Mainstream support silently ended for Windows 7 on 13 January 2015. Whilst this hasn’t made the headlines as did the end of Windows XP’s support in April last year, where businesses were required to perform considerable upgrades to their computer’s hardware and software, it is a significant milestone to understand in terms of Microsoft’s support for their operating systems and the important of updates.
Whilst most users are notified during their computer’s system maintenance of required updates, it is important to note that the only major service pack issued for Windows 7, Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is required, along with subsequent updates to continue to keep your Windows 7 computer securely protected.
According to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ (link opens in new window), end of mainstream support means that Microsoft will only provide paid support, security update support and non-security hotfix support (with an extended hotfix support purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending) along with product-specification information using the online Microsoft Knowledge Base. They will also still provide regular security updates to Windows, however new features and enhancements will not be available. Extended Support is available for a further five years, until 13 January 2020. Those not on Extended Support contracts are not able to seek Microsoft’s assistance without this arrangement.
It is also important to note that in a year’s time (12 January 2016), the Internet Explorer Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ (link opens in new window) advises that only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates.
It is worthwhile noting that through their Support Lifecycle Policies, Microsoft has certainly set a path to move its clients onto more recent operating systems, however that they will continue to provide updates for Windows 7 at least the next five years. At this stage, there is no need to move to Windows 8 if you are happy with Windows 7. However, the time will come between now and 2020 for an upgrade to newer computers and at this time may be an opportunity to upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.