Friday the 31st: Halloween Marks a Grim Date for Windows 7

Freddy Krueger behind Windows 7 logo
Freddy Krueger behind Windows 7 logo


Microsoft’s plan for spooking the pants off of everyone this Halloween is a real doozy. The company has stated that, after Oct. 31, computer makers will no longer be able to buy consumer editions of Windows 7 to install on their laptops or desktops.

This will leave buyers stuck to choose from only new machines built with (gulp) Windows 8.


Windows 8 is, of course, Microsofts newest version of Windows and its largest departure from the now-familiar functionality it introduced back with Windows 95. This revamp has resulted in it being one of Microsoft’s least popular releases.

Though the discontinuation of Microsoft’s gem, Windows 7, can hardly be called a startling surprise (Microsoft announced the deadline earlier this year), the move could sure scare the heck out of folks looking to buy a brand-new yet familiar-feeling Windows computer this holiday season. Imagine the shock on your mother’s face when, after using the Windows Start menu all her life, you hand her a weird and tile-y Windows 8 laptop for Christmas. The horror!

Laptops running Windows 7 and Windows 8
Laptops running Windows 7 and Windows 8

Windows 7 (left) and Windows 8 (right). (

Windows 7 Professional, the corporate version of Microsoft’s 5-year-old OS, has yet to be given a “sell-before” date, but computers built with these editions preinstalled are made with corporations in mind and typically come with higher price tags. Microsoft stopped selling stand-alone Windows 7 software around this time last year.

Though PC-maker Dell has decided to use Microsoft’s “end of sales” mandate to promote a last-ditch Windows 7 PC clearance blowout, it’s likely that some computer sellers will continue to unload stock of old Windows 7 computers beyond Oct. 31. Microsoft will continue “mainstream support” for Windows 7 until Jan. 13, 2015, and roll out “extended support” (usually just patches for security threats) until Jan. 14, 2020.

But all in all, Microsoft is saying that it’s time to move on. Sort of.

The company recently released a preview version of Windows 10, its newest platform iteration, and the retail release should be hitting shelves next year. But in this Windows 8 follow-up, Microsoft has brought “enhancements” that seem to borrow directly from Windows 7. Gone is the tiled Start screen that confuses Mom, and back comes the simple Start menu-based desktop OS that we all know and love.

Related: Windows 10 Preview: 6 Features You’ll Want

Windows 10 Start menu
Windows 10 Start menu

Windows 10. (Yahoo Tech)

The about-(inter)face away from Windows 8’s split modes of Start screen/desktop was informed by more than two years of user feedback, something Microsoft is already getting plenty of from the more than 1 million people who have downloaded the preview release of Windows 10. The first hint that Microsoft was moving back to placing importance on the mouse- and keyboard-driven desktop mode was when it released Windows 8.1 last year, an update that gave tried-and-true Windows lovers back their desktop Start button.

What’s more, if you want to pretend that this Windows 8 thing never happened, you can pick up a brand-new Windows 7 PC (while you can) with peace of mind, since Microsoft has promised that it will support the upgrade jump from 7 to 10. And maybe even for free (though that rumor is still unconfirmed).

So there should be no mourning the death of your beloved Windows OS this Halloween. Yes, it’s true that the company is finally sunsetting your favorite version (and the most-used version), but your next favorite version just might be showing up on your doorstep real soon. Wouldn’t that be a nice treat?

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