By Dan Ayars, Business Development Manager, TechSolutions, Inc.
Microsoft has announced that it is ending support for Windows 8 (not Windows 8.1 … just 8) and Internet Explorer versions 8, 9 and 10. This is significant since people who continue to use that software will become increasing vulnerable to security threats. This is because Microsoft will no longer be providing patches, or fixes, for the shortcomings of those software titles. So let’s take a quick look and cover what you need to know.
There is no need to read any further if you are not using any of this software unless you want to make the people you know and love aware of what is happening. If you use a computer running Windows 8.1, you will still receive support from Microsoft until 2023. In a similar vein, support for Windows Vista ends in April of 2017 and Windows 7 support ends in 2020.
If you are not sure which version of software you are running, let’s determine that first. To figure out your version of Windows, click this link: Which Windows operating system am I running? Under the title of the article, it will tell you which operating system the PC you’re currently using is running. The article also provides instructions to manually determine which operating system you have. For Internet Explorer, open up the browser, click the Help menu located on the Menu bar. Then click on About Internet Explorer and a box will pop up telling the version of Internet Explorer that you are running. If you do not see your Menu bar at the top of your screen (the one with File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools, and Help), simply press your ALT key one time and it should appear.
Now that we have determined what versions of software you are using, let’s go ahead and discuss how to address each one. And before going any further, business users should not start to make changes without clearing it with the person in charge of IT. Windows 8 users have three options. Hold tight, upgrade to Windows 8.1 or upgrade to Windows 10. If you elect to hold tight, then the last round of updates Microsoft issued was on January 12. No further updates will be released after that so over the coming months you will become more exposed to outside threats.
If you elect to upgrade to 8.1, then you’ll need to go to the Windows Store at the mall to get that done because that’s the only option that Microsoft offers. However that isn’t a recommended strategy because you really shouldn’t be driving down to the Microsoft Store and instead you should be upgrading to Windows 10. Microsoft has been pushing users to upgrade to Windows 10 for months now. Along with the constant reminders and dialog boxes you see regarding upgrading to 10, they are enticing people to switch by offering a free, no-strings-attached upgrade. Besides, Windows 10 has been very well received and really is what Windows 8 should have been in the first place, because Microsoft has addressed most of the complaints people had about Windows 8.
Windows 7 users also have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 as long have upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 7 SP1. If your computer is set to automatically update or you manually keep it updated you should already be running Windows 7 SP1. I would confirm it though by checking it as outlined above. If you are not keeping your computer updated shame on you. Your operating system is not running at peak performance and even worse, you’ve increased your risk to outside attack. We’re not talking about changing your own oil or staining the deck. Just a few clicks and you can get and keep your computer up-to-date.
Just like Windows 8, Microsoft has ended support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 as of January 12, leaving Internet Explorer 11 as the only supported version of the browser. IE 11 will be the last version of IE ever created because Microsoft has developed its new browser named Edge as Internet Explorer’s replacement. For users of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 you already have Internet Explorer 11 installed, so you are good-to-go. For Windows 7 users, you can go to this link and download Internet Explorer 11: IE11 for W7. Windows Vista users are stuck with Internet Explorer 9 because Microsoft doesn’t support an upgrade to Internet Explorer 10 or 11. If you run Windows Vista, your best bet is to switch browsers and start using either Firefox or Chrome .
If you have one of these outdated software versions, I strongly suggest you don’t put this off but instead go ahead and take the time to address this. If you have any questions about the article or run into any problems drop me an email or give me a call. I’ll be glad to answer your questions and get you pointed in the right direction.