Windows 7 end of life January 2020

Support for Windows 7 is nearing the end : January 2020

Windows 7 will be a decade old when Microsoft discontinues support for the legacy OS on January 14, 2020.

The only users to receive Windows 7 extended security updates (ESUs) will be businesses and education customers willing to pay for extended support. Such paying customers will get an extra three years by paying per-user fees to Microsoft that double each year. Many line of business software applications may have problems with Windows 10 and even now not all third party software providers are up to date and this can lead to a very unpleasant surprise for a business owner moving to Windows 10.

Microsoft Windows OS end of support timeline
Microsoft Windows OS end of support timeline

Microsoft released this news about a coming notification to appear for Windows 7 users from April 2019. Quoting Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows, Matt Barlow:

To help our customers get advanced notice of this change, we are reaching out with information and resources. Beginning next month, if you are a Windows 7 customer, you can expect to see a notification appear on your Windows 7 PC. This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you’ll be able to select an option for “do not notify me again,” and we will not send you any further reminders.

What does end of support mean?

When Windows 7 reaches end of support on 14 January 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide the following:
  • Technical support for any issues
  • Software updates
  • Security updates or fixes

Please check the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet on the Microsoft web site for more information.

While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware.

For the moment, at least, Windows 7 users can still get Windows 10 for free [unofficially] by using their current Windows 7 license key when activating Windows 10. Microsoft does  not openly acknowledge that this works, but it does grant you a genuine Windows 10 license upon activation. I have upgraded several Windows 7 owners to Windows using this method during March 2019.

Windows 7 Upgrade to Windows 10 - Free
Windows 7 Upgrade to Windows 10 – Free

Windows 7 users do have other options including upgrading to Windows 8.1 which is still supported for another three years, staying on Windows 7, or migrating to one of the many flavors of Linux. Remaining on Windows 7 would be a bad security choice. Using third-party antivirus software after January 14 will not protect you from an attacker taking advantage of any Windows 7 OS vulnerabilities that pop up after support and new updates have ended.

The notification won’t specifically mention upgrading to Windows 10, but it will warn of the date of support and link to microsoft.com/windows7, a site that will encourage consumers to upgrade to Windows 10 or purchase a more modern Computer device.

Microsoft states that the notification will only be displayed a “handful” of times during 2019, and these notifications will stop once Windows 7 support ends in January 2020.

Microsoft has not yet revealed the appearance of the coming notification due for Windows 7 users next month. This is to prevent malicious “pretenders” do not try and re-create the notification and trick Windows 7 users with malicious malware. The prompt looks similar to the original Windows 10 upgrade notifications, and it will be made clear it is a genuine notice from Microsoft.

It seems likely that the coming notifications will have a similar look and feel to them as the notifications that Microsoft displayed on Windows XP systems back in 2014 when that version of Windows was about to reach the end of its support lifetime.

Windows XP end of support notification
Windows XP end of support notification

The older “Windows XP systems” notification listed the end of support date for the operating system, a link to open a web page with additional information, and an option to select “don’t show this message again” to block the popup notification from being displayed again on the system.

It remains to be seen if Microsoft will offer a path to “Get Windows 10”, even though Microsoft have it said it would not, later in that year.

Windows 10 is now running on more than 800 million devices. This is a higher figure than the current Windows 7 market share of 36.9 percent.

Windows 10 will now automatically remove updates that affect Windows Startup

In other Windows 10 news, this platform is now able to remove automatically any updates that cause boot issues.

Windows 10 now removes updates effecting Startup
Windows 10 now removes updates effecting Startup

If a computer fails to start after a Windows 10 update and reboot, users will likely see a notification that reads: “We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure.”

Microsoft states that this will only happen when all other automatic recovery attempts have been unsuccessful.

Once an update has been removed, Windows 10 will prevent the same update from installing automatically for a 30 day period, giving Microsoft and its technical partners time to investigate and [hopefully] fix any issues with the failed update.

Microsoft has stated that all editions of Windows 10 will receive this feature.