Microsoft Withdraws Mainstream Support For Windows 7, But It Is Not All That Bad
Microsoft will soon start charging for updates on Windows 7.REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Microsoft Windows 7 is nearing its end-of-life and here is the first glimpse of it. On Tuesday, Microsoft ended mainstream support for the widely-popular Windows 7 desktop OS around the world. For end users, it means free phone and online support from Microsoft will no longer be offered. Also, users won't receive non-security updates like new features henceforth.

Withdrawal of mainstream support isn't as bad as it sounds. Microsoft is not holding off the security updates to patch vulnerabilities, which will continue to flow until 2020, according to Microsoft's Windows lifecycle fact sheet. 

Microsoft has a standard support system for its desktop operating systems. The company offers mainstream support for any new OS for a minimum of five years or for two years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer. Then there is extended support that is offered a minimum of five years from the product's market launch or two years after the second successor product is released.

Microsoft launched Windows 7 in October 2009 and was applauded by critics and consumers after the Windows Vista debacle. The end of mainstream support comes as a major blow for its users in China, where 38.3% of the web-connected devices are powered by Windows 7. Nearly 57% still run Windows XP, which puts 95% of Chinese users out of official technical support from Microsoft, Tech Firstpost reported.

On the global front, Windows 7 holds a dominating 56.26%, according to Net Applications' December statistics. People resisted upgrading to Windows 8 due to its criticism for not being user-friendly on non-touch PCs. So Windows 7 remained a popular choice for those who chose to upgrade from Windows XP or Windows Vista. But the Windows 10 has been making quite a splash in the recent days and is expected to be a major technological leap.