Head’s up to everyone still using Windows 7. There are only five weeks left until security and bug support ends for Windows 7 on January 14.

That means Microsoft will no longer be providing security support for the 10-year-old operating system. Without security updates from Microsoft, third-party-security companies like AVAST or Norton (or anyone else) will no longer have the information they need to protect Windows 7 from new threats. It will no longer be safe to use Windows 7 online.  That includes browsing the web or receiving email.

Now, it’s not like your PC is suddenly going to stop working. You can still use it. But keep in mind that not is your PC not protected against new threats, hackers know that it’s not and they will be looking for opportunities to exploit that weakness. If upgrading your PC to Windows 10 or getting a new device is not an option right now, there is one trick you can try, adding a non-administrator account. This won’t prevent bad stuff from getting through, but it can prevent malicious software from making changes to your account.

When you first set up a computer, the main account is always an administrator account. This means that the account can install and run anything without restriction. However, if you have kids using the same computer or if you find you want to limit what can be done on the computer, you may want to look into this option.

Windows allows for three account types: Administrator, Standard, and Guest. To create a new account open control panel. To create a new account in Windows 7 go the Control Panel and then User Accounts. Click on Add or Remove User Accounts.

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Select New account.

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Choose a name for the account and the type of account. For our purposes, we’re going to want to create a Standard account.  Here’s why.

Administrator has full control and can install and change anything on the computer. A standard account can make changes to the settings on the computer and these will not affect any other users. If a standard user wants to install software or make changes other than the basic changes, they must have the administrator’s password.

Your PC also has a pre-existing Guest Account.

A guest account is similar to the standard account but users are unable to make any changes to settings or hardware. A guest account must be turned on before it can be used.  Look under User Accounts in Control Panel. Just click on the Guest account to turn it on if it is off.

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Really, most of us do not need to have an administrative account for our daily computer use, as it is only needed for downloading and installing programs or changing a system setting. And on a limited account, then, all you need to know is the username and password of an Administrative account to install or make the changes. Alternately, on a limited account, any program can typically be run as an Administrator by right-clicking the program, then choosing Run as Administrator. Again, you would need to enter the username and password of an administrative account, but then you have full access.

A WARNING: When setting up and changing user accounts, be certain you do NOT set your only account or all accounts to a standard or limited account. This will not allow you to do anything on your computer that requires administrator privileges.

So, just log on to that Standard account you’ve created for most of your activities. Especially for surfing the Internet.

If you use that Standard account to surf the Internet and read your e-mails, even if a malicious piece of code manages to get through, it can’t make any important changes to our computer. It can’t install and begin to steal your data.

If you do need to install a program or make changes to the settings, you can always switch over the administrator account. Just make sure you remember the username and password for all of your accounts.