Windows 7 Update Support Ends One Year From Today

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Microsoft is currently locked into Windows 10 for the foreseeable future, but a significant share of global Windows users are still on older versions like Windows 7. Anyone still clinging to Windows 7 is going to be counting the days with dread from here on out. In exactly one year, Microsoft will end official support operations for Windows 7.

Released in 2009, Windows 7 was an instant hit after consumers struggled to deal with Windows Vista for the preceding three years. Windows 7 brought improved interface elements, window management, and it was easier on system resources. That was a big deal in 2009 when ultra-low-power Netbooks were commonplace. Many Windows XP holdouts upgraded to Windows 7 and have remained there for the last decade.

You might be under the impression that Microsoft already cut Windows 7, but the company has several “levels” of support. Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 in 2015, but the OS is still covered by extended support until January 14, 2020. In this phase, Windows 7 no longer receives new features via updates, but Microsoft will still push out security patches on a regular basis. In exactly one year, that will also end.

Microsoft has managed to convince a plurality of Windows users to update to the latest version of the platform. With the end of Windows 7 update support, we’re likely to see Windows 10 grow substantially. Unlike in past years, there is no “new” version of Windows on the horizon — Microsoft has been updating Windows 10 on a regular basis with new features since its 2015 debut. It’s also unlikely that anyone will be jumping from Windows 7 to Windows 8, which was widely seen as a misstep by Microsoft that overemphasized touchscreen usage.

Windows 7 Desktop

The one-third of Windows users on 7 won’t evaporate completely, though. There are still people using Windows XP all these years later, after all. Microsoft offers custom support contracts for businesses and governments that cannot migrate to newer versions of the operating system, but these custom updates come with a big price tag. For the average user, Windows 7 will begin picking up unpatched vulnerabilities in one year. The longer you wait to upgrade after that, the more broken and dangerous your computing experience will be.

The next Windows shutdown comes in 2023 when Windows 8.1 will lose extended update support. The original Windows 8 release lost full update support in January 2016.

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