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Windows 7 is defunct. Now what?

How to stay secure while transitioning away from old software.

Earlier this year Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 for good. But what exactly does that mean? In a nutshell, Microsoft isn’t making any more updates or security patches for the operating system. This likely doesn’t mean your computer will stop working if you are running Windows 7, but it does mean a software upgrade may be in your future. 

Netmarketshare estimates 39% of all computers are using Windows 7 which could spell trouble for all those users. Anyone running this operating system should consider upgrading to something newer before the unsupported software becomes a problem. However, it should be noted that transitioning to new software and devices has its own set of security threats—read on to learn how you can keep your data safe through the process.

Maintain your antivirus software.

Microsoft isn’t providing any security updates or patches for Windows 7 anymore, so your computer will become more vulnerable to viruses the longer you wait to upgrade. And now that hackers know Microsoft won’t protect Windows 7 devices from attacks, computers with this operating system will become an easy target for new viruses and malware.

The good news: Most major antivirus software providers are still creating systems for Windows 7. Reach out to Symantec or NortonLifeLock to see how they can protect your computer as you get ready to transition from Windows 7.

Clear out unnecessary files.

Removing unneeded files and applications from your computer can lower the chances of a data breach. Start by uninstalling applications you haven’t used in a while; then move on to your data and delete anything not worth saving.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Just because you deleted a file doesn’t mean it’s gone. Consider taking an extra step and using a Windows feature like Eraser or CCleaner to overwrite your deleted files. The more peace of mind you can give yourself the better. Once it’s time to upgrade the device work with an accredited and reputable vendor to recycle your electronics and securely destroy your hard drives to ensure your files aren’t ever compromised.

Get a quality VPN.

Have computer, will travel.  Many of the computers we use every day are portable. If you find yourself on the move with a device using Windows 7—it’s a good idea to protect yourself with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN creates a barrier between your device and the websites you visit. For computers running Windows 7, a VPN will keep your data encrypted until you make the switch to a more secure operating system.

The safest route for Windows 7 users is to upgrade their software ASAP, but in the meantime, these security practices can keep you safer. Contact DataShield to learn more about data security and secure data destruction.


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