Windows 7 was one of Microsoft’s best-loved computing operating systems and most of us are still using it.

According to NetMarketShare’s August 2017 data, 48.43% are still using Windows 7 – compared to the 27.99% who have moved on to the latest operating system, Windows 10.

But like all operating systems before it, Windows 7 will eventually reach the end of its lifecycle, making an upgrade an absolutely essential task for the safety of your PC.

[Read more: 8 free ways to make Windows 7 faster]

When does support for Windows 7 end?

Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015, but extended support won’t end until January 14, 2020.

This applies as long as you have Service Pack 1 installed. If you haven’t installed Service Pack 1 already, you should do it now by clicking here.

Windows support lifecycle

How long do I have until Windows 7 support ends?

Is Windows 7 still safe to use?

Once an operating system enters extended support, it's still very safe to use. It means that Microsoft will continue to patch any security threats but won't add any new features (as it would do during the 'mainstream support' phase).

To find out more about the differences between mainstream and extended support, click here.