Microsoft ended mainstream support for the operating system in 2015. If you don’t know what that means for you, it simply means they won’t be redesigning the interface (which you’re probably happy about) or adding new features. But it also means that they won’t be fixing any bugs for the next four years, unless it leads to serious security risks. In 2020 Microsoft will end extended support and until then you can still find PCs on the market that still have Windows 7 Professional, if that was something you used. Some articles may present the situation in a more dire light but you don’t need to panic. There’s still some time before the OS is completely dead. In that time, you can make the decision about whether to upgrade to Windows 10 or not. On the other hand, if you use Vista extended support will end in 2017.
Windows 7 is still widely popular even though it entered the market over eight years ago and is preferred over Windows 8; or 8.1 which didn’t gain traction until well over the year mark, yet still outperformed 8. Stocks dropped alarmingly when the new OS was introduced. With statistics like this it would’ve made little since for Microsoft to drop all support for 7 at once, a move that would not have made them any fans, if it didn’t isolate even more of their consumer base. But if you’d like to compare each for yourself, here are some facts:
- One of the immediate differences is the menu. 7 has the same pop-up menu as XP, whereas 8 has a full screen app launcher. It takes more getting used to because the desktop is still up, but you could find yourself bouncing back and forth between interfaces. Windows 8 hides menus and if you don’t know where they are, you could think those options no longer exist. By rolling your mouse over certain areas of the screen may reveal windows that you thought were closed. 8.1 and a few more setting tweaks will bring back more of the familiar desktop, while keeping the faster speeds and modified task manager.
- Windows 8 had a big focus on touchscreen functionality, and desktop options are buried deep but can be found under the properties menu. The average computer may not think to check there and that could be considered a flaw. Under the navigation tab is where you’ll find all the options to change the look of your desktop.
- There are third party options you can download that create a start button replacement. If you don’t want to take the risk with an unknown program, look for the “show the apps view automatically” option. This will bring up the list of any apps you have installed but won’t let you search for individual files or folders like the replacement programs.
- While Windows 8 has everything an average user may need, these programs are almost completely apps not proper software. If you want to cut these out then you’ll need to download them. For example, DVDs can’t just be popped into the drive and expect them to work. You’ll need to download a player if you want to watch movies on your computer. Once you have all the software you want downloaded don’t forget to set them as the default program.
1 has a shutdown option that allows you to turn off your computer without dragging the mouse into the corner and fighting with an annoying interface. Again, you’ll have to dig into submenus until you find what you’re looking for. If you have the replacement Start menu, the shutdown option will be at the bottom. You’ll also be able to press Alt-F4 to bring up the same menu.