of using an unsupported operating system does increase over time.
What does it mean that Avast will continue to provide virus definition updates and product updates for Windows 7?
It means that with product updates you will receive the latest version of Avast and all the new features with every release, while at the same time virus definition updates help to secure you from the latest malware and security threats. By default, Avast Antivirus is set to update the virus definitions and application automatically whenever a new version is available. We strongly recommend that you keep automatic updates enabled.
Do I have to do anything to keep my device protected?
The main risk of using unsupported software, including operating systems, is that it’s open to potential vulnerabilities and malware that might exploit them. Usually, when there’s a vulnerability found, Windows releases a patch (you might remember Bluekeep), it’s not going to be the case for Windows 7 anymore.
Second, the end of support for an operating system means that other software and hardware companies at some point will stop supporting it with their own programs/hardware. It won’t happen overnight – don’t worry. Google announced that it will continue supporting its Chrome browser on Windows 7 for at least 18 months.
What it all means to you
- Using reliable antivirus, such as Avast Free Antivirus or Premium Security, becomes even more critical. (If you’re not an Avast user, you can choose the right product for yourself here.)
- Keep all your software updated. (Here’s how.) For your Avast product we recommend keeping automatic updates enabled. And Premium Security can help you update your programs automatically.
- Use a firewall – it helps to prevent hackers from breaking into your computer. Avast Premium Security includes a firewall.
- Find alternatives to the built-in software. Microsoft will not roll out updates for it as well. These include applications such as browsers (Internet Explorer), and media player (Windows Media Player).
- Run regular scans.
- Back up your important data regularly.
- Be careful with downloading files from the Internet and email. If you’re unsure about some files, run them in the safe environment, e.g. Sandbox.
- If your computer is compatible (or if you’re planning on getting a new one), you can go ahead and upgrade to Windows 10, which is fully supported by Microsoft.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog | Avast EN authored by Avast Blog. Read the original post at: https://blog.avast.com/avast-still-supports-windows-7