WINDOWS 7 has reached an important milestone that begins its long, slow descent into obscurity and eventually end of life, where it will doubtless continue to command more market share than its successor.
Today, Microsoft's most popular operating system, which currently commands 56.26 percent of global reach, according to Net Applications' Netmarketshare service, ends 'Mainstream Support' and moves into a phase of life known as 'Extended Support'.
But before you start panicking, this isn't the end. Yet. The move to Extended Support essentially means that Windows 7 is finished.
There will be no new features, no new whistles and bells and, providing it ain't broke, they won't fix it. But security updates and other bug fixes will continue, right up until 2020, by which time Microsoft will be beta testing Windows 12.
In the meantime, it's more or less business as usual for Windows 7 users. This is just another part of the cycle of life at Microsoft.
The next big event is in April 2017, when Windows Vista, a version almost as derided as Windows 8, reaches end of life, a milestone achieved by Windows XP at the same time last year.
Windows 7 went off general sale at the end of October last year, with the exception of the Enterprise edition, which remains available, for a price.
As ever, this date relates only to copies that have all the latest updates installed. In the case of Windows 7, this is Service Pack 2.
Windows 8 has not had a Service Pack in the traditional sense, but end of support has already been announced for customers who have not updated to Windows 8.1, the incremental version that undid a lot of the major damage from its predecessor.
Windows XP reached the giddy heights of three Service Packs in its lifetime. However, after end of life a programmer designed and released an unofficial Service Pack 4 to appeal to the large number of people who could not or would not upgrade. µ
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