Starting in July, Microsoft's forum staff will no longer provide technical support or answers to questions for several of its products and services, including Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, one of the company's forum moderators announced. This applies to questions posted in Microsoft's Community forums. In essence, this is another move to encourage users who are getting by with legacy products to upgrade, and specifically to Windows 10.
"There will be no proactive reviews, monitoring, answering or answer marking of questions. The forums will still be moderated by Microsoft agents to ensure participants can engage in a safe and positive environment," the moderator said.
Moderation is still needed because Microsoft will continue to allow users to post questions and other information regarding legacy products and services on its forums. However, it will be up to the community itself to help each other out, rather than receive any official response from Microsoft's staff.
Here is a list of products for which support is being discontinued:
- Windows 7, 8.1, 8.1 RT
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Internet Explorer 10
- Office 2010, 2013
- Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, Surface 2
- Microsoft Band— this topic will be locked. Users are invited to participate in Microsoft Band 2 topic
- Mobile devices forum— Microsoft support will continue in "Other Windows mobile devices" topic
- Zune—this topic will be locked, but will remain available for browsing
The Microsoft Band and Zune forums will be locked, meaning users will not be able to post new questions in either one. However, they will remain viewable for users who run into issues that have already been answered in past/existing threads.
In a separate message, Microsoft referenced Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are both "products that reached end of support," hence the decision to stop devoting resources to answering related questions in its Community forums. As far as other avenues, both are in the extended support cycle, which is scheduled to end on January 14, 2020 for Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) and January 10, 2023 for Windows 8.1.
Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public nearly two years ago on July 29, 2015. Since then, Microsoft has rolled out five major updates, the most recent of which is the April 2018 Update. The company's ongoing plan is to upgrade Windows 10 twice a year, with monthly security patches rolled out in between.