Whether you’re using your IT systems for either domestic or business reasons, it’s important that you understand which operating system you are using and how it’s supported in order to ensure that you continue to use your device safely, securely and effectively.
Microsoft have developed a number of Windows operating systems over the years and have pioneered the path for IT use in both businesses and homes. Unfortunately this means that older ones often reach their end of life. In this article we look at what this means to you, as a user of the operating system and what you can do when your operating system does reach end of life.
What Is An Operating System?
An operating system is the base software which loads when you turn on a device and manages all other applications and programs on the device. For computers there are three main operating systems: Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and Linux.
What Is Software End Of Life?
Every so often, a piece of software will reach its end of life, usually due to a newer version being released. This means that the old software system will stop being supported and updates will stop being made. This allows the company supporting the software to concentrate on the newer and better version of the software and gives you an extra push to update to the latest version.
Windows Operating Systems End Of Life
Microsoft has an end of life for each of their Windows operating systems, luckily they publish when these are expected to happen allowing you to make informed decisions about which operating system to move to and allows you to plan for the future.
Here are the end of life dates for the most recent Windows operating systems:
- Windows 11 – October 14th 2025
- Windows 10 – October 14th 2025
- Windows 8.1 – January 10th 2023
- Windows 8 – January 12th 2016
- Windows 7 – January 14th 2020
Which Windows Operating System Am I Running?
Knowing when the different operating systems are reaching end of life doesn’t help if you don’t know which one you’re using! Luckily it’s easy enough to find out, following these few steps:
- Go to the main menu on your computer (This can be opened using the Windows key on your keyboard) and select “Settings”.
- This will give a list of options, the first being “System”, click on this.
- You will then be directed to the display settings, however on the left hand side there is another menu and at the bottom of this is an option for “About”. Click this to go to the details about your computer.
- Scroll down on this page and there’s a section called “Windows Specifications”. This gives you all the information about your operating system. The first part tells you the edition which is the part you need to know about to identify its end of life.
You should have now been able to find out which operating system you;re using and have a better idea of when it’s end of life is. If your operating system has reached or is coming up to its end of life, then you want to keep reading, we have much more information that will be useful to you!
Why It’s Important To Keep Your Windows Operating System Updated
When an operating system reaches end of life it means that no more updates will be made. This means that if there’s a security vulnerability that can be exploited, it’s unlikely to be fixed and this can make you a target for cybercriminals.
This opens you up to a whole host of various problems including potential hacking, malware, ransomware, trojans, viruses and more. This is far from ideal if you rely on the use of your device in your day to day life and could leave you with an usable piece of equipment as well as potential for things such as lost files or being locked out of your device by ransomware. It’s therefore important that you keep running an operating system that is supported and updated!
How To Update Or Upgrade
Luckily Microsoft makes it super easy for you to keep up to date on its supported software, often doing the updates without you actually realising! To see if you’re up to date can be done in a few simple steps:
- Open your system Settings from the main menu on your device.
- On the main settings screen there is an option for “Update & Security”, click on this.
- This takes you to a screen which will let you know if you’re up to date and the last time this was checked. If you’re not up to date it will give you an option to apply updates.
However, upgrading from one operating system to another can be a bit more of a challenge. Sometimes Microsoft will offer free updates when they first release a new operating system and walk you through this so you can do it yourself.
If this isn’t an option then it becomes more complex and you’ll need to look at getting a licence for the operating system and getting the files needed to install it. These are usually provided in either disk, USB or digital download formats. You will then need to run those to install the operating system.
If you’re not sure about upgrading yourself, then ITNetGeek is here to help. We have vast amounts of experience upgrading operating systems and will get you up and running in no time at all. Simply get in touch with us and we’ll walk you through the different options for your operating system upgrade.