Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise editions will no longer receive extended security updates for critical and important vulnerabilities starting Tuesday, January 10, 2023.
The Extended Security Update (ESU) program was the last resort option for customers who still needed to run legacy Microsoft products past their end of support on Windows 7 systems.
All editions of Windows 8.1, launched nine years ago in November 2013, will also reach EOS on the same day.
“Most Windows 7 devices will not meet the hardware requirements for upgrading to Windows 11, as an alternative, compatible Windows 7 PCs can be upgraded to Windows 10 by purchasing and installing a full version of the software,” Microsoft explains.
“Before investing in a Windows 10 upgrade, please consider that Windows 10 will reach its end of support date on October 14, 2025.”
Microsoft recommends customers with devices that don’t meet the technical requirements for a more recent Windows release to replace them with ones that support Windows 11 to take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities.
Currently, Windows 7 runs on over 11% of all Windows systems worldwide, while Windows 8.1 is used by 2.59% of Microsoft customers, according to Statcounter GlobalStats.
Web browsers also dropping support for Windows 7
Next week, Redmond will also release Microsoft Edge 109, the web browser’s last version to come with support for Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1.
This version of Microsoft Edge will also be the last to support Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2.
A similar announcement was made by Google in October when the company said that version 110 of its Google Chrome web browser would also likely drop support for Windows 7 and 8.1 starting in February 2023.
Microsoft Edge 109 and Google Chrome 110 will continue to work on legacy operating systems, but they will no longer receive security updates and bug fixes, exposing their users to security risks.
Google Chrome now has a market share of over 64%, followed by Safari with roughly 18% and Microsoft Edge (which uses Chrome’s Blink rendering engine with enhancements from Microsoft) with just over 4%.
Other vendors have already dropped support for Windows 7 ahead of the date when the OS will stop receiving security updates.
For instance, NVIDIA is no longer providing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 drivers since last year, starting in October 2021.