Microsoft Windows XP's successor Windows 7 is one of the widely used operating systems across the globe. To be precise, 50% of desktops and laptops in the world use Windows 7 OS. When Windows XP bit the dust, exodus of XP users and organizations migrated to the mighty Windows 7. However, the worrisome news is that Microsoft is planning to end the "mainstream support" for Windows 7, according to ZDNet.
But the silver lining is "end of mainstream" support for Windows 7, which suggests that the company will not bring out new features or enhancements except for the timely security updates and patches. Hence users should take note that "end of support" is different from "end of mainstream support." The underlying meaning of mainstream support in the Windows world translates to 5 years from the time of launch. In addition, there will be a time frame of extended OS support that should cover extra 5 years.
On that note, Windows 7 will switch to the extended support period starting Jan. 13, 2015 and it will last until Jan. 14, 2020. Therefore, Windows 7 users will still be supported by Microsoft albeit there will not be any new improvements offered.
It is worth noting that, more than individual Windows 7 users, this extended period would affect corporate and enterprises that require custom features built for their Windows OS.
With the recent advent of vulnerabilities, attacks and zero-day bugs, Microsoft will make sure that Windows 7 users are guarded from such vulnerabilities. Therefore, Windows 7 systems will receive security patches and fixes for another 5 years. Here is a list of other Microsoft products that will also see mainstream support end date in the near future. This comprehensive list is collated from WinBeta and ZDNet.
Mainstream Support End Date
Jan. 13, 2015
Windows Phone 7.8
Sep. 9, 2014
Dynamics C5 2010, Dynamics NAV 2009, Dynamics NAV 2009 R2, Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise, Exchange Server 2010 Standard, Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, Windows Server 2008 (few editions)
Service packs of Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010 Service Pack 3, Visual Studio 2012 Remote Tools, Visual Studio 2012 Test Professional, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8, Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop
Jan. 13, 2015
Office 2010 Service Pack 1, SharePoint Server 2010 Service Pack 1
Oct. 14, 2014
Windows Server 2003
July 14, 2015