Can you keep using Opera on Windows 7 and 8.1 since Microsoft no longer supports them?

Opera on Windows 7 and 8.1 blog

Hello everyone!

By now, you will have seen that Windows 7 and 8.1 are no longer supported by Microsoft, having reached “end of life” status. What does this mean in practical terms? It means that devices running Windows 7 and 8.1 will not be receiving any more updates or technical support, and more critically, will not be receiving any more security updates. This leaves these systems vulnerable to potential attacks, threats, or bugs.

With Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 and 8.1, and Chromium following suit, the end of support extends to all major browsers on these versions of the operating system. So from now on all major browsers, including Opera, will no longer get security and feature updates if used on those versions of Windows. Older versions of Opera will, however, continue to work on Windows 7 or 8.1. 

So what should you do?

First, check which version of Windows your machine is running on. If you haven’t bought a new computer since 2015 and haven’t upgraded yourself, chances are you’re running one of the two end-of-life OS versions. See exactly which version you’re running by finding your “My Computer” or “This PC” icon in your system, right-click on it, and press “Properties”.

If you are indeed running Windows 7 or 8.1, then you have a few options depending on whether you want to upgrade or not.

Upgrade to a newer version of Windows

End of support for an OS is usually a good indication that it might be time to upgrade. At this point, any security vulnerabilities, bugs, and other issues that developers would otherwise have been able to address, will no longer be fixed. This puts your device and personal data at potential risk. 

So you can start by checking if your device supports a software upgrade to the latest Windows OS. Windows 11, the current version, has certain hardware requirements that make it difficult for older computers to qualify. However, Windows 7 and 8.1 users can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free, and that version is still supported by Microsoft. The company provides a handy guide on how to upgrade here.

Then again, it might be that your computer is getting on in years too. Most new Windows PCs these days have Windows 11 pre-installed, so with a new desktop or laptop computer you should be set for some time to come.

Save your Opera data

Whether you upgrade your software or hardware, it doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your Opera history! You can keep all your bookmarks, browsing history, pinboards, and other data through Opera Sync and restore it to your new setup if necessary. 

If you’re logged into your Opera account, just go to Settings > Synchronisation > Advanced sync settings. There, you can choose what data to sync and select the level of encryption you want. All your data is then securely encrypted and uploaded to your Opera account, where only you can access it and download it on any other device or operating system you use Opera on.

Once you’re all set in your new environment, install Opera again, set it as your default browser, and log in to your Opera account to sync your data. Then you can get back to your browsing!

What if you don’t upgrade?

Maybe you don’t want to upgrade to a new OS right now. Perhaps your current setup suits you so well that you don’t feel like changing it. And you might be such a savvy user that you can protect yourself from security vulnerabilities. Can you still use Opera with Windows 7 or 8.1?

The answer is yes. You will still be able to download existing versions of Opera up to Opera 95, and continue browsing on your current system. However, you must keep in mind that these versions will not be receiving the latest security fixes and features that future versions of Opera will get. 

Why is this happening? The short answer is that, without support from the OS manufacturer, continuing development of any one piece of software on that OS quickly becomes a losing battle. Even if we devoted the significant resources needed to maintain Opera for Windows 7 and 8.1, any leftover bugs and vulnerabilities in the OS itself would continue to pose a risk for users.

From our side, we wouldn’t be able to guarantee the user experience and security that we strive for in our products. As a result, we have had to make the tough decision to stop supporting Windows 7 and 8.1 as well.

We know you might be attached to your current Windows 7 or 8.1 setup but if you want to make sure you have a secure system, and continue receiving important updates, we strongly recommend you upgrade to a newer version of Windows. This way, you will be protected against potential vulnerabilities and you will continue enjoying the latest Opera features and security updates.

Happy browsing!

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