In March, Windows 10 made large share gains, while Windows 7 declined significantly, and that is a picture one would have expected to see continue in April, especially now that Microsoft has started alerting Windows 7 users to the impending end of life of their chosen OS. However, that has proven not to be the case. Despite the warning, it seems Windows 7 users aren’t in a rush to upgrade anytime soon.
Windows 7 users have started to report the appearance of a pop-up message from Microsoft informing them that support for the operating system is coming to an end.
While this will not come as a surprise to everyone, not all Windows 7 users will be aware that Microsoft is on the verge of dropping the ageing OS. We have already seen pop-ups encouraging users to update to Windows 10 but now Microsoft is turning up the pressure, telling Windows 7 users: "After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing the end".
If you installed the latest batch of patches from Microsoft this week and found that your computer started to freeze up or fail to boot, you are not alone.
The problem is affecting Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and stems from a compatibility issue with antivirus software. Users with antivirus tools from Avast, Avira and Sophos have experienced problems -- including slowing down Windows 10 -- and Microsoft has blocked the rollout of updates to some systems to try to limit the damage.
The hidden costs of managing Windows: How to overcome the 'penalty of growth' with upgrade automation
A growing employee roster. Expanding office locations. The use of innovative tools and technology. These are all the hallmarks of a successful and growing business. Unfortunately, they can also be substantial obstacles when it comes to keeping Windows endpoints current with the latest OS updates, security patches and software upgrades. Because of the time, cost and often a lack of resources, these hidden costs of Windows management force many organizations to stall in making crucial system upgrades. This puts them at grave risk of a security breach the likes of WannaCry or NotPetya that could shut down the entire company -- definitely not a growth driver.
For growing businesses, the modern work environment has made migrations, like the roll-up from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (and even everyday patching), extremely difficult with hidden costs that add up quickly in the race to merely stay current. Here are just a few obstacles in Windows management that inadvertently penalize businesses for growth.
In February however, Windows 10 actually lost share, while Windows 7 gained some, narrowing the gap between the two operating systems once more. In March though, roles were reversed, as Windows 10 made some big gains, and Windows 7 lost a sizable chunk of its share.
Back in December 2018, Microsoft announced that it would be moving its Edge browser over to Chromium, with the intent being to align its web platform with both the main web standards and other Chromium-based browsers. Microsoft also said at the time that Edge would be made available for "all supported versions of Windows", not just Windows 10.
Last week, an early version of the browser leaked onto the web, and while most people who tried it would no doubt have done so through Windows 10, it does indeed run on Windows 7 (and Windows 8.1).
Well, folks, it's happening -- Windows 7 will soon be unsupported. Yes, the last Microsoft operating system to truly be loved by users will soon be dead. Microsoft would love for these users to switch to Windows 10, but understandably, not everyone wants to. After all, the user interface is a mess, and there are spying concerns with overly aggressive telemetry.
If you are still on Windows 7, Microsoft will soon begin warning you that support is ending. I actually don't hate Microsoft for nagging these users -- quite the opposite. The company informing users that the Windows 7 operating system will soon be dangerous to use should be celebrated. Thankfully, Windows 10 is not the only path -- Linux is a great option these days. In fact, one of my favorite distributions for Windows switchers, Zorin OS, has a new Beta out today. You should definitely give it a go.
When it was revealed a week ago that Microsoft would once again start nagging Windows 7 users into upgrading to Windows 10, there was a collective sigh of annoyance from devotees of the older OS who have lived through this sort of thing before.
This time though, Microsoft appears to have learned its lesson. Not only does the software giant have a valid reason for the popup notifications -- Windows 7 is nearing the end of its life -- but these alerts are optional, and gentler -- there’s no being tricked into upgrading to Windows 10 this time around (at least not yet).
Anyone who is still using Windows 7 doesn't have much longer until the operating system is no longer supported by Microsoft. Come January 14, 2020 only those enterprise customers who are willing to pay for Extended Security Updates will receive any kind of support.
Microsoft has already done a lot to encourage Windows 7 diehards to make the move to Windows 10, and now it is stepping things up a gear. Throughout 2019, the company will show pop-up notifications in Windows 7 about making the switch to the latest version of Windows.
While Windows 10 enjoys a significant and growing userbase, there are still many Windows 7 users out there. This includes a large number of enterprise users, and for these customers security is of paramount importance.
Last month we learned about the pricing for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) which will be available when support for the aging operating system ends in 2020. Now we know that ESU will go on sale from the beginning of next month.
Google recommends upgrading to Windows 10 to avoid unpatched Windows 7 zero-day that's being actively exploited
Google is warning users of Windows 7 that they are at risk from a privilege escalation zero-day bug -- and the advice is to upgrade to Windows 10 as there is no patch currently available for the actively exploited vulnerability.
The problem stems from two vulnerabilities being exploited in combination -- one in Chrome, and one in Windows. Having pushed out a patch to its Chrome web browser, Google is warning that Windows 7 users are still exposed until such a time as Microsoft develops a patch.
There are lots of ways to measure Windows share including StatCounter and Steam. Like most other tech sites, BetaNews has always focused on NetMarketShare, and at the start of the year the analyst firm finally reported that Windows 10 had overtaken its main rival, Windows 7 (a move that was a long time coming seeing as others had reported this happening months earlier).
In January, the new OS consolidated its lead, but in February things were far less rosy for Windows 10.
Microsoft has announced that from the middle of July, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 users who want to continue to receive updates will need SHA-2 code signing support.
The change is being introduced because "the security of the SHA-1 hash algorithm has become less secure over time due to weaknesses found in the algorithm, increased processor performance, and the advent of cloud computing".
Windows 7 may be creakingly old now, but it is still widely used. While large numbers of consumers have migrated to Windows 10, there are still plenty of organizations that are clinging to the old operating system out of a sense of nostalgia, an unwillingness to upgrade, lack of funds for upgrading, or legacy requirements.
As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer be providing support or security updates for Windows 7 -- apart from for those who are willing to pay for it. The company is offering up to three years of Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), and pricing has just been revealed.
While other analyst firms, such as StatCounter, had Windows 10 overtaking Windows 7 sometime ago, it took until the end of December 2018 for NetMarketShare to show the new OS overtaking its predecessor.
With NetMarketShare’s figures, which show usage share, there was always the danger that Windows 7 might regain the lead (albeit temporarily) in January, but that never happened and Windows 10 is now comfortably ahead.