Windows 7 Mainstream Support Ends - InformationWeek

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1/13/2015
04:05 PM
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Windows 7 Mainstream Support Ends

Microsoft ends free support and feature updates for Windows 7, but promises to continue fixing security flaws until 2020.

Microsoft Office Mobile: Right For You?
Microsoft Office Mobile: Right For You?
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Microsoft is pulling the plug on mainstream support for Windows 7 Service Pack (SP) 1. It's not exactly welcome news, but it's not as bad as it sounds.

As Windows 7 transitions from mainstream support into a period of extended support, users will lose the benefits of free incident support, warranty claims, design changes, and feature requests. In addition, the OS will not receive any significant updates going forward.

Microsoft will continue to provide free security updates for its products through extended support, so Windows 7 devices will continue to receive notifications and fixes when security flaws are discovered. This support is expected to end on January 14, 2020, when Microsoft shuts down Windows 7 for good.

The end of mainstream support for Windows 7 comes five years after its launch in October 2009. It was a welcome upgrade to Windows Vista and is still often preferred by those who aren't used to the Windows 8 interface.

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In April 2014, Microsoft announced its intentions to end mainstream support for Windows 7, which was supplanted by Windows 8 in 2012. Microsoft took bigger steps to phase out Windows 7 on October 31, 2014, when it stopped selling consumer versions of the OS to equipment manufacturers.

Business computers running Windows 7 are still available to customers. Microsoft has not announced when Windows 7 Pro will no longer be sent to retailers or manufacturers, but has said it will give one year's notice prior to that date, according to ZDNet.

Even after the releases of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, Windows 7 continues to hold more than 50% of the global operating system market share. Users who want to receive security updates past the 2020 deadline will need a newer operating system.

The next wave of Microsoft's operating system, Windows 10, is due to premier in mid-2015. Those looking forward to learning about what Microsoft has in store should mark their calendars for January 21, when further announcements are expected at Windows 10: The Next Chapter in Redmond, Wash.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
1/13/2015 | 6:53:42 PM
Re: Out With the Old?
@Curt -- yes, Windows 7 is Vista fully baked. I still use it, and like it, and will stick with it a while longer. I have enugh other devices running other OSs in this house. Transitioning large IT clients is another story, however.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/13/2015 | 6:09:16 PM
Re: Out With the Old?
@Curt- In addition to Windows XP, I think airlines must also be one of the last users of dot matrix printers and paper with those strips down the side with holes ever quarter inch that you have to tear off. Seriously, why in the world, can't airlines invest in printers from the 21st century? I'm not even askign them to go paper free.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/13/2015 | 5:24:03 PM
Re: Out With the Old?
@Curt- I would assume this is a mobile play. The sooner Microsoft gets everyone used to working with the new interface, the more likely they'll look at Windows phones. Personally, I've always loved the Windows 8 interface and would buy a Windows phone if there was a better app environment and more powerful phones. I think the quicker they get more people used to it, the more people will feel my way and the rest of the problems will be easier to solve with a bigger user base. 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
1/13/2015 | 5:22:10 PM
Re: Out With the Old?
I've often said that Windows 7 was what happened when you let Vista bake until fully done. The kernal is superb and stable, the interface usable for anyone who's ever laid hands on any version of Windows, and the security as good as anything on a desktop. All of these turn out to be reasons Microsoft needs for it to go away so they can transition the entire user base to "the next big thing."

As I said, though, I still see Windows XP desktops everywhere. The most recent sighting was on Major Airline gate workstations at LaGuardia. I'm not sure that the entire world will have transitioned to Aero by the time I retire!
sferguson10001
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50%
sferguson10001,
User Rank: Strategist
1/13/2015 | 4:58:06 PM
Re: Out With the Old?
Curt: I agree with you in every sense. After XP, Windows 7 turned out to be a pretty good OS to work with, especially in my daily routine. I have two machines that run in and it works pretty well. I'm interested to see if Windows 10 offers that same sort of longevity. 
Curt Franklin
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50%
Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
1/13/2015 | 4:49:28 PM
Out With the Old?
After Windows XP seemed to hang on for ever (and, it must be said, is still visible in many corporate environments), it seems that Microsoft is eager to rush Windows 7 off the stage much more quickly. I suppose it makes sense: The experience the company had with XP indicates that they'll pretty much have to pry enterprise fingers off the Windows 7 keyboards if they ever want to move the entire user community to the Aero interface.

I think it will be interesting to see whether, in the long run, Windows 8 and 8.1 have the sort of longevity that XP and Win 7 have enjoyed, or suffer the fate of Vista and are seldom spoken of after Windows 10 comes to market. I highly suspect that the answer will be closer to the latter than the former.
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