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Greetings. Hope I'm in the right forum. I have a 3 year old Dell desktop running Windows 7 / SP1 with Malwarebytes Premium which performs flawlessly. I primarily use Firefox and Chrome for my browsers. I've become aware that Microsoft has set Jan 2020 for "end of life" as to security updates for this OS ..   I'm requesting input from the community as to whether I am now in a position where I must replace my computer with a Windows 10 (ugh) system or will I be reasonably safe using the system I have. I'm sure there are many others that are in this same situation and was wondering what the general consensus was on this matter. Many thanks in advance for your input ....

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You may stick with Windows 7 if you wish, however as time goes on more and more programs are going to abandon it.  Microsoft is pushing very hard to get both hardware and software vendors to abandon 7 and support 10 exclusively (both AMD and Intel have stopped supporting 7 with drivers for any modern hardware they make even though there are no major changes with regards to device driver functionality in 10 compared to 7) and once January of next year hits you can expect a lot more software vendors to drop 7 support.

I intend to keep running 7 for as long as I feel I can keep it secure, however the measures I take tend to be quite extreme so I don't expect everyone to do so.  For most users, moving on to a different operating system will be easier, it just all depends on what kind of system you have and what you use it for to determine what OS is best.  If privacy and security matter at all to you, then Windows 10 is a no-go and you should look into Linux.  If usability and professional media production are king then Mac is likely where you should be.  If you just browse the web, check email and like the convenience of a touch-friendly interface then you should probably be using a smart phone or tablet (likely loaded with Android or iOS).  The use case for Windows 10 as a secure operating system is hard to make because it has its security compromised deliberately in order to provide Microsoft with the same kind of absurd level of user data that the likes of Google and Facebook have from their users.  Weighed against 7 where your main concern would be whatever vulnerabilities (which likely have yet to be discovered even after all these years) may remain unpatched after January 2020 and, at least for now, you can use a modern browser that still receives updates/patches like anything based on Chromium (though I would not recommend Google Chrome itself if privacy is at all a concern for you) or Mozilla Firefox and keep some kind of active exploit protection on hand along with the usual recommendation for good browser plugins like uBlock Origin, Adlbock Plus, Ghostery, Disconnect, Privacy Badger, Noscript, Easy WebRTC Block, and of course the Malwarebytes Browser Extension Beta then you should be good for the foreseeable future as long as you are careful about what you download and run on your system (as you should be anyway regardless of what OS you're using) and a good HOSTS file to block bad sites, ads and trackers wouldn't hurt as well (something like HostsMan can come in quite handy for that), disabling things like remote desktop, remote registry, file and printer sharing, unnecessary services, internet protocols that aren't needed/used (basically anything other than IPV4 at this point; at least until IPV6 is widely adopted as a web standard) and use a good antivirus/anti-malware solution that receives regular daily or even more frequent definition updates and you should be OK, especially in a world where currently the most frequently targeted browser is Google Chrome and the most common type of threats are scams, ransomware and PUPs.  If the threat landscape changes dramatically in the coming year then you may need to reassess, but for now at least there is no great risk in running Windows 7 that I am aware of and given the massive shift towards mobile devices I don't expect that to change any time soon.

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