Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 back in January 2015. Shortly after, it released Windows 10, allowing Windows 7 and 8.x users one year to upgrade to its latest operating system free of charge - but this offer did not apply to enterprise users. It also stopped OEMs from selling PCs with Windows 7 and 8.1 near the end of 2016, and even disallowed them from purchasing licenses for the obsolete operating systems.
That said, it still transitioned the aforementioned operating systems to a Windows-10 inspired update model in which cumulative updates are provided. However, with Windows 7 approaching its end of extended support in less than three years, Microsoft is once again cautioning enterprise customers and other users to upgrade to Windows 10.
Windows 7 will reach its end of extended support on January 14, 2020 - which leaves three years for users of the operating system to upgrade to Windows 10. To that end, Microsoft is encouraging users - particularly organizations - to upgrade to the latest version of its OS, cautioning that after the expiration of the aforementioned deadline, no security updates or technical support will be provided.
In a new blog post, the company says that continued usage of Windows 7 increases maintenance and operating costs for businesses. Similarly, time is needlessly wasted on combating malware attacks that could have been avoided by upgrading to Windows 10. Microsoft also says that many hardware manufacturers do not provide drivers for Windows 7 any longer, and many developers and companies refrain from releasing programs on the outdated operating system.
Markus Nitschke, Head of Windows at Microsoft Germany, had the following to say about Windows 7:
Today, it does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments. As early as in Windows XP, we saw that companies should take early steps to avoid future risks or costs.
With Windows 10, we offer our customers the highest level of security and functionality at the cutting edge.
Microsoft further pointed out that its obsolete operating system is based on "long-outdated security architectures". It also cautioned that companies and businesses who still utilize it are more susceptible to cyber attacks.
The company stated that enterprise customers using Windows 7 should upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible because of its set of integrated security features, Windows Store for Business, and flexible management and simplified development for enterprise IT. It stated that with the Creators Update in spring, other users will also be able to enjoy mixed reality and "comprehensive innovation" in the gaming department on Windows 10 devices.