Windows 7 Mainstream Support Ending Soon, Microsoft Reminds Users, But Extended Support Will Kick In Till 2020

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Jul 08, 2014 04:11 PM EDT

Microsoft has issued a warning about the end of mainstream support for several Windows products, including all versions of the Windows 7 operating system.

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Mainstream support is a five-year window wherein Microsoft supplies free updates and fixes to a product related to both security and features, and this is what will be ending on January 13 -- but it does not mean the end of all Windows 7 updates.

As CNET points out, after mainstream support windows end, Microsoft continues to roll out free security updates in what is known as the extended support phase. This portion of the life cycle provides that service to keep the platform alive and protected, but does not see the release of any paid or premium updates. For Windows 7, the extended support period ends in January of 2020.

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As such, this does not represent the 'end of support' that we saw earlier this year with Windows XP, which meant that no more updates of any kind would be released. This opens up the platform to security risks such as viruses, as Microsoft does not continually release new measures to combat the latest security holes.

This may help Microsoft's efforts to move users to Windows 8, which has struggled in terms of both adoption and perception. Some may feel like they have to upgrade, but Windows 7 has been well-received and should remain updated for the foreseeable future.

End of supporting is approaching for Windows Sever 2003 this January, and mainstream support is also ending for all versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, as well as all editions of Windows Storage Server 2008 and Dynamics C5 2010, NAV 2009 and NAV 2009 R2.

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