Today, January 14, marks the end of an era for the PC world and Windows. Microsoft is officially ending support for its most popular operating system to date. The 11-year-old OS has powered the operations of businesses and consumers for years. Now, it’s time to say goodbye.
As such, this is a perfect opportunity to look back on everything that changed because of Windows 7 and look ahead and what comes next.
A New Way of Doing Things
When Windows 7 launched with its catchy “Windows 7 was my idea” campaign, it was clear that Microsoft wanted to fix the problems plaguing Windows Vista. The much-needed upgrade certainly succeeded in that aspect.
Windows 7 introduced users to a new way of doing things. Features like an updated task bar made finding settings and programs easier than ever. File libraries sped up the process of locating documents and photos. It also introduced an update to the Aero window management system, providing users with a cleaner, simpler graphical experience.
With all of these incredible features, it’s easy to see why Windows 7 became so popular. It has been the chosen OS of companies, hospitals, schools, and many consumers ever since its release. As such, it’s been difficult to convince people to give it up.
No one likes major changes—especially when they’re already used to a certain system. Perhaps that’s why it took more than four years for Windows 10 to surpass Windows 7 in market share. Despite the fact that Microsoft has offered free upgrades and a host of programs to encourage users to make the leap, many have been reluctant.
In fact, according to Netmarketshare, more than 26 of all PCs still run Windows 7. That massive percentage will now be exposed to security vulnerabilities starting today once Microsoft ends support for the beloved OS.
Of course, these people can’t say they weren’t warned. Microsoft has been reminding them throughout 2019 that support would soon be ending. For personal users still running Windows 7, it’s important to upgrade as soon as possible to keep your device secure with the latest updates.
Really the End?
Despite the fact that Microsoft is officially ending its support for Windows 7, the OS might remain stubborn for a while longer. Estimates suggest that it may take another year or two for it to drop below 10 percent in market share. Even that number is higher than Microsoft would like.
However, factors like Google’s continued Chrome support for Windows 7 through 2021 won’t help convince users to upgrade.
Due to the continued popularity of Windows 7, Microsoft is in a difficult spot. Although it is officially ending support, it might be forced to issue some public security patches in the future to keep users safe.
For those that are truly stubborn, Microsoft will offer extended updates for Windows 7 Enterprise at the cost of $25 per machine. Windows 7 Pro users can get the same offer for $50. However, those prices will double annually starting in 2021.
Although businesses are a different case, personal users should start getting familiar with Windows 10 if they haven’t already. Though its sad to say goodbye to a favorite OS, it is finally time to let Windows 7 retire in peace.