You may have heard it first when I blogged about Microsoft’s recent announcement which indicated that they would effectively pull the plug on Windows 7 and 8/8.1 support for 6th Gen and higher processors after July 2017. In an effort to get this word out quickly we emailed, posted to our blog, and even recorded a video. Our commitment has been ongoing, and we have been busy talking to customers and gathering feedback for Microsoft. We found that many of our customers felt this change had a negative impact and put a severe crimp in already strained IT budgets and plans. It appears Microsoft has heard the feedback and announced the cutoff date has been extended to July 17, 2018. Here’s what it all means.
Wait, Only One Year?
Why not just let Windows 7 and 8/8.1 go until their natural end-of-life? Very good question—in my opinion, here’s why:
1) Microsoft is also allowing ALL critical security updates to go through the natural end-of life for Windows 7 (2020) and Windows 8 (2023). Therefore, if you can’t meet the 2018 cutoff, you will still get critical security updates for Windows 7 and 8/8.1. But please be aware: that’s not the same as “support”. You still need to carefully think about that deadline and how you will operate older operating systems on “new silicon”.
2) Pushing this out another year gives enterprise customers, and to be honest Microsoft, more time to watch how Windows 10 evolves. This is likely a welcome relief for customers. For example, in nearly 100 Windows 10 conversations with customers of every shape and size since the first announcement, I have heard a consistent theme: virtually all of them are working on their Windows 10 strategies, all in various stages.
It’s appropriate to repeat my advice from numerous other blog posts: Windows 10 is Windows-as-a-Service and therefore requires careful planning and quite a bit of new thinking. Pushing the date out means more production environments will be live, more case study availability, and the ability for best practices to emerge. More time seems a better proposition for everyone on many fronts. We get two years instead of one to not only understand the cutoff ramifications but to plan for the impact as well.
Cheers can be heard from the teams at PC Connection. We applaud this delay and the continuation of critical security fixes until natural OS end-of-life. The OS is too important, and now we all have more time to solve for the best Windows 10 experience and deliver that to our end users. That’s always a good thing. Thanks, Microsoft—we appreciate what this very important message means to us all.