This week has come to an end: support for Windows 7 has been terminated by Microsoft. For older peripherals this may be an issue.
We wisely keep out of the discussion whether Windows 10 is better or worse than other systems. More than enough has already been written about this elsewhere. The fact is that support for Windows 7 really stopped this week. Doesn’t mean that your old Windows 7 computer won’t work anymore. But it does mean that you will never get a security update for it again. And that’s going to cause problems in the end, should you keep using 7.
And sometimes people want that. For example, because for a piece of hardware that is absolutely necessary for one thing or another, Windows 10-drivers have never appeared. Maybe there is a terribly beautiful piece of audio hardware that really and only under Windows 7 to bring to life.
Also, there are still people who swear by the ancient Media Center. Contrary to expectations, this section – a central hub for playing (and recording) video, TV, audio, (web)radio and more – never made the leap to 10. That was actually strange, because Media Center was big on the market by Microsoft. Not a crazy thought at a time when PCs were getting smaller and more powerful at the same time. By adding Media Center-compatible expansion cards (or USB devices) such as a TV card, satellite receiver, radio stick and so on, you could build a complete home entertainment center in no time. Practically at that time, the TV cards were equipped with hardware mpeg-encoders that could digitally store analogue images in high quality. It was therefore a fairly popular solution to give the computer a task in the living room. But then came the smart-tv. And again later devices like the Apple TV. Streaming is the magic word these days. Because Microsoft, for whatever reason, was no longer actively developing Media Center, it fell further and further behind and ended up as so many projects of the software giant: in silence. But if you love your Media Center installation, then you are definitely stuck with Windows 7.
Way with that PC!
Whatever the reason why you still want to continue using Windows 7: for security reasons, really look for an alternative. If you want to stay in the Windows ecosystem, Windows 10 is of course the most obvious choice. In addition, most high-end audio manufacturers have the software ready for their equipment – if necessary. Fortunately, modern network equipment (streamers, network players, all-in-ones, etc.) no longer require a program on the PC to operate. Everything runs either via a web interface or via an app on the smartphone or tablet (or both). A tablet is therefore – especially for home use – often a much more logical choice for the Windows 7 user when it comes to switching. Small, lightweight, compact, versatile and perfect for managing and streaming your music collection. Combine such a tablet with a NAS to store all your ‘local’ media and chances are you won’t remember that old Windows 7 PC after purchasing a tablet. And speaking of alternatives: there are plenty of alternatives for Media Center as well. For example Kodi, or go for a high-end stand-alone media player. Who wants a PC in their living room in the year 2020?
Finally: do you have to keep running a Windows 7 system? Then disconnect it from the internet and preferably from the entire home network. Use it only for that one task or in combination with that one device for which 7 is really needed and for nothing else. If you do need to go online from time to time, make sure you have a good AV package installed that includes at least a virus scanner and firewall.