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Windows 7 and 8.1 hardware support ending?

Posted by Michael Trimblett on 25 January 2016
Windows 7 and 8.1 hardware support ending?

If you own a system with an Intel 6th generation Core processor (most new computers these days) and run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you'll have to think about upgrading to Windows 10 within the next 18 months.  Or is this what Microsoft wants you to think?  Whilst Microsoft has not come out and said it in so many words, they have released a statement https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/01/15/windows-10-embracing-silicon-innovation/ of which it partly describes their reasoning for pushing Windows 10 so hard:

"At the same time, we know many of these customers continue to rely on Windows 7 for its well understood reliability and compatibility. Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago before any x86/x64 SOCs existed. For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7's expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states- which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security, and more. As partners make customizations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing."

So what does this all mean?  Their main reason seems to revolve around the arguement of SOC (Systems On a Chip) technology.  This has substantially changed the underlying architecture for which all modern systems operate and Microsoft do not want to continue to support newer technology on their dating operating systems.  Considering Microsoft have committed to supporting Windows 7 with security updates and other critical fixes until January 14, 2020 and Windows 8.1 until January 10, 2023, this announcement seems to indicate they are bringing forward the support end of life for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Microsoft are aiming this change squarely at the enterprise.  Reading between the lines, they do not want businesses to continue to purchase downgrade rights to Windows 7 when they purchase a new PC.  Home users typically don't care and will use the operating system that comes with the computer, but business users normally can't be that easy going.  Yes, you will continue to receive critical patch updates for your Windows 7 or 8.1 operating systems but when you purchase a new PC, you will no longer be able to have Windows 7 or 8.1 installed from the factory, it will need to be Windows 10 after July 17, 2017.  But what if you need Windows 7 because Windows 10 is not supported by your line-of-business applications?  Microsoft will say "too bad".  How can we beat Microsoft at their own game?  If you are considering purchasing new computers or laptops in the coming year, you would be wise to purchase this equipment sooner rather than later.  PCs and Laptops purchased with a 3-year warranty now will take you to January 2019 (within 1 year of the sunsetting for Windows 7).  As we have seen recently with the Windows XP end of life, Windows 7 will become end of life in 2020 but, as with Windows XP, a smooth transition by the way of software compatibility will likely be available before Windows 7 becomes end of life in a little under 4 years time.

Loyal I.T. Solutions can still purchase PCs and laptops with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 installed from the manufacturer, so if you are in a position where you are thinking about updating your hardware, give Naomi at our office a call on 02 4337 0700 or drop her an email at reception@loyalit.com.au and we will be able to assist with the planning for your transition to new hardware, whether it be Windows 7, 8.1 or 10.

Author: Michael Trimblett
About: Michael has been in the information technology industry since 1998 and has a passion for everything technology. He has a technical background as a qualified network engineer and project manager and is committed to doing business in the I.T. industry ethically as prescribed by the Australian Computer Society's Code of Professional Conduct.
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Tags: IT Computer Maintenance Computer Software

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