Given the apathy towards Windows 8, it’s understandable that many OEMs have still been offering Windows 7 to customers to keep them happy. After all, we saw the same thing happen with Windows XP when Windows Vista first started to invade the PC space. Microsoft doesn’t want another repeat of Windows XP’s overstayed welcome, and has put Windows 7 on notice.
Microsoft recently updated its Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet, which now shows that OEMs will no longer be able to sell PCs with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled after October 31st, 2016 — a little less than a year from now. In case you were wondering, Windows 8.1 will also bow out on October 31st, while Windows 8 gets its walking papers earlier on June 30th. After that point, OEMs will have no choice but to offer Windows 10.
If you’re content with Windows 7 and Windows 8.x, and have no desire to upgrade to Windows 10, you’ll still have support for quite some time. Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended earlier this year, but extended support (which includes security patches) doesn’t end until January 14th, 2020. As for Windows 8.1 users, mainstream support ends January 9th, 2018, while extended support ceases on January 10th, 2023.
That’s not to say that Microsoft doesn’t want you to upgrade to Windows 10. Besides making it a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users, the company has bent over backwards prompting users to upgrade with nagging popup boxes. Microsoft even began silently downloading the Windows 10 ISO onto supported machines and “accidentally” initiated the Windows 10 installation process on some machine via Windows Update.
More recently, Microsoft said that Windows 10 will become a Recommended Update starting in 2016, which means that you will be prompted to install the operating system along with your regularly scheduled security and software updates.
“Our aspiration is for customers to choose Windows, and to love Windows,” said Windows chief Terry Myerson last week. “We would encourage everyone to upgrade because Windows 10 is the best Windows ever – familiar, safer, faster, and full of innovations.”