For those who still use Windows 7, today is the day that Microsoft begins its five-year goodbye. Last July, Microsoft reminded users that the end of mainstream support for Windows 7 is coming, and it's finally here. Support for Windows 7 ends today, with extended support ending on January 4, 2020.
The huge lineup of Windows 7 versions in the cut-off include Enterprise, Enterprise N, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Professional N, Starter, Starter N, Ultimate and Ultimate N. Windows 7 users won't get the full suite of updates, but the company isn't leaving them completely empty-handed. Security updates are still available for users, as well as paid support.
Windows 7 joins its predecessor, Windows Vista, in the realm of Extended Support, but unlike Windows 7, Vista has a little over two years until Microsoft completely stops supporting the operating system on April 11, 2017.
Windows 7 diehards now have three options: stick with Windows 7, upgrade to Windows 8.1, or wait until Windows 10 arrives. Last month, Windows 8.1 became the second most-used operating system on the Internet with 10.95 percent of the market, according to StatCounter. However, the support for Windows 7 remained strong as it held 50.34 percent of the overall market, so it's unclear how the end of mainstream support will affect Windows 7 fans.
Those who decide to switch to Windows 8.1 will have full support from Microsoft until January 9, 2018, and extended support until January 10, 2023. If anything, the continued dominance of Windows 7 even five years after its initial release shows that users really love the operating system. (Or dislike Windows 8/8.1, perhaps.) During its pre-order window, The Guardian reported that it was the biggest grossing pre-order item on Amazon.
At the moment, Microsoft is focused on developing Windows 10, which as we saw in October includes a whole set of new features that seems to combine the best parts of Windows 7 and Windows 8 to make an entirely new operating system. Additionally, the company is also working on a new browser codenamed "Spartan," which will ship alongside Internet Explorer 11 when the final version of Windows 10 is finished, which is expected to release sometime in Q2 or Q3 2015. More news about Windows 10 and perhaps the Spartan browser is expected to come next week, when more consumer-focused features will be discussed.