It’s winter…and cold…and snowy…the kind of weather that makes you want to stay inside and keep warm! So, I decided it was a good day to clean the pantry closet in my kitchen just to keep things more organized. Cereals on one shelf, canned goods on another, flour and sugar on a third, and so on.
All was going well, until I reached far into the back of that pantry and discovered the food purchases that I had long since forgotten. A bottle of salad dressing that expired in 2013. A few cans of soup that were meant for a day such as this; also sharing a date of expiration from 5 years ago. You may have experienced something similar at your own home. Things that have passed their intended life and need to be discarded rather than risk the consequences of choosing to put them into use beyond their lifespan.
That is true with a lot of things. Packaged food that expires, appliances that have been repaired one too many times and really need to be replaced, structural components of our homes that are not meant to last forever (although I have seen a few roofs in my day that were covered with a tarp to try to extend their life a little longer—never the best idea!!).
Well the same thing is true with the software on our computers! Even though we initially invested hundreds or in some cases thousands of dollars in that computer or software purchase in order to run our businesses or just surf the net at home, these things also have an expiration date, where they need to be updated and replaced.
I’m writing this article on the day after Windows 7 support from Microsoft has officially ended. Some of you reading this article are still using a Windows 7 computer and what happens when you push the “on” button? It starts…just as it has every day for the last 7-8 years!
Today it looks the same and everything seems to be working. So, what’s all the hype about? Well, something critical has changed in the background. Security support has ended. The protection that Microsoft has provided for your computer long past its warranty period has now been turned off. If you go on-line you are now much more open to hacking and theft of your personal information; placing yourself and your financial wellbeing at greater risk.
When I was growing up, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my grandparents. Those are memories that I greatly cherish. As people whose lives had been significantly impacted by the Great Depression, they instilled in us the importance of spending money wisely and using something to the fullest extent before it was discarded. That was good advice. It has often provided a safeguard against buying “stuff” that I didn’t actually need.
However, that advice doesn’t really apply to the realm of internet security in 2020. We have customers who take pride in the fact that their Windows XP computer is still working online (some of the time), even though it’s security support ended in 2014. They are committed to using it until it no longer works at all. And there are people who are presently convincing themselves they will do the same thing with their Windows 7 computers.
However, the world has changed. My grandparents used to leave their house unlocked because they knew it was safe. Today we need to take every precaution related to internet security so that our finances and our data and our personal lives are protected against those whose main purpose is to take what they have not worked for. There is hardly a day that passes when we don’t hear about another hacking scheme that was discovered somewhere in the world. Let’s do everything we can not to become one of those statistics!
So, our advice to you is to do an assessment of your computer’s software, just as I recently evaluated the items in my kitchen pantry.
If you are running a version of Windows that is no longer supported with Microsoft security updates, (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7), it is time to upgrade your computer.
If you purchased Microsoft Office in 2003, or 2007, 2010 or even 2013, and are still using that software version on your computer, we understand that you invested $150 in that software in anticipation of using it for a lifetime, but it’s security support has either ended or is close to coming to an end.
If you are running financial software (Quickbooks or Quicken) that is more than a few years old, it is time to consider an upgrade to a newer version.
If you haven’t checked your anti-virus installation recently, make sure it is still current and operational in protecting your computer.
And if all of this seems kind of overwhelming and you’re not even sure how to begin, please bring your computer into Computer Dynamics. We have been in business in St Cloud since 1996 helping businesses and home computer users with their technology needs.
My pantry is finally up to date! The items that I have there are all usable and ready to be enjoyed! It feels good! Let us help you do the same with your computers!