Q: I’ve been very happy chugging along with my Windows 7. Lately Microsoft has been very aggressive trying to sell me stuff and threatening to cut off Windows 7. They won’t send updates or give me any assistance… not that it they ever offered help without a huge fee.

What am I headed for?

— N. Hamilton

A: I understand your frustration. It’s not just Microsoft. At some point, program developers discontinue support for older programs. When that program is an operating system like Windows that means security patches will no longer be developed and made available. That means if you keep using the old operating system you will be more vulnerable to hackers and malware than if you upgrade to a currently supported operating system.

Microsoft did offer free upgrades to Windows 10. That program officially ended in 2016, but you can still achieve the workaround by following directions you’ll find here.

And you can find details about the life cycles of each version of Windows here.

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As you can see there, extended support for Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) will end in January, which means that bug fixes and security patches will no longer be available.

Q: I read your response to the question about using the MS Outlook email as an option to replace Microsoft Live Mail, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft. We have Windows 10 and Office 365 on our computers.

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We use Live Mail though Earthlink.net for our personal email and we would like to keep our EarthLink address for our personal email. I use Outlook for my business contacts and email with many email folders on a separate domain.

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How can we set up our personal EarthLink email to be totally separate from my business contacts, email and email folders all to open in a separate window?

How can we transfer all personal folders and email addresses from Live Mail to Outlook to be separate like it is now with Live Mail?

—Larry Brickman, Bellevue

A: Your email account is actually separate from any client you use to access it.

When you set up the Outlook client to access your EarthLink address, Outlook will automatically check for mail arriving at that address. And yes, Outlook will keep those emails separate from email in your other email accounts. You can also access any entries you may have made in your EarthLink account’s calendar and contacts.

The same holds in the other direction. Any additions you make — emails you send or delete, contacts and calendar dates — will be there if you access your EarthLink account using Live Mail or any other client.

The one limitation is that if you create custom folders for storing emails they will not be synced. In short, if you create a custom email folder in Outlook and put emails in there, you won’t be able to access them if you access your EarthLink account using Live Mail. And if you’ve created a custom folder in Live Mail and want to move them to Outlook you’ll need to manually copy those.

To connect your EarthLink account so that you can access it in Outlook, click on “File” in the main menu at the top, then click on the “Add Account” button. The program may be able to automatically detect and connect your EarthLink account. If not, you may need to manually insert the required information.