TORONTO – Microsoft is pulling the plug on mainstream support for Windows 7 users in the new year.
On January 13, 2015, users running the four-year-old operating system will no longer receive new features or service packs from the technology giant.
“End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance,” reads the Microsoft website.
“This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed.”
In April, Microsoft ended extended support for Windows XP, leaving users without any technical support or security updates. This means users still running the 12-year-old operating system are left vulnerable to viruses and malware that could put their information at risk.
But Windows 7 isn’t following XP to the grave just yet.
The end of mainstream support means that the operating system will no longer be eligible for new features from Microsoft; however, Windows 7 users will still receive critical security patches through the extended support program.
Extended support will be offered for Windows 7 until January 2020.
The downside for Windows 7 users is that new programs and features may not be compatible with their machine.
“Even if an operating system is no longer available for purchase or support through Microsoft, that operating system may still work with programs and with hardware that become available after sale or support of for such operating system is discontinued,” reads Microsoft’s products support lifecycle page.
“However, as an operating system grows older, the chance that new programs will not run well on the operating system increases.”
Windows 7 has remained fairly popular since its release – as many as 50 per cent of the world’s PCs are running the operating system, by some estimates.
Some of this is due to the poor reception of Windows 8, the company’s latest operating system.
Retail sales of Windows 7 Professional, Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate will end on October 31, 2014.