Windows 7 is turning five this year, and in technology time that’s getting a bit long in the tooth. At the five year mark, Microsoft ends mainstream support for its products and Windows 7 has entered the extended support phase as of January 14, 2015.
Extended support still provides security updates until January 14, 2020, but existing no-charge support programs from Microsoft for Windows 7 no longer apply. Also, non-security updates (hotfixes) will no longer be produced for the general public.
We just finished our migration away from XP as it reached the end of extended support (no more security patches) and Zypes customers had to pay $220 per machine to purchase Windows 8 for hardware that was still good, or replace the entire machine for hardware that wasn’t worth upgrading. Many businesses were purchasing machines that were downgraded to XP years after the release of 7 because they didn’t want the latest operating system, but this backfired because Windows 7 licenses were not available to retail customers after Windows 8 was released, so when XP reached end of life we had to install the dreaded Windows 8. (It’s not that bad – just install a program called Classic Start and pretend its 7)
The same thing is happening now with customers purchasing new computers downgraded to Windows 7 when the product is halfway through its life cycle. We may be putting Windows 11 (or whatever is out at the time) on these machines and incurring unneeded costs because they were purchased with aging software.
I understand that some businesses have legitimate compatibility issues with new operating systems, but there is not much functional difference between 7 and 8, and the bad rap windows 8 got at first was partly rectified in the 8.1 update, and can be further fixed by installing a 3rd party start menu. It is important to understand that under the hood, Windows 8 really is a better OS than previous versions, and it has features that can save you time & money, such as a built-in ‘nuke’ button, where you can have it re-install itself at any time without losing your data. I have used this a few times and it works beautifully and only takes about 20 minutes. There is also a self-repair tool called DISM that can go online and fix corrupted system files on the fly which is not available in previous versions of Windows. It is also much faster than 7 at image rendering and has many other improvements that most people are unaware of. As we move toward the release of Windows 10 (they are skipping 9 to avoid scripting issues that may arise with use of 9x referring to Windows 95 and 98) Microsoft is continuing to improve and add features, as well as bringing back the start menu which nobody wanted to see missing in the first place.
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