IN EXACTLY ONE YEAR'S TIME, Microsoft will cease to support its venerable Windows 7 operating system.
Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended back in January 2015, but extended support, whereby Microsoft continues to deliver updates and fixes any vulnerabilities in the OS, runs for a further five years.
This will come to a halt on 14 January 2020, however, when Microsoft stops supporting the OS completely. This means no more bug-fixes, security patches or new functionality, making any user - personal or enterprise - significantly more susceptible to malware attacks.
Microsoft's end of support date will also encourage other companies to stop supporting Windows 7, too, which means applications will eventually stop working.
Just as it did with Windows XP, Microsoft will continue to offer support for those Windows 7 users still reluctant to upgrade to its bork-prone Windows 10 OS, but it'll cost you. Prices will vary depending on volume (charges are per machine), and how far out from the EoL date we are. So by January 2023, which forms the absolute stop date, stragglers could be paying a pretty penny.
If you're still using Windows 7, you're not alone. The latest figures from Netmarketshare showed that more than 36 per cent of PC owners are still clinging onto the venerable OS, being overtaken by Windows 10 - which claims 39.22 per cent - for the first time in December.
Things get worse when you look at the enterprise. According to Kollective, which is counting down to the death of Windows 7 on its website, as many as 43 per cent of enterprises are still running Microsoft's nine-year-old operating system.
The firm's research shows that, worse still, 17 per cent of IT departments didn't know when Microsoft's end of support deadline hit, while six per cent were aware of the date but hadn't yet started planning for their migration away from Windows 7.
Windows 8 is next on Microsoft's chopping block, with extended support set to cease come January 2023. µ
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