Microsoft has previously experimented with pop-up notifications across Windows 10 – tips to push users to OneDrive, for example. But nothing was worse than the infamous ‘click the X’ pop-up that encouraged users to upgrade to Windows 10, and essentially tricked users into doing so. Users were outraged. (Microsoft later eliminated the pop-up, but the damage had already been done.)
By now, Microsoft’s position should be clear: when Windows 7 officially exits support on 14 January 2020, that PC will be at a greater risk of viruses and malware. (End of support means that Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for any issues at all, software updates, or security updates.) Microsoft’s attitude toward the transition has ranged from gentle reminders to starker, more fearsome warnings, and it’s not clear what language Microsoft will use in its pop-up reminders.
It’s a major concern (and opportunity) for Microsoft and the PC industry in general, as an estimated 40% of all PCs run Windows 7, according to NetMarketshare. If all of those PCs converted to a paid copy of Windows 10 – or bought a new PC – it would have a profound impact on the health of the PC market, and Microsoft’s bottom line.
Microsoft may be finally taking a kinder, gentler attitude toward the transition, though. What almost looks like a Microsoft ad is embedded on a dedicated Microsoft Windows 7 site that attempts to help educate Windows 7 users on what they need to be concerned about. The video characterises the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 like replacing a wallet, or upgrading from a beloved old clunker to a more modern SUV. In both cases, the owner is shown taking some personal (a picture, or a necklace) from one device to the other – just as files can be migrated from one PC to the next.
Since the free transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has long since expired, Microsoft’s job now is to convince its most reluctant users to open their wallets for either a new OS or an entirely new PC. To date, that hasn’t happened, at least where Windows 7 is concerned.
A stubborn Windows 7 user doesn’t have much choice: they must choose between risking malware on an unsecured system, upgrading, or abandoning the platform for the Mac or Linux.