What happens when Microsoft ends Windows 7 mainstream support next year

Next January, Microsoft will end mainstream support for Windows 7. But relax. That won't be end of the popular operating system.

Ian Gale heard that Windows 7 will be "finished next year." The truth is far from that.

On January 13, 2015, Microsoft will stop mainstream support for Windows 7--which is still an extremely popular operating system. But you'll still be able to use it safely for another five years.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

This isn't anything like the run-up to the end of XP support back in April, when everyone in the tech press (including me) warned you about dire consequences if you continued to use XP. That was the end of extended support, which is far more serious than the end of mere mainstream support.

Once mainstream support ends, there will be no more service packs. Microsoft won't redesign the environment or add new features. Without a special extended agreement, you won't get patches for bugs that don't result in a security threat.

But if you like Windows 7, you probably don't really need new service packs, and you certainly don't want a redesigned user interface. As long as Microsoft patches vulnerabilities that could become security risks, Windows 7 remains a safe operating system.

Microsoft doesn't plan to stop fixing security problems in Windows 7 until extended support ends. That's January 14, 2020--five years and a day from the end of mainstream support.

If that doesn't put you at ease, consider this: XP's mainstream support ended in April, 2009. It caused no problems whatsoever. Millions continued to use XP for another five years without people like me warning them of dire consequences. Windows 7 won't be any different.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftsecurityWindowsWindows 7softwareoperating systems

More about Microsoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lincoln Spector

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place