Towards the end of last year it was sounding as though Windows 7 would no longer be available in any form after 31 October 2014 — meaning OEMs would not be able to sell computers with the operating system pre-installed. Today Microsoft announced that Windows 7 will remain available to business users through OEMs for a while longer, although no date has yet been set.
Take a look at the “Windows lifecycle factsheet” page and you’ll see that the home version of Windows 7 (Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate) are listed as having a retail sale end date of October 31, 2013 and system with these version of Windows 7 preinstalled will be available until October 31, 2014.
When it comes to Windows 7 Professional, the end of retails dates still stands at October 31, 2013, which has obviously come and gone. But now the “end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled” date is listed as “Not yet established”.
This in itself is not very helpful, but the page does point out that “Microsoft will provide one year of notice prior to the end of sale date”. This means that OEM versions of Windows 7 Professional will be available to buy until at least February 2015, and quite possibly beyond this date.
This creates and interesting dichotomy. Free support for Windows 7 is due to end in the middle of January 2015, but if the Pro version is still available for sale it would be odd to have different support system in place for operating systems that are incredibly similar. It’s not yet known if this date will be pushed back at all, but it will be interesting to see how things play out.Further reading: Microsoft, Windows 7