Yesterday, Microsoft posted up a page entitled Products Reaching End of Support in the Second Half of 2014, and the result was a bunch of misconceived, dire warnings proliferated across the global web.
Microsoft is warning customers that the end is soon coming for Windows 7 in much the same way it came for Windows XP earlier this year. Microsoft will end free mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015. That means no more security patches if hackers find holes, no more updated features or performance improvements.
This was not a unique statement, I'm calling this out as a good example.
Yes, Windows 7 reaches end of support on January 13, 2015 along with Windows Server 2008, but the important piece here is that it is Mainstream support. This is not at all similar to Windows XP as stated in the cited article. When Windows XP reached end of life, it was done, kaput, belly up, pining for the fjords, kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain, joined the bleeding choir invisible, and its metabolic processes are now history.
Windows 7 only moves into Extended support. The cited site got a bit of it right. Extended support means that Windows 7's features will no longer be updated or new improvements made, nor will any further service packs be developed and distributed, but this DOES NOT mean that the operating system will stop receiving free security updates.
Taken from Microsoft's Lifecycle Policy page, the following table explains the situation quite well:
So, rest easy. Windows 7 Extended support runs through January 14, 2020, giving you plenty of time to plan your migrations to a newer operating system. With Windows 7 gaining in market share (sitting over 51% right now), it's clear that most organizations have opted to skip Windows 8 and just wait to see what Windows 9 will bring.
It seems Microsoft has learned a lesson or two from the Windows XP retirement fiasco and it's great to see the company is attempting to reach out long before the situation becomes critical. Let's just hope the company doesn't give up and just assumes a standing web page notification will be enough.