Microsoft has decided to not pull the plug on PCs that come pre-installed with Windows 7 – but only for business computers (Windows 7 Professional).
This means that for everyone else who wants a PC pre-installed with the consumer version of Windows 7 – Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate – the clock is ticking until October 31, 2014. That’s the date when Microsoft will implement “end of sales” for PCs with these versions of Windows 7 pre-installed.
“End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs),” says Microsoft.
“Examples of OEMS are Dell and Toshiba – PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software. When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it’s a good time to think about upgrading,” it notes.
Windows 7 has been on death row for some time now, and Microsoft has announced that it will end mainstream support to the platform early next year, on January 15, 2015. That’s perhaps when the Windows 7 Professional will see end of sales too.
Mainstream support includes general patches and fixes for bugs and bothers in the software while extended support includes security/vulnerability fixes only.
The end of extended support for Windows 7 (all versions) is set for January 14, 2020, when the software maker will stop providing automatic fixes, updates, or even online technical assistance for any and all kinds of bugs in the old platform.
“This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information,” Microsoft warns.
For Windows XP users, that final deadline is in a few weeks from now, with the final goodbye – or end of extended support – date set for April 8, 2014.
Most XP users either already have or are reportedly upgrading to Windows 7 (skipping Vista), which means that they have almost six years from now until they have to jump ship again. Unless, of course, if they switch to Windows 8, whose ‘end of extended support’ date is way down on January 10, 2023, or almost nine years from now.
Microsoft has already sold over 200 million copies of Windows 8, and with the imminent end (extended support) for Windows XP and Windows Vista set for April 8, 2014, and April 11, 2017, it seems that many more consumers are set to be steered in that direction.