There’s speculation on whether Microsoft will continue its support of Windows 7 until 2020, or if they don’t plan on even patching it now that new PCs won’t support it. But what’s known is that Windows 8 passed its extended support end date this past January. If you’re still running it, that means that OS is now a prolonged security risk; no more bug fixes or security updates and the only exceptions are organizations who bought costly extensions that last a year.
While Microsoft typically supports their OSes for ten years, Windows 8 was introduced just five years ago and they’ve already put it aside. With it making up barely 3% of all operating systems, this news comes as no real surprise. Users who’ve looked at Microsoft’s support page may be confused because it states they’ll patch it until 2023. And that’s true, to a degree. If you installed 8.1 within two years after it was introduced, that system will be what’s patched. To find this out you’d have to read the FAQ link for 8.1 but it’s not immediately clear that’s necessary. What isn’t known is why Microsoft didn’t end their support in November of last year, as was originally announced.
Windows 8.1 was rumored to have a second update but no confirmation has ever been made by Microsoft. Windows 10 on the other hand gets an automatic update at least once a month; its mainstream support date is 2020 and the extended support date is in October of 2025. Both have pretty solid timeframes so if you have either installed your device is reasonably secured. And unless Microsoft releases a service pack (possibly 10.1) neither are likely to change at this moment; though the company claims none are being released with Windows 10.
Microsoft has announced that new systems won’t support anything older than 10. So if you have an older system it might be a minor annoyance because you’re missing updates; or it won’t work properly at all. If you have a device with a new generation system from Intel or AMD, you won’t have to worry about this. But if you decide you don’t like Windows 10, you’ll just have to switch operating systems entirely. Or find hardware that’s still compatible with Windows 7 and 8.1, but both systems will only get updates when a bug threatens security. Anything else you’ll have to deal with. Microsoft has shown no interest in making sure the program continues to run smooth until extended support ends. They’re putting all of their efforts into Windows 10 and the cloud, which would allow sharing among your devices.
For businesses that are generally slower to pick up new technology to make sure of its stability, Microsoft is allowing some Skylake (an Intel processor) systems to run until 2017. At that point it’ll be clear whether or not Windows 10 is a success or another failure like 8. During this time companies will have time to buy up to date equipment and implement all the updates they’ll need. The Broadwell Intel processors are, currently, still widely sold and can be used by those who still don’t want to make the upgrade.
These changes may not win them many fans among consumers but works well for Microsoft and any hardware suppliers they’re partnered with. Those suppliers don’t have to keep producing devices that can support both old and new OSes at the same time. Microsoft almost gets to guarantee its consumer base buys its product because they’ve taken the other choices away. And they fulfill any obligations they have without expending extra resources.