Fans of an older Windows operating system have reason to feel the pang of nostalgia today: Microsoft has quietly announced the end date for Windows 7. This end date will affect the sale of computers with the operating system pre-installed, but the announcement also lists two further dates when support will be cancelled.
According to their Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet page, the sale of new Windows 7 Professional machines from authorized retailers will end on October 31, 2016; the sale of Windows 7 Home machines ended last year in October. The end of the support for the OS was January of this year for the mainstream support, with the end of extended support coming around in January of 2020.
Interestingly, Windows 8 has a weird end of life schedule, too. Windows 8 pre-installed machines will leave the market before the end of the run for Windows 7 Pro, as retail sales of the devices will cease on June 30, 2016. Windows 8.1 machines get to hang on a little longer, ending on the same date as the sales of Windows 7 Pro machines, October 31. The end of mainstream support for 8.1 will be in January of 2018, with extended support ending in January of 2023.
Here’s an interesting mention from the Fact Sheet that comes with no fanfare or explanation: Windows 10 mainstream support is slated to end in five years; extended support will end in ten years. While this probably only indicates that Microsoft is preparing for service pack updates–as the case with the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 dates, meaning we can expect a different time frame for any versions like Windows 10.1 or later–it does call into question the “software as a service” shift that was to take place with the new OS. The early reports from industry experts had a “the last software you’ll ever need” feel to their assessment due to the changing SaaS model of charging for new cloud-based features.