Microsoft Corp. has announced that it would cease to provide mainstream support to the Windows 7 operating system. The move will likely disappoint many users since the Windows 7 is currently the most popular operating system in the world and over 50% of end-users utilize it.
Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Microsoft offers mainstream support for a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product's general availability, or for 2 years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer. Microsoft also offers extended support for either a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product's general availability, or for 2 years after the second successor product (two versions later) is released, whichever is longer.
During the mainstream support phase Microsoft offers security updates, non-security hotfixes, performance improvements, design changes and feature enhancements for free. During the extended support phase the company only releases free security patches and provides non-security hotfixes only to customers with a special support agreement.
On January 13, 2015, Microsoft will end mainstream support of all versions of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Storage Server 2008. The extended support phase for these operating systems will last till January, 2020.
It is important to note that PC makers are eligible to continue selling computers with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate operating systems till the end of October, 2014. Microsoft has not yet established the date when its partners should stop selling PCs with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed. Microsoft will provide one year of notice prior to the end of sale date, which means that Windows 7 Professional will be available for at least a year.
It is noteworthy that at present many business and enterprise customers deploy new systems powered by the Windows 7 OS since Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP operating system. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft’s announcement regarding the end of Windows 7’s mainstream supports will affect anyone’s purchase decisions. Businesses and enterprises will hardly adopt Windows 8 now because of new graphical user interface and other factors.