Microsoft Ends Windows 7 Professional And Windows 8.1 Sales To OEMs

Turn out the lights, the party's over. An end of an era has officially come to a close as Microsoft stops sales of Windows 7 Professional, the last version of Windows 7 that it continued providing to OEM system builders a full two years after ceasing sales of the Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate SKUs. Same goes for Windows 8.1—Microsoft has stopped selling new licenses.

Windows 8 System

As of October 31, 2016, both products reached their "end of sales" date for PCs that come with Windows preinstalled. What that means is that OEMs are not able to purchase additional Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 licenses to pre-load either legacy OS on a system. However, OEMs are allowed to use whatever licenses they might already own, new Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs will not disappear overnight. For example, if you head over to Dell, you can still purchase an Inspiron 3250 desktop with Windows 7 Professional.

Though Microsoft wants to phase out sales of new systems running versions of Windows prior to Windows 10, it will continue to support existing PCs for several years to come. To be more specific, the extended support phase for Windows 7 runs until January 14, 2020, and for Windows 8/8.1 it runs until October 14, 2025. During the extended support phase, Microsoft continues to dole out security updates.

Microsoft would obviously be thrilled if every Windows user made the upgrade to Windows 10. To Microsoft's credit, many people have—nearly a quarter (22.59 percent), according to market research firm Net Applications. Microsoft kick started things by offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users during its first year of availability. Upgrades aren't coming as fast and furious, but they're still coming.

Even so, Windows 7 remains the most popular version of Windows around. Nearly half of all Windows users (48.38 percent) are still using the legacy OS, versus around 1 and 10 users (10.57 percent) running Windows 8/8.1. Or if you prefer to pull your data from StatCounter, the story is the same just the numbers are a little different—it has Windows 7 sitting on top with a 35.45 percent share of the market, versus Windows 10 at 22.57 percent and Windows 8.1 at 7.56 percent.