STOP ALL THE CMOS CLOCKS, cut off the Skype connection. Today sees the last day that computer manufacturers (OEMs) will be able to buy licences for Windows 7 for preinstallation on machines, effectively marking the beginning of a long drawn out death for the beloved operating system.
Although Windows 7 has years of extended support left, from tomorrow any new computer will have Windows 8.1 aboard, at least until Windows 10 gets a proper launch late next year, with Microsoft also halting retail sales of Windows 8.
The Enterprise edition will continue to be available as a loophole for businesses and anyone willing to pay the premium, but for the average Joe computer buyer, this is it.
With the advent of Windows 8.1 with Bing, the subsidised OEM version of Windows 8, the gulf in cost between Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8 will be so great that only the dedicated naysayer, deep of pocket, will buy a Windows 7 machine.
Of course, the OEMs are fully aware of what's to come and you can safely expect that, in the run up to Christmas, stockpiled Windows 7 licences will be loaded into special offer bundles just in time for the festive season.
At the start of the year, HP launched a promotion that brought Windows 7 "back by popular demand".
The next milestone will come on 13 January, when so-called 'mainstream support' will cease for Windows 7. This has spooked many people who thought it meant that it was going the way of XP, but in fact it simply means that the product is regarded as 'finished' and that future updates will be security updates and tweaks, rather than big changes or new features.
In fact, support for Windows 7 will continue right through to early 2020, by which time we will all be moaning about how awful Windows 13 is, assuming they haven't changed the numbering scheme to a series of inpenetrable Egyptian hieroglyphs.
At present, Windows 7 is by far the most used operating system in the world and has actually seen its market share increase to over 50 percent of machines worldwide during this year.
Whether this will change following the withdrawal of OEM licences, only time will tell. µ
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