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Issue #782: July 17-23, 2022

Geek Note: This week and next, I am celebrating the 15th anniversary of my little humble Q&A column.  What started on a whim after a popular syndicated columnist decided to retire has grown up to garner a reasonable local following, and although it’s never been picked up for syndication, has appeared in various newspapers across the country, and has been plagiarized and re-published on various sites across the Worldwide Web.  I’d like to remind my readers that the column is completely freelance.  That is to say, I am not an employee of any newspaper, to include the one where it all started, the Northwest Florida Daily News.  The current issue is number 782 in a long chain of content that it has been my pleasure to bring to you.  I hope I’ve helped you out along the way (or at least not made your problem any worse, while providing some entertaining reading!).  So, thanks, my fellow Geeks!  To my avid readers, this is as much your anniversary as mine, so celebrate along with me.  Ahem – whoo.

 Don’t forget that your questions are the fuel that keep this column chugging along!  My queue is running on fumes these last few weeks, and I’m relying on you to send in something for me to work with.  If you don’t have a specific question, I’m also open to ideas for technology stories that would have broad appeal.

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 Q: I bought my Asus N53S laptop in 2011, and it’s still running just fine with Windows 10 latest version. I use Norton 360 to keep it secure. However, the Windows PC Health Check app tells me that my laptop can’t be upgraded to Windows 11 because it does not support Secure Boot; TPM 2.0 isn’t supported; and the processor isn’t currently supported for Windows 11. Since Microsoft will continue supporting Windows 10 until 2025, why shouldn’t I continue using my old, reliable laptop until 2025 and even beyond? Thanks!

 – Keith N.
Niceville, Florida

A: Well, Keith, you’re kind-of putting me on the spot here, aren’t you?  After all, my regular mantra is to tell readers that they should always install the latest updates, whether that be device drivers, application software, utilities, or, most importantly, the operating system, and the many bug fixes and security patches that are released over time.  If I tell you that it’s okay to stick with your existing Windows 10 installation, it might give the impression that I’m recommending the very opposite of what I’ve been saying for lo these many years. Well, I’m not, and I’m sure that require some explanation.

You said it yourself: “Microsoft will continue supporting Windows 10 until 2025”.  More precisely, Microsoft isn’t planning on ending that support until October 14, 2025.  What that means to users of Windows 10 is that all of those security patches and bug fixes that keep you safe will continue to be published until then.  From a cyber-security perspective, there isn’t really any reason you can’t continue to use your old, reliable laptop until then.  That’s over 3 years from now.  If you can tell me with confidence that this “old, reliable laptop” will still be reliable at that time, then you’re a better geek than I am. 

As for the “beyond” that you mentioned, it’s the same old story.  Once Microsoft stops supporting the operating system, the wisdom of trying to keep it running becomes questionable in my opinion.  Refer back to old issues of this column when Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 reached end-of-life, and people asked very similar questions about why they should bother switching to Windows 10 when they were perfectly happy with their current OS.

The bottom line for me is that, so long as the operating system hasn’t reached end-of-life, the choice whether to continue running it is completely personal.  If the features in the new version aren’t enough to tempt you to switch, then don’t.  I can’t give you a compelling reason why you should.

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