Microsoft will stop providing updates and security patches for Windows 7. The changes will affect hundreds of millions of people because more than one-third of PCs use Windows 7, according to Net Market Share.
Windows 7 was a significant upgrade from Windows XP. Even the visuals were a big deal: Windows XP may be remembered fondly now, but many Windows users slammed it for its “Fisher-Price look” at the time. Windows 7 brought Aero Glass, a more refined transparent look that many Windows users still miss on Windows 10.
So many things were improved. For example, Windows HomeGroup made it much easier to share files and printers compared to Windows XP’s classic-style home networking setup. Windows 7 offered a well-supported 64-bit version. There was a 64-bit edition of Windows XP, but it arrived later, and many fewer people used it.
Microsoft spent years trying to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge, but tens of millions of PCs will now be left vulnerable to exploits and security vulnerabilities. It stopped supporting Windows 8 in 2016 and Windows XP in 2014.
Businesses and education Windows 7 users will be able to pay for extended security updates, but it could be a costly venture for some. The company is encouraging people to upgrade to Windows 10 for $139 or buy a new device running Windows 10 if their computer is more than three years old.