The free upgrade to Windows 10 ended on 29 July 2016. You can still upgrade, of course, but should you? With scare stories of ransomware encrypting files on unsupported versions of Windows, there are certainly reasons to consider it.

Here’s what you need to know about the pros and cons of upgrading to Windows 10.

Which versions of Windows are still supported?

Microsoft is pulled the plug on Windows Vista support on April 11 2017, and Windows XP hasn’t received security patches for a while now. In the wake of multiple ransomware attacks, Microsoft has taken the unusual step of issuing a patch for both operating systems because of the high risk and fact that millions of people are still using these versions of Windows.

However, this has come after computers have been infected, which is why it’s best to use a version of Windows that receives automatic updates that help to protect you (and your files) from disaster.

Windows 8 isn’t supported either, but most machines with Windows 8 should have been updated to Windows 8.1, which is still supported. Windows 7 also receives updates and will until 14 January 2020.

On ending support for Vista, Microsoft said, “the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies“, meaning that it will no longer receive Windows security updates, nor will developers offer support for the dated operating system. We advise upgrading to Windows 10 if possible after this date, as you’ll have limited access to new software and may be vulnerable in terms of online security.