Still on Windows 7? Time to move on to Windows 10

If your Brown or personal computer is still using Windows 7 as its operating system, it is finally time to replace or upgrade it.

Windows 7 is now at end-of-life from Microsoft, and no further updates will be released after January. New vulnerabilities are found quite often, so if you keep running Windows 7, then your own personal files and information (as well as any Brown information that you access from the machine) will be exposed to serious risk of compromise. Furthermore, your computer will be a prime target for entry and attack of any neighboring computers on the same network, whether at Brown or at home.

You can tell if you still have Windows 7 by the look of the Start button at the bottom-left corner of your screen.

This Start button indicates you have Windows 7:


And this is the Start button in Windows 10:

Windows 10 does have an updated look and feel, but it keeps all of the main functionality of Windows 7 intact. We have found that most people get used to it quite quickly.

What if I still have Windows 7 on my Brown computer?

If your Brown-owned computer is still running Windows 7, please speak with your IT staff about upgrading your operating system to Windows 10. CIS is providing advice to IT staff about the update process, to help move Brown to modern and secure versions of Windows.

Your IT staff will back up your data, then perform a “clean slate” installation of Windows 10.  This will give you the best experience and long-term stability for the new operating system.  Your IT staff will then reload your files and install any specialty software you need.

In a small number of specialized cases (usually related to research equipment), a few areas may require continued use of a Windows 7 computer after January. We will provide IT support staff with a way to isolate such computers off the general network, and limit them to only their critical functions, before the support deadline.

If you have any questions or want a deeper consultation, please reach out to your IT support staff, or submit a help request to the IT Service Center. We're happy to help.

What if I have Windows 7 on my personal PC?

Microsoft no longer offers free upgrades to Windows 10 from Windows 7, as their last free upgrades ended in July 2016. We recommend considering a purchase of a new computer, which will come with Windows 10 already. For personal purchases, you may want to shop at the Brown Bookstore, who sells Lenovo and Microsoft Surface PCs at the Bookstore Technology Center.

If you want to try to upgrade to Windows 10 on your existing Windows 7 computer, you will need a licensed copy of the Windows 10 operating system for your own use. Students can get a free copy of Windows 10 for Education, and faculty/staff can buy it for $14.99, at our onthehub partner purchase site, and there are installation instructions at the onthehub help site. Microsoft also has more details on their Upgrade FAQ

How soon will I have to upgrade like this again?

The good news is that once you're using Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to update it into the future on supported hardware, like any other modern operating system. You'll be set for quite some time.

As always, if you have questions about Windows 7, Windows 10, or anything else about IT at Brown, reach out anytime to your IT support staff or the IT Service Center. We're at your service!


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