First, the good news: Microsoft has extended the end-of-life date for PCs that come pre-installed with Windows 7. Now for the bad news: It won’t matter to you unless you’re willing to splurge on a business machine, as the stay of execution only affects computers pre-loaded with Windows 7 Professional.
Computers packing the consumer versions of Windows 7—Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate—still have a date with the chopping block on October 31, as we reported last year.
Microsoft officials said erroneous information about Windows 7’s death sentence was posted online in December, but most of the details about the system remain the same in the end-of-sales chart updated today on Microsoft’s website (and first reported by ZDNet). Allowing Windows 7 Professional PCs to stick around for a yet-to-be-established amount of time is Microsoft’s only new tweak.
Shad Larsen, Microsoft’s senior business program manager, told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley that the extension was unrelated to Windows XP’s demise, however. Office 2003 will be officially abandoned on the same day as Windows XP, April 8.
The end of mainstream support for Windows 7—read: no more general patches and fixes—is still scheduled for January 14, 2015. Once that date hits, Microsoft will continue to provide security fixes for Windows 7 through 2020. Sales of boxed copies of Windows 7 technically bit the dust in October 2013, though you can still find plenty on retail sites like Newegg and Amazon. Sounds like you’d better stock up if Windows 8 isn’t your thing.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.