January 2020: Windows 7 causes problems? Sure - it died!

Everyone uses computers, but very few are interested in them. Surfing, watching videos, photo stuff, chatting on Facebook, chatting on Twitter and maybe a few letters for the insurance company - the is the computer world for most. And that's why a lot of you regular users are going through this right now Warning messages and non-working updates and who knows what else to wonder. What happened? What's next? A little help for people who are not interested in Windows, have no idea about computers and if you have any problems, please call the grandchildren, children or the admin from work ;)

Windows 7 is history

Windows is that Operating system Your computer and was probably pre-installed when you bought it - just like Android is usually pre-installed on smartphones. With the operating system, it is only possible to do anything with the hardware, i.e. the metal, the plastic, the cables and circuit boards. Without it, a computer would be useless and dead, whether it was on or off.

The probability is very very high that on your computer a Windows version 7 runs. It's been there since 2009 and the successor Windows 8 never really caught on. A version 9 never existed. From January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will no longer be supported by the manufacturer Microsoft, i.e. there will be no more updates. However, such updates are important to ensure the security of the system. Of course, updates often bring new functions, but you can usually do without them. However, closing security gaps is essential. And even the best operating system will always have such gaps and get new gaps.

This has nothing to do with a bad product! 10 years is just one in the world of technology insane long time. New techniques, new requirements, new problems, new methods of attack arise – and even if they don't: The Windows code is so gigantic that it is practically impossible to produce it without errors, let alone to keep it.

This means in practice: For private users, Windows 7 is just a zombie and should be redeemed quickly. Otherwise there is a risk Victim of any kind of (cyber) attack. Someone could steal your data, misuse your computer or lock it up completely and only release it again for a ransom. So: away with it.

Windows 10 as successor

The successor is called Windows 10 and one thing is clear: You probably don't want to deal with it and you shouldn't like changes either. Because if you haven't noticed much of all this so far, you should use a computer according to the motto: It does what it is supposed to do, why change anything? It's understandable why Microsoft continues to provide corporate customers with the appropriate contracts with updates for Windows 7 - for the average consumer this isn't an alternative (even if there are probably some tinkering solutions that are only interesting for die-hard PC freaks).

However, there is for you good news: The transition to Windows 10 is free, fairly simple, all data stays where it is and 90+ percent of all programs run the same as before. We'll show you how it's done here Step by step.

win7 vs win10
Windows 10 and 7 - each as classic as possible - Yeii!

You will have to get used to it a bit at first, some things look different, there are a few (few, small) new functions and details here and there are simply implemented differently. On the whole, Win 10 works just like Win 7 - you don't have to read whole books first.

For starters, you could the biggest differences look, we have more reading material for Windows 10 newcomers here.

Which problems?

You will most likely have problems with the connected hardware and exotic programs to have. With hardware it is due to so-called drivers: Drivers are software products that enable communication between the device (printer, mouse, microphone, etc.) and Windows. And since drivers are of course operating system-specific, Windows 10 needs different drivers than Windows 7. Fortunately, almost all standard devices and drivers are automatically updated or converted when you switch to Win 10. But if one device no longer works then you may have to install the driver manually. In principle, however, this is also quite trivial:

Just enter the name of the non-functioning device including the keywords Windows 10 and driver in the Google search, for example HP Printer 1234XY Driver Windows 10 - as a rule, you will find a manufacturer link directly, where you can download the driver and then like any other program to install can.

Also Program can fail in individual cases, this can happen in particular with smaller manufacturers of special software. Here, too, an automatic update mechanism usually takes effect. If not: Just look for a suitable Windows 10 version on the manufacturer's website. But sometimes that doesn't work and a program runs only under Win 7. But if you really need this program, you can virtual machine use: This is a virtual computer that is completely replicated on your desktop. You could run Windows 7 with the software on it. but Attention: The virtual machine should then of course not be connected to the Internet - then it is not a problem if Windows is outdated.

Alternative: Linux!

You have to get away from Windows 7, but not necessarily towards Windows 10. If you don't constantly play the latest video games, you can also switch to a Linux distribution. There are many variants of Linux, which are called distributions – so there is not “one” Linux, not one look and not one operating concept. However, all Linuxes (with a few professional exceptions) are available free of charge, faster and more secure than Windows and not more complicated to use. Well, the change in operation is of course much greater than when you switched to Windows 10. But especially for everyone who basically only Office, browser, email, photos, films and social media use, Linuxes such as Ubuntu or Mint are great alternatives - because all these programs and applications are no different from the use under Windows.

mint cinnamon
Mint with Cinnamon desktop – my tip for the average Joe.

Nevertheless, a switch to Linux with extra effort connected than on Windows 10. If you want to deal with the computer as little as possible, you should probably stay with Windows. Anyone who is willing to spend a weekend dealing with the topic will get more security, better performance, a universe in which almost everything is available free of charge and a permanent solution with which one does not have to worry about Ubuntu, Mint & Co must bind the Microsoft group.

We have a lot here Linux article and ask here 32 different distributions. Tip: (Almost?) all Linuxes are available as so-called Live systems: This allows you to start the computer from a CD-ROM or a USB data carrier and try out the distribution without installing anything on the computer - this has absolutely no effect on Windows 7 on the device.

Do not worry ;)

Probably the most important tip for everyone who is just annoyed because they don't feel like switching, working with Windows or a new version: It's not all that wild. The upgrade is limited to a few clicks and two or three hours of patience. Problems rarely arise, only a few driver and software updates might still require your clicks. And getting used to it is damn fast - and if you absolutely don't want to, the old look and feel from the Windows 98 days (!) can be reconstructed, as you can see here.

Of course, this is not a license to be carefree: backups! For heaven's sake, back up the most important files, passwords and other data beforehand - extensive upgrades can discord shut down the whole system. It's just very, very unlikely here...

Mirco Lang

Freelance journalist, Sauerland exile, (fairly old) skateboarder, graduate computer scientist, retail salesman, open source nerd, Checkmk handbook writer. Ex-Saturn'ler, Ex-Data-Becker'ler, Ex-BSI'ler. First contact with computers: ca. 1982 - a friend's big brother's C64. If you want to read more about open source, Linux and craft stuff and support Tutonaut here: About Coffee sponsorship via Paypal.I'm always happy. In advance: Thank you! Do not miss: and New: Mastodon


  1. Because windows7 is dead...
    Yes, undisputedly, end of life sounds terrible at first, but nothing more.
    I still have Win7 running on three computers, Home, Professional and Ultimate.
    Despite the whole spectacle of the end of support, all three Win7 BS have been running since 2012 in 2023
    like clockwork, without having to be reinstalled even once….
    …. and what about the oh dear, oh so terrible security gaps because it has been for Win7 since January 2020
    there are no more updates... ?
    It should be said... They've actually always existed, always will, and all subsequent ones too
    Operating systems will not be spared. Folks, that's called customer loyalty - and even easier for the rest - corporate POLICY. Have fun messing around with Windows 10 11 etc. because there are completely different security gaps already implemented when you buy it, with Win11 being the absolute highlight here. There will always be those who have to seek salvation in everything new and sacrifice all faith for it, even if they later realize that with every new Microsoft BS variant we are losing more and more of its former manageable functionality and ingenious interface handling now hopelessly removed... all you can say is BRAVO! BRAVO!
    On the other hand, WE are talking about the energy transition, electric cars instead of combustion engines, and rubbing our hands in winter instead of
    heat, from endless amounts of plastic waste and electronic waste but no one, NO ONE is interested in the fact
    that 90% of all computers produced are disposed of easily 10 years before their final expiry date. The average usage time for a laptop, for example, is just 9 months and for a tablet or smartphone just one year.

    To ensure that it stays that way, you consciously leave it at regular intervals
    The operating system dies by giving it an End of Life stamp.
    What waste, foolishness and stupidity
    despite continued full functionality...

  2. Windows 7 is the best operating system ever. I switched to Win 10 and was really annoyed. Then I installed a Win7 emulation for 10, and my old sweetheart completely broke down. If a new operating system comes out with an interface like Win7, I'll be happy to grab it. But I simply refuse to have someone take my usual tools that I can work with fluently away from me and instead throw some stupid, colorful, wayward play stuff in front of me. I'm old, I don't have time to waste. Imagine someone forbidding you a knife and fork and demanding that you eat everything with chopsticks from the start. Would anyone be annoyed? I think so.

    1. I eat pretty much everything that can be eaten with chopsticks with chopsticks, but at the latest with a schnitzel it would probably be a bit ... well, unaesthetic. I was also massively annoyed by the Windows 10 interface at first, but with a little tinkering the Explorer looks almost as nice and gray as in Windows 98, of course without a ribbon and with a normal file menu. And instead of the old tiles, there is a normal Windows 7-style start menu again. But unfortunately there are also many technical faux pas in Windows 10, which unfortunately cannot be ironed out so easily. For my part, I fear that it will get even worse in the future. Just think of the many Android variants on smartphones that users like to "bless" with any kind of changes from one day to the next.

      Since I praise my favorite combination for PCs: Debian as the operating system with LXDE as the desktop environment - the combination has only changed under the surface since 2008 and will probably create a few more years. But of course that wouldn't just be chopsticks versus fork, but rather bourgeois versus molecular gastronomy. And if you are still dependent on certain programs, like design standards too, such a switch would become increasingly annoying.

      Since I can't completely get rid of Windows either, I have set my Windows 10 to be as classic as possible: classic start menu, classic Windows Explorer, simple theme, tidy taskbar and a few other little things. How to get a classic menu described to Boris I got the rest in one some time ago upgrade item summarized (under "Optics, Themes, Design). Since the Windows 7 standard was too colorful for me personally compared to its predecessors, it looks more like Win 98 to me:

      Windows 10 in the ancient look

  3. I am a huge basketball fan and owe this to a PC game that no longer runs on Windows 10. When I recently brought my laptop in for repairs after it was barely working, they not only implanted a new hard drive, but also installed Windows 10 (without ever asking for that kind of performance). Since this basketball game (NBA Live 2003) is sacred to me, I bought Windows 7 as an ISO file from Amazon and burned it onto a CD. I now have Windows 7 again, but with some (hardware) problems, e.g. no internet access (neither my router nor other internet sources are found/displayed) and my graphics card is not recognized (so I can not only forget my favorite game but all the others also, I can't even use an animated screensaver..). Furthermore, one of the 3 USB ports doesn't work anymore - and these are just the things I've noticed so far.. I'm also unsure whether I should now activate the license key because "there are still 10 days left for the Activation" but I can't do much with Windows as it is now and I don't know if the license key will become invalid if I ever want to reinstall Windows? At the beginning of the Windows installation you had to choose between "with all updates (recommended)" or "without updates" - since there is an update which affects the copy protection of some older games (which affects mine), I thought to myself, I do it without updates, or get the necessary ones manually later (I've done it in the meantime), but probably. I should have installed it with updates - is that why? What can I do? Of course there are no more updates for Windows 7, but that only reduces security - shouldn't my internet and all my hardware still work? I've tried everything to be able to play my game again - from virtual machines to buying Windows 7 to countless Google searches.. The shop where I had my laptop repaired is closed due to Corona, which I can go to so I don't either. It would be great if someone could help me! LG

    1. If Windows 7 starts to go haywire (like me), then do as I do: Download and install the Win 7 SP1 update package of all previous updates from "WinFuture". It takes a while, but the box is working again and my banking program (StarMoney) is running as usual.

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