Feeds

PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

Redmond refuses to set cutoff date for Metro-free biz PC sales

A new approach to endpoint data protection

It seems businesses will be able to order new PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled, rather than Windows 8, for a bit longer than we previously thought – although we don't yet know for just how long.

According to an update to Microsoft's lifecycle policy first spotted by Redmond-watcher Mary Jo Foley on Friday, the date when OEMs must stop selling PCs with Windows 7 Professional preinstalled is "not yet established."

In December, Redmond published a cutoff date of October 30, 2014 for all versions of Windows 7. But it recanted a few days later, saying the announcement was in error and that the actual date was still "TBD."

On Friday, the lifecycle website was updated to indicate that hardware makers must indeed stop preinstalling Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows 7 Ultimate on new PCs on October 31, 2014 – just one day later than was previously announced. So if you're in the market for a new consumer PC and you don't want Windows 8, you'd better move before the end of the year.

No stop date was given for Windows 7 Professional, however, and a note at the bottom of the page says that Microsoft will give one year's notice before the eventual expiry date arrives – meaning new Windows 7 Professional PCs will be available through business sales channels through February 15, 2015, at the very earliest.

It's an interesting turn of events, since a separate Microsoft website lists the date that mainstream support for all versions of Windows 7 will end as January 13, 2015. Customers who want it supported longer will have to pay extra.

That could very well change, of course. According to web analytics firm Net Applications, Windows 7 is easily Microsoft's most widely installed OS, with a market share of 47.49 per cent of all desktop PCs.

Customers still seem to want it, too – enough so that HP recently advertised that it would resume shipping PCs with either the Home or Pro versions of Windows 7 preinstalled "by popular demand."

And as much as Microsoft would like to get its corporate customers on board Windows 8, its most pressing challenge is to migrate them away from Windows XP, a 2001-vintage version that still commands 29.23 per cent of the OS market.

Mainstream support for Windows XP ended in 2009, and its for-pay extended support period is due to expire on April 8 of this year. Yet many enterprise customers are still only midway in the process of upgrading to a new version, which for many of them means Windows 7.

None of this must sit well with Redmond, which has made "rapid cadence" the new mantra for its software teams. Windows 8.1 is just four months old, yet Microsoft plans to ship a significant update to it this spring, followed by a major release next year that some say will actually be called Windows 9.

If the last part is true, it means that all of the customers who are only now upgrading their Windows XP systems to Windows 7 will be stuck about three major versions behind, come 2015 – just like they are now. ®

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage
Fruity firm provides digital balm for furious fanbois
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?