The world's most popular operating system, Windows 7, takes another step toward its grave as Microsoft stopped selling licenses to PC makers.
This means that OEMs can no longer preload Windows 7 onto their machines from now on, but that's hardly a surprise. The 7-year-old OS has already stretched out its lifespan quite a lot, considering that Microsoft previously intended to stop selling Windows 7 licenses in 2014. A two-year extension is nothing to scoff at, but it's still sad news for Windows 7 diehards.
Windows 10 Is The Only Choice For Computer Manufacturers
As of Oct. 31, 2016, Microsoft is no longer selling Windows 7 Professional or any Windows 8.1 version to OEMs, in accordance with its Windows Lifecycle rules. This leaves computer makers with only one choice — Windows 10 — if they want to preload Windows on their devices. Not exactly surprising news, however.
This was a long-time coming considering that the original deadline to stop selling Windows 7 Professional licenses was Oct. 31, 2014. Microsoft decided back then to stop selling only consumer licenses, leaving the door open to Windows 7 Professional to be preloaded on more computers and promising to offer a warning one year before requiring OEMs to stop selling computers with that OS version. Microsoft issued that death sentence last year.
However, as Computerworld points out, organizations that have enterprise licensing agreements and Software Assurance in place can still buy new PCs and downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Windows 7-Powered PCs And Windows 7 Support
It' also worth pointing out that while Microsoft is pulling the plug, new Windows 7 Professional PCs will not disappear altogether effective immediately. OEMs can still use the licenses they still have in stock, so that should translate to a small grace for the old OS.
Various PC makers and sellers are still offering Windows 7-powered PCs for now, but only running the Professional Edition. Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate had their end-of-sales date on Oct. 31, 2014, preventing OEMs from selling any more PCs running these editions.
When it comes to support, meanwhile, all Windows 7 editions are still in the extended period support until Jan. 14, 2020. This means that Windows 7 users have just over three years to move to a newer OS, like it or not. Extended support for Windows 8.1 is set to cease on Jan. 10, 2023, but this particular OS version has never really been well-received.
If you're still planning on purchasing a PC with Windows 7 Professional on board, you might want to hurry. Stock may run out soon and it will not replenish.