Windows 7 Enters Its Final Year of Support

Posted on January 14, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows, Windows 10 with 75 Comments

One year from today, on January 14, 2020, Microsoft will officially stop supporting Windows 7, the most popular version of the platform so far. Beyond that one fact, there are many questions, and the terrible previous experience of Microsoft’s repeated attempts at closing the door on Windows XP support.

“Every Windows product has a lifecycle,” the Microsoft support website notes. “The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to update, upgrade or make other changes to your software.”

From a support perspective, the key dates for Windows 7 are January 13, 2015, when the system ended its five-year mainstream support cycle, and January 14, 2020, when it exits extended support. As a legacy Windows OS, Windows 7 is governed by Microsoft’s old 10-year fixed lifecycle policy during which it could get feature updates during that mainstream support period; in reality, Windows 7 received only a single Service Pack, and it never really received any major new features.

Windows 7 is also impacted by Microsoft’s run-in with Intel over the “Skylake” generation of processors. As such, Windows 7 receives only “limited support” on Skylake and newer generation Intel and AMD processors, a move that Microsoft hoped would lead to improved Windows 10 adoption. That didn’t work, of course, and Windows 10 usage only very recently surpassed that of the 9-year-old Windows 7.

Which is why the next year is going to be so interesting.

As I wrote in Will Windows 7’s Exit Trigger a Windows 10 Upgrade Wave? (Premium), Windows 7’s user base is made up of individuals and businesses of all sizes, none of which seem particularly interested in upgrading. And based on history, especially what happened when Microsoft tried to retire Windows XP, Microsoft may find itself in a difficult position by January 2020.

It has already agreed to let its biggest business customers pay for additional support well beyond that January 14, 2020 date, and that support gets more expensive each year going forward. But that doesn’t help individuals or smaller businesses that are using PCs which, by most accounts, will continue working fine past that date, regardless of Microsoft’s semi-arbitrary support policies.

How Microsoft handles this will be interesting. With Windows XP, the firm had to extend support at least twice, and that system was officially supported for a record 12 years. Worse, Microsoft had to address emergency support requests, such as from the UK governmental health system, when their XP-based PCs were hacked years after support ended. Policies are one thing, but what else can you do when a government calls and pleads for help?

The situation with Windows 7 will be even worse, because there are far more PCs out in the world running this system now than was the case with XP when it was retired. In fact, there are over 600 million Windows 7 PCs being actively used right now. It’s unlikely that most of them will be replaced or retired within a year.

Offering free Windows 10 upgrades again won’t help: Most Windows 7 PCs are now several years old and are architecturally out of date, and more easily compromised by hackers. My advice to Microsoft is to adjust the Windows 10 support life cycle to entice upgraders. And while I don’t see a return to a fixed support policy of 10 years, there is surely some wiggle room in a scheme in which Microsoft now issues two major OS upgrades every single year, with little or no way to delay or ignore these upgrades.

What it does, Microsoft’s response to the real-world issues faced by several hundred million Windows 7 upgraders could emerge as the biggest Windows story of 2019. I suspect it will be something we return to again and again throughout the next year.

 

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Comments (75)

75 responses to “Windows 7 Enters Its Final Year of Support”

  1. dcdevito

    I just left a firm that still had 40% of their PCs running Windows 7 (10k+ machines). I was managing a project to upgrade (mostly) Lenovos to Win10, but due to security requirements for Bitlocker it also required a BIOS upgrade in place. Due to time constraints for each upgrade and issues with the BIOS upgrades, we had to cancel the upgrade project and "simply" upgrade the OS by attrition via new leases with hardware upgrades. Insane, no way it's going to happen.

  2. MikeGalos

    It'd be interesting to see how long other operating systems get full support with updates and limited support with security patches.


    Windows 7 shipped on October 22, 2009

    Android Éclair shipped on October 26, 2009

    iPhone OS 3 shipped on June 17, 2009

    Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" shipped on August 28, 2009


    That's Windows 7's cohort. How many of those are currently getting manufacturer's support of any kind? How many of those are currently getting regular security updates?


    Seriously, who here is currently using Éclair or iOS3 or Snow Leopard?

    Who here is whining about how unfair it is that they can't use any of these other operating system versions with full support?

    • Winner

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      First, that's an apples to oranges comparison, as those other OS's aren't >90% of the business market for PCs.

      Second, most of those other OS's have upgrades that almost all customers actually like and have truly meaningful and significant usability improvements. Generally not the case with Windows 10.


      Is current Android way better than 10 yo Android? Yes.

      Is current iOS way better than 10 yo iOS? Yes

      Is current OSX way better than 10 yo MacOS? Perhaps not way better, but not any major worse features.

      Is current Windows way better than 10 yo Windows 7? For an awful lot of people, no. Most would say there are relatively few new features that they truly care about. And quite a few regressions in usability. And ads.

    • skane2600

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      My last Mac Mini update was Snow Leopard because the subsequent releases weren't available for my (2nd?) generation device. Still Apple's decision however.


      But the upgrade policy of other companies isn't really relevant to this issue. Nobody is going to say "We have issues using Windows 10, but it's OK because Apple isn't supporting Snow Leopard anymore".

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to skane2600:

        So it's OK and "Apple's decision" that they don't support Snow Leopard and that they don't support their hardware for more than a few annual version changes but Microsoft is not respecting their customers for only giving them 10 years support?

        You seriously are sticking with that?

        • skane2600

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I didn't express an opinion about customer respect with regard to either Microsoft or Apple. This discussion is specifically about Windows 7. If you want to start a forum post about Apple's support policies, I'll post my specific complaints about Mac Mini support there. And IMO, Microsoft's support policies would be likewise irrelevant to that discussion too.

  3. glenn8878

    I find it amazing that old PCs still work with Windows 7. Each time I had an old PC with Windows XP and Windows 7, they either died or became useless due to slow processor. Even when I tried to limit use as an Internet device, it just didn't work well.


    Microsoft shouldn't have to entice users especially business users to move on the Windows 10. It is self-evident that using older unsupported operating systems are risky. They bear the risks. The only help is transition to Windows 10, which is a hazard in itself.

    • Informed

      In reply to glenn8878:

      My subjective impression is that in the past 2 years or so Windows Updates take 3 times as long as they used to in Windows 7 (I think its since Microsoft started "bundling" multiple updates in one; I don't know why it'd take longer to install this way). That Windows 7 users are still content sticking with 7 says something.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Informed:

        Yes. It says that in a lot of cases they only get a new OS when they get a new computer and never do updates unless forced to. When hardware became obsolete every three years that didn't impact them. Now that hardware has stalled they're still using ancient computers that would have been unusable after that long a lifespan back when the personal computer industry was still innovating.


  4. Daekar

    So... I know this is a big deal because it takes effort, but I don't understand why it's going to be newsworthy. Win7 has been supported for a LONG time, and it's not like this is a surprise. If you want to pay, you can keep getting updates. Otherwise... stop whining and get with the program you should've been preparing for. Apple doesn't even have a written policy on how long it supports different versions of MacOS, but it looks like their security patches only cover the last few decimal releases, which means only a few years.

  5. longhorn

    For businesses Windows 10 isn't a huge problem. They already pay sysadmins to take care of Windows. The WaaS schedule may result in more sysadmins since there are so many moving parts involved that have to be managed.


    For consumers the situation is worse. Many people probably don't have time to deal with Windows 10 and may choose a simpler solution. Maybe 2019 will be the year of the Chromebook?


    Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with Windows 10 and there is nobody else to blame. If you are willing to look beyond ads, bloatware, forced updates/restarts, telemetry and WaaS then Windows 10 is a good (I mean that) OS. The question is how much crap are people willing to put up with?


    I think Windows 10 is the last version of Windows (if Microsoft doesn't start listening). It may attain a billion users, but I doubt it will happen this year.


    • Greg Green

      In reply to longhorn:

      I would think it would be the opposite way round. For consumers it’s inconvenient, for business owners it lost money. I suspect most small businesses don’t have a sysadmin. If you’re a 5 person realty office, construction contractor or an independent car repair garage you’re not going to have a sysadmin.

      • longhorn

        In reply to Greg Green:

        I agree with you. Small businesses are probably hit the hardest. It's also easier for consumers to switch platform than for businesses.


        Despite many under the hood improvements and the ability to work on tablet form factors, the inconveniences of Windows 10 just make it difficult to deal with for many people.


        The competition to Windows isn't strong so I guess Microsoft saw an opportunity to do things their way.


        Ultimately I think we'll see a reduction of Windows users from 1.5 billion to 1.2 or even 1 billion. Windows is still a good OS in many ways, but the reality of life is that eventually a product is not more successful than it deserves to be. If a product brings less value (real or perceived) to users it's going to be used less. No rocket science needed to figure that out. :)


  6. John Jackson

    "Offering free Windows 10 upgrades again won’t help: Most Windows 7 PCs are now several years old and are architecturally out of date, and more easily compromised by hackers."


    That has not been my experience.

    Having just bought a new PC I was tidying out the boxes for my old kit ... and surprised to find that my oldest HP Microserver was purchased on 27 September 2010. Starting at Windows 7 with 1GB RAM and using a 54Mbs wireless adapter this has gone through Windows 8, 8.1 and now sits at Windows 10 Pro x64 with 2GB RAM and 1GbE. Anyone who has kept up to date will have enjoyed a cheap upgrade to Pro (with 8) and a free upgrade to Windows 10 - outstanding value.


    I was even more suprised to find that my Dell Dimension 9200, now with a small SSD, 2GB more memory and an old but quiet video card is still performing perfectly adequately as a basic machine ... and that dates back to January 2007.


    The killer OS was VISTA: here MSFT took such a beating for lack of driver support that later versions have broad device compatibility ... indeed older PC's may fare better than Skylake machines!

    Having then taken another beating for the Windows 8 UI I think MSFT have been very careful with backwards compatibility.


    What architectural changes will compromise an old machine?

    UEFI you won't have but you can still boot to BIOS.

    USB 3.0 is backwards compatible.

    SMB multichannel is well down the network stack.

    Storage Spaces you don't have to use.

    Defender is integrated AV.

    OneDrive is now working fine … and has ransomware security.

    NVME support you won't have but a SATA SSD is fast enough.

    Unification of the code base is hidden.


    Be careful yes (try an Insider build) but I would upgrade a well-cared for machine to SDD+4GB RAM if Windows 10 (Pro) was free.

  7. jaredthegeek

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw

  8. ben55124

    Every Windows product has a lifecycle -- except Win10,

  9. RobertJasiek

    When Windows 10 appeared, telemetry was the only thing preventing my upgrade from Windows 7. It is still the major thing by far.

    Windows 10 telemetry violates my preference for privacy, German law and EU law. To comply by the law, either I may not use Windows 10 or am required to eliminate telemetry as far as anyhow possible, in which case I cannot know for sure whether some undesired and unlawful telemetry would persist.

    The minimum amount of configuration for minimising Windows 10 telemetry I estimate as 2 weeks. For comparison, it is 3 hours for Windows 7. During the previous two years and the next year, I simply have not had and do not have the time to spend at least 2 weeks on telemetry configuation. Even if I wanted to upgrade, I cannot do it because I cannot interrupt 2 weeks of work in order to upgrade Windows. (I do not know if I could change to Linux to avoid Windows 10 telemetry because I would need even more time to become familiar with Linux and evaluate whether all my software and driver needs would be fulfilled.)

    From reading reports about Windows 10, more things have appeared that prevent my upgrade from Windows 7. Windows 10 updates are too often unstable and I do not have the time to run an operating system that needs babysitting for fixing heavy update bugs. I would use Professional (because LTS or Enterprise editions also have telemetry and therefore are not worth their astronomic prices) but still do not know whether I could manually deactivate the Windows Update service to prevent data loss (whether I am present at the computer or absent), interruption of work and interruption of online work with customers, which can occur at all times during day and night. Windows 10 feature updates have been abused to alter Windows security, privacy and anti-telemetry settings without prior warning, notification and confirmation; this has become additional demotivation to upgrade.

    My almost 10 years old Windows 7 PC runs perfectly. I wish to upgrade the PC (but not welcome telemetry) but I do not need to. It would just be nice to replace it by a tablet or detachable to have more functionality and a few modern niceties (faster SSD, faster ports, more storage etc.). However, the CPU spying bugs (Spectre, Meltdown) of current CPUs are perfectly what I do not want at all. Such is an absolute no-go. I wait until Intel fixes these issues in future CPU generations and pray that my PC continues to work for so long. If I some time buy a new computer and it should have Windows 10 rather than Linux, I can then more easily justify to spend at least 2 weeks of configuation against Windows 10 telemetry.

    2 weeks of interrupted work costs a lot. Imagine how much I would pay for a "Windows 10 Professional With Completely Deactivated Telemetry Except For Allowing Windows Updates". Just the prices of Windows LTS (if such had completely deactivated telemetry instead of lying about it) are even much higher and beyond reasonable. All Microsoft needs to offer is Windows 10 with the telemetry-avoidance standard of Windows 7.

    • digiguy

      In reply to RobertJasiek:

      2 weeks LOL

      It takes a few minutes to put windows 10 at the same level as windows 7 as far as privacy and telemetry are concerned.. If you want to go even faster use this software https://www.safer-networking.org/products/spybot-anti-beacon/ will do everything in seconds.

      I have saved you "2 weeks" of your life... ^^

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to digiguy:

        Some third party tool does not establish security because trust in the tool is not established, such tools never cover all settings and they do not remove one's own duty to inform oneself and make good decisions for settings. With informed thinking instead of thoughtless delegation to some tool, it cannot be done within a few minutes. E.g., first reading Microsoft's W10 privacy settings list already takes very much longer.

        What is your blacklist in software restriction policies for the executables (Cortana, Edge etc.) of W10 itself? How many hours have you spent on identifying them and enforcing the policy? A few minutes, ridiculous. You do not even know what to think about or you do not take privacy seriously.

  10. skane2600

    I suspect that extending the support of Windows 7 wouldn't be a significant burden on Microsoft since they haven't added new features for a long time. And they should realize based on their experience with retiring XP that lack of support isn't an effective motivator to get people to upgrade. I think they are just following an old policy out of inertia.


  11. eric_rasmussen

    Windows 7 is a polished, performant OS with predictable behavior. Windows 10 is a perpetual fluctuation of largely untested code forcibly updating systems every 6-8 months. A wide swath of software doesn't run on Windows 10 LTS releases because Microsoft artificially blocks the installation of tools such as the. NET SDK, Visual Studio, Office, and so on.


    The choice is between predictable stability and a dice roll every few months. No way are people who like Windows 7 going to accept that. I predict three paths:


    Consumers with a PC that's not heavily used: 2020 will be the year they go pure mobile. They will adapt to apps, and if they really need a laptop, Chromebooks can run the apps they've started using alongside productivity software.


    Consumers who use a PC for productivity: 2020 will be the first year these people look at alternative platforms. Some will jump to Mac, some will jump to Chromebook, many will get a Windows laptop. Of those who get a Windows laptop, many will get one with S Mode and it won't work with any of the software they own. I predict this will be the death of S Mode:. The number of returns the OEMs will be processing will cause them to force Microsoft's hand. But it will be too late; these people will look to Chrome or Mac since they have to re-purchase all of their software anyway.


    Business: An increasing amount of work is happening on servers off-site. As businesses move to the cloud, a local PC just isn't as necessary as it once was. I see 2020 as the first year the businesses on Windows 7 move to the cloud in bulk, adopting mobile platforms and thin clients. Here again, ChromeOS fills the need if a keyboard and mouse are needed for something.


    Windows 10 is mostly fine for people who know a bit about what they're doing. It would have been mostly fine for most people, but the "Windows is a service" attitude is killing it with both bad experiences and highly publicized bad experiences that people hear about. Botching the upgrades every 6 months is not helping things. S Mode is really not helping things, as it literally makes Windows less useful than ChromeOS.

    • drprw

      In reply to Eric_Rasmussen:

      Most of us read the articles on this site because we are interested in technology and are aware of the various Windows versions and their pros and cons. We are an infinitely small group of people out in the world. 90% of the world's populace (and this is generous) does not care or even know what the difference between Windows 7 and Window 10 is. They simply use what is on their computer when they buy it and continue to use it until the computer doesn't work anymore. That includes people who use PCs for productivity (work) rather than simply media consumption. The idea that these people (again, the VAST majority of people on this earth) will look into alternative platforms to avoid Windows 10 is simply not realistic. These people do not care which version of Windows they are using (nor should they).

    • Daekar

      In reply to Eric_Rasmussen:

      I can't imagine looking at alternative platforms in 2020, but my comment is related to the business-comment. Our company is basically 100% Dell, and for a number of years until less than a year ago we used their thin-client solution. I'll cut to the chase, it was terrible. In almost every conceivable way, except some aspects of manageability. IT hated them as much as everyone else, and they didn't save any money because they were overpriced. Now that my folks have real PCs (they're basically Core i7 laptops in a little tiny box for the desktop) they are much happier and I almost never hear complaints about anything except the response speed of our customized SharePoint implementation (which IT tells me is an infrastructure problem that they are scheduled to address this year). And if something bad happens to one of the machines, all their important files are safe because they're either on the local network or in SharePoint. We had a motherboard fail the other day, and it took more time to get IT down to replace the machine than to get that girl up and running once it was hooked up again.


      And let's be clear - my people are NOT power users. In any way. But I'll tell you what, they have just as much trouble using their phones as full Windows 10. The mobile platforms are not magically better, they're just different, and the only difference is that the technosphere isn't done jizzing itself over how new and different must mean better.


      We must be lucky, because when I ask the IT folks about Windows 10 updates, it's always a non-issue to them - they hold back the updates a bit, do some testing, and then roll it out. As far as I am aware, nothing has ever broken for anyone I've heard about in the company because of an update.

  12. Informed

    If Windows 10 is updated to eliminate "Destination Path Too Long" errors that always appear with Copy/Pasting with the folder path being >256 characters, then I'll have an irresistible push to upgrade! It didn't take Microsoft so long to progress past 8.3 filenames; that this problem still persists in 64-bit Windows is remarkable. (Note that Windows 10 long file paths are unsupported in Windows File Explorer.)

  13. jholbrook385

    My advice is simple: upgrade and join us here in the present, or don't at your own risk. These users have had 10 years to prepare for this, and Microsoft is clear about support timeliness. Sounds like the user's problem to me.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to jholbrook385:

      You have pretty low standards for the present. MS loves customers like you.

    • skane2600

      In reply to jholbrook385:

      It's a matter of balance, but Ms essentially saying it's the user's problem is arguably why Windows 8 and subsequent releases were slow to be adopted.

      • AnOldAmigaUser

        In reply to skane2600:

        No. The debacle that was Windows 8 is the reason people latched on to Windows 7 so tightly.

        I do not think that normal people obsess over the operating system. What matters is their data, the applications they use to access it, and a set of online services that they use.

        • skane2600

          In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

          Windows 8 was all about MS's agenda without much consideration of their customers. Windows 10 is largely a continuation of that agenda. Thus there is still an emphasis on Metro/Modern/UWP and live tiles.

          • AnOldAmigaUser

            In reply to skane2600:

            So you are saying that all of your Win32 apps have stopped working? You have to use UWP?

            Live tiles can be turned off, and there is no requirement to use modern apps should one not want to. The start menu changed, it is not the end of the world. While I have not tried it, I would bet that if all the application groups are deleted, the start menu looks more or less like it did in Windows 7.

            Personally, I do not use a computer to obsess over the operating system.

            • skane2600

              In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

              I hate it when people comment using the template: "So are you saying <something we both know you never said>?"


              You called Windows 8 a "debacle". It also ran most Win32 programs and didn't force everyone to use Metro/Modern apps. So I don't understand the distinction you're making.

              • AnOldAmigaUser

                In reply to skane2600:

                I am saying that Windows 8 was the reason that people decided to cling to Windows 7. The Windows 8 interface was a radical change, was non-discoverable, and provided awful support for mouse and keyboard, which is what most people use.

                Windows 8.1 resolved a bit of it, and by Windows 10, most users can make the switch relatively easily. They are not a continuation of, but an apology for Windows 8.

                Give a normal, non-techy user who was used to Windows 7 a Windows 8 device and they would flounder. Give the same person, coming from Windows 7, a Windows 10 device, and they will think the start menu a little odd, but they will be able to use it without issue.

  14. cheetahdriver

    I would hope that after the UK problems, a majority of these folks would understand that if they aren't airgapped, they pretty much don't have a choice. Either upgrade, or leave the doors unlocked when they go home.


    Of course, counting on the enlightened self interest of the masses is always a suckers bet.

  15. FalseAgent

    honest question....is there anything on Windows 7 that doesn't work on Windows 10? both hardware and software? I don't think there is a compatibility argument at all. There should be no extension. For those on Windows 7 that want updates so much, there's Windows 10 and all of its updates. Those who don't care about updates can stay on Windows 7.

    • warren

      In reply to FalseAgent:


      I've had a couple of games either not work at all on Windows 10, or require significant effort & community mods/patches. Thief (2014) comes to mind right away, but for the most part I'm referring to really old titles like Vampire: The Masquerade and some of the LucasArts Star Wars games.



    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      But what about those who don't want Windows 10, or who can't run Windows 10? You have a very black and white approach. Yes, they can stay on Win7 as you say, but Microsoft's problem here is that in 1 years time, they could still have ~500m Win7 boxes out there - getting no patches. Can MS really just turn their back on them? Sure, big companies will pay for extended support - for a time, but MS could just throw everyone else on the fire.

      In a nutshell, Win10 hasn't been the OS people want, no matter what MS wants.

      • AnOldAmigaUser

        In reply to ghostrider:

        Those who don't want Windows 10 are free to continue using Windows 7. It will not be supported, but it will not stop working. It will not be supported; so that when security patches for Windows 10 come out, hackers can check the details to see if Windows 7 was also affected and develop exploits. It will not stop working. It will be less and less secure.

        Those worried about security can air gap it and continue running an OS they are enamored of. Those who are not concerned about security may or may not have their computers compromised, but whatever.

        There are still people running Windows XP connected to the internet. Is it a bad idea? Yes. Is it their prerogative? Yes.

      • akarpo

        In reply to ghostrider:


        If you don't want Windows 10, switch to another platform. Microsoft doesn't owe you anything beyond what they've disclosed for the EoL timeline for the product you've purchased.


        If you don't like the terms and duration of time under which the OS is supported, LEAVE. And please do everyone a favor, stop coming to complain about it here. Go find some other community to enjoy.

      • dontbe evil

        In reply to ghostrider:

        nothing, same thing was for win95->95, 98->xp, xp->vista, vista->7, 7->8....


        now let me ask you one thing, let's say you develop an OS and overall you spent 10.000$ (development, salaries, bills...), you sell 500 copies for 100$ = 50.000$ ... you support it for 3 years, cost: 30.000$ ... till now you earned 10.000$ . why you should keep supporting and pay for it?

  16. madthinus

    One can add Internet Explorer 9 and 11 as mayor features ;-)

  17. Informed

    Reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10 that stand for Microsoft to resolve:

    1) Feature updates that are more frequent than the yearly iOS or Android releases. Even with iOS and Android the choice to upgrade to a later version is yours and no matter how many times it pops up asking you to upgrade it will not automatically upgrade without your consent.

    2) Along the lines of #1, feature updates can remove functionality that a particular user wants. I for example do not want to wake up one day and see that the traditional Notepad or WMP was trashed and replaced by an unproven (and often lacking) App version. And if that happens (because that's the way of technology) then I will upgrade at my own pace and convenience but, again, don't want to have this change foisted upon me before I have the time to be prepared at my own pace.

    3) Forced restarts to upgrade, whereby all open windows (saved or not) are closed and the computer is inaccessible during the update which, even if wanted, occurs at the wrong time for me. Contrast to Windows 7 where one can indefinitely select Remind me in (10 minutes / 4 hours) and even when those 4 hours are up the computer will not restart on its own when the user steps away but will simply resurface the reminder.


    In short I will be happy to upgrade to Windows 10 as it is now (and again, I'd upgrade when convenient for me such as a time I have off from work) but I and many other users don't have the time or interest for a version of Windows that's continuously in flux with updates that are forced upon us not-at-our-convenience as well as features being removed from time to time without the user's active consent.


    Microsoft stands to reduce their paternalism down to the level of iOS and Android where yearly updates are opt-in at the user's convenience and not forced to the computer. Treating Windows like Chrome where updates are nonstop is a great strategy for the common-folk who can never even name the version of Windows they're running, but in maintaining this policy Microsoft contributes to some bad-blood with fans that, while they do move, move at a slower pace. What do you think Microsoft can do that it hasn't already to entice Windows 7 users to upgrade?

    • warren

      In reply to Informed:


      Windows 10 1803 and later don't arbitrarily reboot while you're in the middle of something to do updates. Anyone using an Insider Preview version and is getting upgrades every couple of weeks can attest to this.


      The upgrades are scheduled outside of the times you use your computer -- and you can also tell it when exactly you want the upgrade to happen, and you can tell it a daily time period where it should never run updates. No nagging every 4 hours. Windows 10 is a lot better than that.

      • Informed

        In reply to warren: don't arbitrarily reboot while you're in the middle of something

        "In the middle of something" is the key word and what makes Windows 10 worse. I don't want Windows to decide that because I don't have my hand glued to the mouse it can restart because I'm technically outside the times I'm using the computer. I want to be able to walk away from my computer with windows open, either with it on or in Sleep mode, and come back to it with the same windows open. Even better, walk away with no windows open and come back to it without being locked out for half an hour because Windows 10 decided to install upgrades. Why can't Microsoft gives their users a choice in the settings? Or even via the registry for that matter. Side-by-side with iOS and Android, Windows 10 forced-upgrades are very draconian. The former OS's will never automatically go through feature upgrades (and for iOS, not even security updates) without the user's active consent.


        In Windows 7 I can leave my computer unrestarted for 3 months(!) if I want and only when I'm ready restart the computer (and with that have Windows Updates installed - if I choose which of course I will). Sure Windows 10 won't nag every 4 hours; it'll just push the restart when it decides you're not using the computer (in spite of open windows). Non-pro users cannot tell Windows 10 to postpone upgrade beyond a relatively short period of time, now can they?


        Like I said Microsoft can continue along the same upgrade strategy (and of course when I get a new computer I'll have no choice but to deal with it). But will I, and other Windows 7 holdouts, downgrade an old computer to the unpredictability of Windows 10? No thank you Microsoft. Give users the option to stop forced updates and handle updating like Windows 7 still does and my answer will be 'yes, I'll be glad to upgrade to Windows 10.'

        • warren

          In reply to Informed:


          So basically what you're saying is, what you're doing is

          a) so important that couldn't possibly stop for a reboot, but

          b) isn't important enough to ensure that your system is secure


          We're also talking one reboot a month vs., what, one reboot every three months? Are you really -that- sensitive to having to relaunch a couple of programs or whatever every four-ish weeks? If this is indeed critical, take a few minutes to write a script that'll get everything up and running again.


          If whatever job you're doing requires 24/7/365 uptime, then a non-redundant Windows client operating system isn't for you anyways. Get a second computer and distribute the workload if it's that critical.


        • digiguy

          In reply to Informed:

          Great post man, thanks for saying so well what I have been trying to say here and elsewhere...

          The real problem with Windows 10 are forced reboots and updates that break things... Not the overblown telemetry paranoia that takes minutes to disable.

          Windows 10 1803 will reboot in 1 hour if you choose the option "another time", without any warning.... or if you simply are not at your pc and bad luck if you have unsaved work...

          Also 1803 has broken GPU hardware acceleration in several of my machines (and in tons of others according to posts all over the internet), so if you use a software that uses it, you'll have issues...(unless the OEM updates the driver, which most of the times does not happen, not even with 2 year old machines)

          MS believes this will make Windows better and more secure, instead it will only push people outside of windows... I have always been a Windows supporter and I am the tech guy for many people around me... I am now actively pushing people towards other platforms like ChromeOS, buying a used Mac, etc by telling them that Windows 10 has become unreliable with their updates, that they can break the pc and that will reboot whenever they want and make them lose unsaved files... MS is shooting themselves in the foot with updates and I have turned from a fan into a semi-hater lately. Hopefully they come back to sanity before too many people leave...


          • MikeGalos

            In reply to digiguy:

            So you're saying the big problem for you is a broken OEM driver that the OEM won't fix even though it's less than 2 years old and yet you not only blame Microsoft but don't even mention the OEM.

            • Greg Green

              In reply to MikeGalos:

              It’s MS that broke the driver. It used to work, then MS changed something and it stopped working.

              • Jackwagon

                In reply to Greg Green:

                Unfortunately, a lot of the time when something like this happens it's because the software was either a) doing something it shouldn't do or b) doing something in a way it shouldn't be doing it. For a long time, Microsoft had to configure Windows in such a way as to accommodate programs that didn't always comply with guidelines. This has been a common reason for many of the issues with Windows.


                Of course, the assumption that something is wrong with Windows 10 in this case is arguably logical (if something worked before a change, but didn't work after, many would assume that the change was the cause), but practically every time this happens, it's because a program was not following guidelines and the guidelines are now being enforced.

  18. bharris

    Large customers have or will upgrade but for small businesses and home users, I think a large percentage do not understand the risk of running unpatched systems. Unfortunately, a lot of non-technical people think of their PC as an appliance and unless it isn't working, they just don't care about or want to change it.

  19. Untitled1

    I expect that they have every intention of extending support for Win7, but they don't want to say so publicly because they know at least some percentage of the user base will go ahead and upgrade rather than rolling the dice. And the looming threat is helpful to admins who have been begging indifferent managers for the resources to upgrade.

  20. justme

    The side effect of Windows 7 only ever having one service pack and not really getting new features - its stable. I cant read your linked article until next month, but right now I cannot envision a scenario where the end of life for Windows 7 brings about a massive upgrade to 10. The people who were going to upgrade likely already have. For those who are left, given the hardware limits 7 imposes I suspect they will keep what they have until their hardware dies. My prediction is that Windows 7 will out-XP XP.

    • Jackwagon

      In reply to JustMe:

      One issue with this is that the service pack was shipped in 2011, and there was numerous other patches to Windows 7 since then. In fact, in 2016, they had released a roll-up of patches for fresh installs/reinstalls* (although the roll-up had not been accessible via Windows Update upon initial release, if at all).


      * https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/05/windows-7-now-has-a-service-pack-2-but-dont-call-it-that/

    • dontbe evil

      In reply to JustMe:

      nothing strange, till windows 7 windows had only service packs and not new features

  21. MattHewitt

    It would be interesting to know when Microsoft extended support for XP each time? Like was it 6 months prior to the deadline?


    I think opening up the free offer would entice some of the smaller businesses to upgrade again. There is probably some number of businesses (not saying large) that weren't willing to bite the bullet within Windows 10's unproven first year. Since then, companies have purchased new hardware with Windows 10 on them and are more familiar / have mitigated all of the issues you run into with Windows 10. They might be willing to bite on a free upgrade now.


    For instance, we have 90 or so PCs where I work that need to make the upgrade. I'm unwilling to pay $200 per PC to license the Windows 10 Upgrades. (I would rather spend the money on new hardware.) Unfortunately I don't have the money to purchase hardware replacements for all 90 PCs. I would in-place upgrade these machines immediately at no cost (other than the pain and suffering of in-place upgrading them.) just to extend support.

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