Here are some tips and tricks to follow to safely use Windows 7. The operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft
Using a PC running Windows 7 is no longer safe: since January 14, 2020, in fact, Microsoft's official support for this operating system has ended and, consequently, the Redmond company no longer releases any patches for any bugs that could put at risk the integrity of our data and our privacy.
The best solution is undoubtedly to upgrade the operating system, also because you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free. There would also be the possibility of getting a license for Windows 8.1, which is officially supported by Microsoft until January 2023, but it wouldn't make much sense: Windows 10 is a better operating system in all respects. If you really don't want to abandon Windows 7, therefore, it's good to be aware of the risks you run and, above all, put into practice at least the minimum security recommendations for those who still use this operating system. But, beware: even if you put them into practice, continuing to use Windows 7 will still be riskier than using a more up-to-date operating system with Microsoft support still active.
Protect Windows 7: tips to put into practice now
Although Windows 7 will no longer receive any major security updates, most antivirus manufacturers have guaranteed updates to their products until at least 2022. To protect a PC running Windows 7, therefore, it's essential to at least use one of these antiviruses and keep it updated as long as you can. It's then also possible, and recommended, to start selecting the most secure applications and create a "whitelist" of apps that are allowed to access the Internet. This way we'll block access attempts by unsafe apps (including viruses). To do this we need to go to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Security > Firewall & Network Protection, turn on Windows Defender Firewall and then click on "Allow apps through firewall" and add all secure apps one by one.
Protect Window 7: behaviors that make us safer
In addition to the tricks just described, we have to take note that our operating system is still less secure than before and, consequently, some behaviors should be avoided. This means paying even more attention to possible phishing emails, for example. Two-factor authentication, then, becomes practically a must. Highly recommended is also the use of a VPN, i.e. a virtual private network that interposes a layer of security between us and possible attacks from the Internet. Finally, we must be even stricter in the selection of passwords, which will have to be changed even more frequently. From this point of view, fortunately, a good password manager can help us.