Today is rather important for anybody that insists on running Windows 7 more than 10 years after its release.

As of 14th January 2020, Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7.

The crux of this is that any computers still running the operating system after this date will no longer receive crucial security updates. This leaves users vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals and general nastiness contained in malware, spyware and other nefarious wares.

In addition to no updates, Microsoft customer service will no longer be able to provide technical support for Windows 7.

It’s important to keep in mind that your computer will still work and can still be powered on and connected to the internet. However, the lack of security updates means you are putting yourself – and anybody else using that PC – at risk.

The advice being dispensed by Microsoft is simply to upgrade to Windows 10.

Upgrade time?

While you may not necessarily need to upgrade your PC in order to run Windows 10, that is entirely dependent on your PC’s specifications.

To find your system specs head to Control Panel and select System.

Windows 10 carries the following requirements:

  • Processor – 1GHz or faster
  • RAM – 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit)
  • Storage – 16GB (32-bit) 20GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics – DirectX 9 compatible or later, WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display – 800 x 600 or higher

We should state that this is the bare minimum required for Windows 10 and your experience may vary.

How to upgrade to Windows 10

In order to upgrade your PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10 you will need to purchase the operating system.

There is, however, another way that allows you to upgrade to Windows 10 for “free” so long as you have a genuine Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 license.

Heading to the Windows 10 download page you will see an option to “Create Windows 10 installation media”.

Download the tool and then open it. You should see an option to create installation media but you’ll want to select “Upgrade this PC now”.

From here you can select to start from scratch or keep your personal files and applications. The final step is to install Windows 10 and wait for that process to complete.

Once complete head to Settings, then select Update & Security and look for the sub-menu labelled Activation. You should see a message stating “Windows is activated with a digital license”.

Should you not see this message you will sadly need to purchase a Windows 10 license. The good news is that you can use Windows 10 without registering it until you get that license with a few caveats such as not being able to change your desktop wallpaper.

According to Forbes, you are able to use an older (and cheaper) Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 product key to activate Windows 10 provided that key has not been used before.

One final thing we should mention is that Windows 10 is tied to your hardware so as long as your hardware doesn’t change, you can reinstall Windows 10 as many times as you like and it will be activated upon your first boot.