Microsoft is pulling the proverbial plug on Windows 7 on January 14, so check your devices now and be ready!

After a full decade in the spotlight, Microsoft is closing up shop on the Windows 7 operating system. You can continue to use it, but it will no longer be supported by customer service, and security updates will no longer be pushed out to your device. In a nutshell, you'll be on your own.

This is important because you could potentially be leaving your laptop and PCs vulnerable to all sorts of malware, viruses, and other security threats.

According to Microsoft, here's what you can do in the meantime:

  • Update to Windows 10. You're going to have to do this eventually anyway, so you might as well bite the bullet and spend the money now.
  • Buy a new laptop or PC that is already outfitted with Windows 10. If you were considering treating yourself, this is a great time for it.
  • Back up your files and photos, just in case. If you're not quite ready to upgrade, protect the files you don't want to lose. That way, if you do get hit with a virus (knock on wood), they'll be safe somewhere else.

The end of support could have more far-reaching effects for businesses, especially if they take electronic payments by credit or debit cards. Do you know what operating system you're on at work? If you're a small business owner, this is definitely something you need to think about, for your customers' safety as well as your own.

For more information on the end of support for Windows 7, check out the Microsoft page devoted to this change.

Are you still running Windows 7? What will you do in light of this end of support? Let us know in the comments!