Microsoft shut down official forum support for Windows 7 back in June last year, effectively pulling the plugs on the Microsoft Community Forum and ceasing any support from the end of Microsoft staff. It now appears that the company is finally ready to sunset Windows 7. Microsoft's updated Windows lifecycle fact sheet states that the company will end extended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, which means Microsoft won't release any more updates and security fixes after that date. So, if you're clinging to your old Windows 7-powered PC, there's only a year left.
Prior to the cessation of official forum support for Windows 7, Microsoft ended mainstream support for it in early 2015 and announced an extended timeline which ends on January 14, 2020. With that being said, Windows 7 users now have only one more year at their disposal before Microsoft ends all support for Windows 7, prompting users to shift to a newer version lest they risk being targeted by malware or cyber-attacks due to the paucity of security fixes. The end of Windows 7 extended support has been detailed on the company's Windows lifecycle fact sheet.
Microsoft explains that for regular consumers, extended support includes paid technical assistance, security updates, and paid non-security updates. Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the extended support phase. Notably, all this only applies to Windows 7 SP1 (Service Pack 1), and not the base version of the desktop operating system.
However, there is a silver lining for enterprise users. Microsoft announced in September last year that the company will offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) till January, 2023. But the company will charge a hefty premium for it as the Extended Security Updates for enterprise customers will be doled out on a per-device basis and the pricing will increase with each passing year. Also, the Extended Security Updates will be available for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users who sign up for volume licensing agreements. So, if you are a regular Windows 7 user, you are out of luck here.
Windows 7, which was released around a decade ago in 2009, still commands a sizeable user base in the Windows community. It was only in December last year that Windows 10 finally managed to overtake Windows 7's market share. As per Net Applications' data, Windows 10 commanded a market share of 39.22 percent as of December, while Windows 7 took the second spot with 36.9 percent share of the market. And even though Microsoft Edge is finally making its way to Windows 7, it is not a big enough reason to stick to an old platform that will stop receiving updates and security fixes in a year from now.