Microsoft to discontinue Windows 7 and 8.1 next November
As written by Lance Whitney on Cnet.com
After October 31 next year, the only version of the software that will come on new devices will be Windows 10.
Still want to buy a PC that comes with Windows 7 or 8.1 from the get-go? You've got less than a year.
Updated late October, Microsoft's "Windows lifecycle fact sheet" shows October 31, 2016, as the "end of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled" for both Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1, a change spotted by CNET sister site ZDNet. After that date, the only choice for consumers will be to purchase new computers with Windows 10 installed. The lone exception will be businesses with license agreements that entitle them to choose which version of Windows they want preinstalled.
The deadline puts pressure on consumers who have grown comfortable with Windows 7 and are reluctant to upgrade their operating system if they buy a new PC. For Microsoft, it's a necessary step toward its goal of having Windows 10 power 1 billion devices, which underscores the company's message that the new software can tie together PCs, tablets and mobile phones with apps that can run on any of them.
Windows 7 users may not realize it, but they actually caught a break. Microsoft typically sets the end-of-sales date for each version of Windows two years after the release of a new version. That means Windows 7's cutoff date should have been in October 2014, two years after the launch of Windows 8. The lack of consumer demand for Windows 8 prompted Microsoft to keep Windows 7 alive longer than expected.
Users who want to continue running Windows 7 on their existing PCs need not worry. Extended technical support will be available until January 14, 2020, when you'll still be able to get security patches, bug fixes and other updates. The same type of support for Windows 8 will run until January 10, 2023.
Despite the extended deadline for Windows 7 and 8.1, Microsoft is heavily pushing Windows 10.
The new operating system, which launched at the end of July, is available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 users for the first year. Microsoft has been using frequent pop-up notices to remind those who reserved a copy to install the new operating system. The company has also classified Windows 10 as an "optional update" and early next year expects to change that to a "recommended update," Windows and Devices Group executive vice president Terry Myerson said last week.
Microsoft plans a fan-focused Windows 10 launch kick-off
Microsoft's multi-million-dollar Windows 10 ad and marketing campaign will be focused on 'upgrading the world' to the coming operating system release.
When Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 on July 29, it won't be holding a single news-focused centralized launch or a webcast chock full of PowerPoint slides.
Instead, Microsoft plans to play up "the newest generation of Windows fans," via a global advertising and online-marketing campaign, officials said on July 13.
On July 29, Microsoft will host a number of fan celebrations primarily for its 5 million Windows Insiders in 13 cities around the world, including Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, London, Berlin, Madrid, Singapore, Johannesburg, Nairobi, New Delhi, Dubai and New York City. At these events, there will be hands-on opportunities, demos, entertainments and "opportunities to meet the Windows team," company officials said.
Microsoft also will kick off the launch of Windows 10 in more than 110 Microsoft Stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico on the 29th, with in-store events designed to help customers upgrade to Windows 10.
The company is working on programs to help consumers upgrade. Retail partners engaged with Microsoft on these efforts include Best Buy, Dixons, Jarrir, Croma, Media Markt, Yodobashi, Incredible Connection, Elkjøp and Wal-Mart. Partners will help provide data migration services for moving files from old PCs to new PCs, and experience stations where people can try out Windows 10.
"From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique - built with feedback from our fans, delivered as a service and offered as a free upgrade. Our approach to launch is also unique - focused on a more aspirational goal, inspired by Windows 10," said Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, in a blog post outlining Microsoft's launch plans.
The theme of Microsoft's multi-million-dollar global ad and marketing campaign for Windows 10 is to "celebrate those who make a difference." Microsoft will promote a new wave of TV and digital ads that will highlight Windows 10's features, including Windows Hello biometric security technology and Microsoft Edge browser.
Microsoft also will be using the "Upgrade Your World" theme in its launch campaign. "Upgrade Your World" is Microsoft's year-long initiative to partner with 10 global and 100 local nonprofits "to help them upgrade the world." Microsoft will be investing $10 million in cash to the participating partners, which include CARE, Code.org, Keep a Child Alive, The Global Poverty Project, The Malala Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Pencils of Promise, Save the Children and Special Olympics.
Upcoming Windows 10 Roadshow Events