Microsoft ends free support for Windows 7
Today is the day that Microsoft ends free support for Windows 7 - marking its slow slide into obsolescence despite retaining a strong user base.
Computers running the operating system, which was released in 2009, will continue to work as before but Microsoft will no longer help with any problems which crop up - unless it's paid to do so.
The company will continue to release security updates for any flaws or vulnerabilities until the “extended support date” of January 14 2020.
The move is the first step towards obsolescence for the five-year-old operating system. But the software is still widely used, accounting for 55 per cent of the world’s PCs in a recent report.
In fact, PC manufacturers are still selling new machines with Windows 7 installed, buying licences from Microsoft. And the company has said that there will be a year's notice before it stops offering them as a product, with no word yet, so it seems that Windows 7 will live on for some time yet.
Since Windows 7 the company has already launched Windows 8, skipped the number 9 and made significant preparations towards the Windows 10 launch. The new version will run on desktops, mobiles and tablets and is expected to go on sale in the middle of the year.
Last year Microsoft’s Windows XP was due to reach this second deadline, at which point even security updates would cease, which critics said would be a “starting pistol for hackers”.
However, the company slashed the cost of custom support agreements in the final days before the deadline, reportedly so that those companies which could not afford a deal would not be left unprotected.