When was Windows 7 discontinued? What is this Windows 7?

When was Windows 7 discontinued? Windows 7, a major release of the Microsoft Windows operating system, has been released in several editions since its original release in 2009. Only Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate were widely available at retailers. The other editions focus on other markets, such as the software development world or enterprise use. All editions support 32-bit IA-32 CPUs and all editions except Starter support 64-bit x64 CPUs. 64-bit installation media are not included in Home-Basic edition packages, but can be obtained separately from Windows.

According to Microsoft, the features for all editions of Windows 7 are stored on the machine, regardless of which edition is in use. Users who wish to upgrade to an edition of Windows 7 with more features were able to use Windows Anytime Upgrade to purchase the upgrade and to unlock the features of those editions, until it was discontinued in 2015. Microsoft announced Windows 7 pricing information for some editions on June 25, 2009, and Windows Anytime Upgrade and Family Pack pricing on July 31, 2009.

When was Windows 7 discontinued?

Still want to buy a PC that comes with Windows 7 or 8.1 from the get-go? You’ve got less than a year.

Updated late October, Microsoft’s “Windows lifecycle fact sheet” shows October 31, 2016, as the “end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled” for both Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1, a change spotted by CNET sister site ZDNet. After that date, the only choice for consumers will be to purchase new computers with Windows 10 installed. The lone exception will be businesses with license agreements that entitle them to choose which version of Windows they want preinstalled.

The deadline puts pressure on consumers who have grown comfortable with Windows 7 and are reluctant to upgrade their operating system if they buy a new PC. For Microsoft, it’s a necessary step toward its goal of having Windows 10 power 1 billion devices, which underscores the company’s message that the new software can tie together PCs, tablets and mobile phones with apps that can run on any of them.

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Windows 7 users may not realize it, but they actually caught a break. Microsoft typically sets the end-of-sales date for each version of Windows two years after the release of a new version. That means Windows 7’s cutoff date should have been in October 2014, two years after the launch of Windows 8. The lack of consumer demand for Windows 8 prompted Microsoft to keep Windows 7 alive longer than expected.

Users who want to continue running Windows 7 on their existing PCs need not worry. Extended technical support will be available until January 14, 2020, when you’ll still be able to get security patches, bug fixes and other updates. The same type of support for Windows 8 will run until January 10, 2023.

Despite the extended deadline for Windows 7 and 8.1, Microsoft is heavily pushing Windows 10.

The new operating system, which launched at the end of July, is available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 users for the first year. Microsoft has been using frequent pop-up notices to remind those who reserved a copy to install the new operating system. The company has also classified Windows 10 as an “optional update” and early next year expects to change that to a “recommended update,” Windows and Devices Group executive vice president Terry Myerson said last week.

Windows 7 discontinued

Why is Windows 7 end of life so important?

Windows 7 technically reached end of life on 14 January 2020, a little over 10 years after its original release. This didn’t mean Windows 7 computers suddenly ceased functioning, but simply that Microsoft would no longer be patching the system for flaws. It also meant technical support would no longer be available.

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You may be thinking that you could take the risk, and get away without upgrading your system – why bother with the hassle if your computer still works just fine?

An unsupported OS is a buffet for hackers, who could use it to exploit flaws that were never patched to install all kinds of malware on your device, such as ransomware or spyware, or simply to destroy the data on your system. This is far too high a risk for any business to take with its devices.

In fact, it is more than likely that at the time of Windows 7’s retirement, threat actors were aware of exploits that had not yet been discovered, and which they are now able to use against any unfortunate souls still using the OS, free from fear of reprisal by Microsoft.

Is there a way to run Windows 7 today?

When Windows 7 reached end of life, more resistant users — or those in offices who were engaged in a drawn-out OS update process — were presented with a few ways to maintain their Windows 7 installs for a little longer.

Those looking to run Windows 7 in a virtual machine could do so on the Azure Virtual Desktop service, which comes at no extra cost if a business is already a customer of Azure. Custom virtual machines can also be used, if you’d like to virtualise Windows 7 yourself.

Alternatively, users were given the option to sign up to the Extended Security Update (ESU) program, through which critical and important security updates continue to be provided to Windows 7, with the cost agreed between a client and their relevant Microsoft account team and partners.

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However, this program was only ever designed as a last resort and had a limited shelf life of January 2023, and so is now no longer an option for businesses.

This means that beyond a virtual environment, there simply is no viable way to run Windows 7 today, and any businesses that still have the operating system installed are putting their networks at risk.

Windows 7 discontinued

Migrating your business away from Windows 7

To some, Windows 7’s end of life might have been slow to arrive, but to IT decision-makers, the deadline of January 2020 was a rapid turnaround, a mere blink of the eye. That’s because IT project deployment can be painstakingly slow.

Dale Titcombe, head of IT at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, told ITPro that it was never too early to start work on migrating over to Windows 10 from Windows 7.

“It cannot be assumed that remedial work won’t be required in order to transition between OS versions and that ‘projects’ within the migration project may likely present themselves, that require prioritisation and resourcing,” Titcombe said last year.

He argued that the process of upgrading the machines to a new OS is the easy part, which often can be done in a matter of days with the right provisioning. “The harder part is making sure you have identified any issues you have in your environment and planning the project,” he added.

And the larger your organisation is, the more likely it is that you’ll have needed to start migration work immediately; even more so if you haven’t started work on migration.

“Established businesses and institutions have been here before, so hopefully lessons have been learned,” said Richard Edwards, distinguished research analyst at Freeform Dynamics. “Large enterprises aren’t usually the fastest movers, so less than a year should signal a degree of urgency.”

Windows 7 discontinued

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