Free 'Mainstream' Support For Microsoft’s Venerable Windows 7 Ends Today

Whether you remembered to mark your calendars for this day or not, today (January 13, 2015) is when mainstream support for Windows 7 comes to an end. That includes Windows 7 Enterprise, Enterprise N, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Professional for Embedded Systems, Professional N, Starter, Starter N, Ultimate, Ultimate for Embedded Systems, Ultimate N, and Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7.

Before you fetch the panic button and pound on it with all the might of an angry Hulk smash, be advised that your Windows 7 PC will continue to function as normal -- it's not going to turn itself off for a permanent nap, nor will it act any differently than it did yesterday or the day before.

Windows 7

Instead, Windows 7 now enters what Microsoft calls the "Extended Support Phase." What the end of the "Mainstream Support Phase" means is there won't be any new features added or product changes occurring in Windows 7, nor will Microsoft continue to provide free support. In addition, any non-security updates from this point forward will only be available with Extended Hotfix Support.

The Extended Support Phase runs another five years (January 14, 2020), though by then, Windows users will probably be rocking Windows 11 or Windows Cloud, or whatever Microsoft ends up calling the successor to Windows 10, which itself is due out this year.

It's been a great run for Windows 7, the OS that atoned for Vista's early sins. According to data from Net Applications, Windows 7 is installed on over 56 percent of the world's PCs.