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Soon, Windows 10 will be the only Windows operating system (OS) you can officially buy.
Come the end of the month, original equipment manufacturers like Dell or HP will no longer be able to create and sell new computers with Windows 7 or 8.1 pre-installed. Instead, they will all have to use Windows 10, Microsoft’s supposedly final OS.
We’re going to run through why this is happening, what it means for you, and how you can still buy a Windows 7 system right now.
If you plan to buy a Windows 7 system while you can or have thoughts to share then please let us know in the comments section.
End of Sales
Every version of Windows has a lifecycle, which begins with the release of the product and ends when Microsoft no longer officially supports it. One milestone within the product lifecycle is called end of sales. This refers to the date when a version of Windows is no longer provided to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Toshiba, Dell, or HP. This means that they won’t be able to pre-install the OS on any new systems they produce.
The end of sales date for Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate was back in 2014. For Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1, the cut off point is at the end of this month: October 31, 2016. Microsoft gave their customary one year announcement for this, so it won’t come as a surprise to the OEMs. In fact, Microsoft extended the date for Windows 7 Professional because of the general public’s disliking for Windows 8.
However, that end date is now fast approaching. From November 2016, every new Windows system that an OEM produces will run Windows 10.
No More Windows 7?
Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that you suddenly won’t be able to buy new systems with Windows 7 installed, though that will eventually be the case. Although OEMs can’t produce new computers with 7 or 8.1 come Halloween, there’s nothing to stop them from selling Windows 7 and 8.1 systems still in stock.
Interestingly, Windows 10 usage has recently become stagnant. Perhaps the arrival of new features via the Anniversary Update wasn’t enough to convince users. According to NetMarketShare, which roughly measures how many people actively use an OS rather than just having it installed, usage of Windows 10 dropped from 22.99 percent to 22.53 percent. In the same month, usage of Windows 7 rose from 47.25 percent to 48.27 percent. We’ll have to see how the end of sales date impacts these figures in the coming months.
Where to Buy Windows 7 Systems
You’ll probably be able to find some decent discounts on older systems that have Windows 7 and 8.1 installed. OEMs will be trying to clear out their inventories. If you’re in the market for a new computer, then it might be worth waiting a couple of weeks for any price drops. We reported previously on Windows 7 Professional laptops still available to buy and many of those same OEMs are still stocking similar products.
Depending on how powerful a system you want, desktop or laptop, and your preferred manufacturer, there are a number of options available. If you want a fairly basic desktop, Dell’s Inspiron 3250 would be a good bet, with an i3 processor, 1 TB hard drive, and 4 GB of RAM.
If it’s a laptop, HP has a wide range available that cover all sorts of specifications — different screen sizes, drive storage types, graphic cards, and so on. While these laptops technically come with Windows 10 by default, you can use the downgrade rights that the OS offers to move back to Windows 7 Professional.
You don’t have to go directly to the OEM. Instead, you could try shopping through a retailer, where you can sometimes secure a greater discount. For example, Walmart’s new Windows 7 desktops are from the likes of Acer, Lenovo, and HP.
Windows 7 Still Supported
Windows 10 is obviously Microsoft’s priority, but many people simply prefer Windows 7 and have blocked the upgrade to Windows 10. If you buy a system with Windows 7 Professional, you don’t need to worry about being left in the dark. Though Microsoft won’t be developing any new features for the OS, they are still offering what they call “extended support” until January 14, 2020. This basically means that any major security flaws will be fixed, but nothing else will change.
Don’t get too spooked about Windows 7 Professional no longer being installed by OEMs. You could always buy a separate copy of Windows 7 Professional from a retailer like Amazon, while they continue to have them in stock, even if your system doesn’t come with it.
Will you buy a Windows 7 or 8.1 system soon? If so, why don’t you want to use Windows 10?