Support for Windows 7 came to an end today (14th January 2020) as Microsoft brings to an end production of security updates and patches to keep computers running this venerable old operating system safe. It seems a shame to say goodbye, as indeed it was when XP support was withdrawn but the truth of the matter is that Windows 7 is old and is costly to support given that Microsoft has two more recent Windows operating systems to keep running. It’s a bit like Ford still manufacturing parts for Escorts long after the end of production and when Ford are now producing the Focus. It’s just it doesn’t seem that long since Windows 7 launched and for many people Windows 7 is still perfectly good and does everything needed of it.
Windows 7 was launched in July 2009. Microsoft had a habit of producing alternate good and bad operating systems: Windows 95 (good) – Windows 98 (bad); Windows XP (great) – Windows Vista (ho hum); Windows 7 (phew!) – Windows 8/8.1 (oh no!). Windows 7 was the antithesis of the dreadful Vista and remained the preferred choice when the mess that was Windows 8 was launched. Windows 10 felt like an attempt to right the wrongs of Windows 8 but suffered from being (not unlike the recent spate of polls in the UK) yet another Windows operating system!
However, Windows 10 has steadily improved in the four years since it was first released and has included accessibility features that are of real benefit to users, having a reasonable built in magnifier, settings to change the cursor size and colour and font size, good high contrast themes, a narrator function and is quietly going about becoming a very good operating system for people living with sight loss.
Of course updating from Windows 7 to Windows 10 inevitably means buying a new computer and that inevitably means the not inconsiderable expense of replacing accessibility software. However, Dolphin’s latest incarnation of Guide – Guide Connect, is well worth trying out, even having an optional, remote doofer to navigate the menus, or a TV box version that – you guessed – plugs into the telly. Supernova magnification and speech software works well with Windows 10 and the latest release of JAWS now works with Chrome, meaning that you don’t have to work with the ancient Internet Explorer browser that no longer supports a large number of websites.
A key benefit of Windows 10 is that there are no plans for Windows 11! Windows 10 will just continue to evolve over updates. So, if you are running Windows 7, now is the time to start thinking about replacing that computer and getting something new.
For help and support with your I.T. contact our Head Office on 020 8423 5141.