954-434-1968 brian@brianhaines.com

Oh, the hysteria!

I don’t want to go as far as to say that Windows 7 is perfectly safe to use, and as a rule, people really should use computers, operating systems and software that are as up to date as possible, but the hysteria that Microsoft has been able to project, with many news outlets and mainstream Websites disseminating the information? PUH-LEASE!

The thing is that Windows 7 will continue to work today and tomorrow and will probably only be the same level of security risk that it has been up until now. Most users still using Windows 7 probably purchased their computers 5 or more years ago. Their useful life is near and if these users are more comfortable pushing that sooner because of these ominous warnings, that is understandable. 

My guess is that most users on Windows 7 are probably using other outdated software along with expired or ineffective anti-virus or with their “C” drive shared on the local network and a slew of plugins in their browser that are exposing all kinds of sensitive information to the websites they visit. Your operating system isn’t the problem. 

For those of you who take personal computing seriously and keep an active anti-virus subscription, run Malware protection and regularly check on the health of your browser? You are probably also aware that the National Security Administration just recently notified Microsoft of a major security flaw in Windows 10 this week. Feel safer about upgrading, or replacing your hardware with something with Windows 10?

There is an important difference in that Windows 10 will have a patch released to fix the flaw. What would happen if such a flaw was found in Windows 7? It would get patched also. 

Despite the fact that Microsoft says Windows 7 will receive no new security patches, we know that for years after it said the same of Windows Vista and Windows XP they continued to provide security patches when the problems were pretty severe. There is really no reason to believe that Microsoft won’t do the same with Windows 7. 

What do I run on all of my computers? Windows 10.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I like and prefer Windows 10 and I use it on all of my computers. Okay, I have a few Linux machines and two netbooks that run Windows 7 and Windows 8, but I use Windows 10 on all of the important computers that I own personally. 

I keep my computers up to date. It is easy for me to do because I have worked in the industry for decades. The thing is that if you have a computer still running Windows 7 there is probably a good reason for it. 

Some users have software that might not run on Windows 10. Some older versions of QuickBooks Enterprise will work if upgraded to Windows 10, but if you buy a new computer with Windows 10 the installer will not work so you won’t be able to install it. Now, you are shelling out $5000 or more on a new QuickBooks version. 

Maybe you purchased your computer while the verdict was still out on Windows 10 and the computer may even have a Windows 10 license even though Windows 7 is installed. Still, that is probably near the 5-year mark. Few people should upgrade. It is likely time for a new computer. 

The real point of this post is to reassure you that YOU DON’T NEED TO PANIC!

Your computer will continue to function. You are not in imminent danger. Make thoughtful decisions about your hardware and software. Don’t believe the hysteria.