Windows 7, Vista to get extended support

Microsoft is extending an olive branch to stragglers. According to ComputerWorld, the company has quietly prolonged the support period for consumer editions of both Windows Vista and Windows 7 by five years. That means security updates for those two operating systems will be distributed until April 2017 and January 2020, respectively.

Before the extension, consumer editions of Windows 7 and Vista were only going to be covered under a five-year "mainstream support" period. They’re now set to get five years of "extended support" on top of that. We explored the differences between mainstream and extended support a few years ago when Microsoft gave Windows XP a similar extension. Extended support basically means Microsoft charges for any updates or support beyond the release of security hotfixes and access to its online knowledge base.

ComputerWorld says Windows 8, too, will receive similar treatment. It should be supported all the way until "early 2023."

I can’t help but wonder if these extensions have anything to do with Windows 8’s rather, er, unique changes in the user interface department. Vista scared off a decent number of users, but its UI and foundational changes seem like small potatoes compared to what’s in store for Windows 8. I wouldn’t be surprised to see certain folks cling on to Windows 7 for years to come.

Comments closed
    • sunner
    • 8 years ago

    Post#15 and# 25 mention and praise, a program called “Classic Shell” for Win7.
    Its a free download.
    Does ANYONE here know where I can download it?
    Thanks!

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 8 years ago

      Google is your friend.

        • sunner
        • 8 years ago

        Thank you, 133…
        Didn’t think of that (after all this time still newby on anything more tekky than install vid card, o/s, etc.).

      • The Wanderer
      • 8 years ago

      It’s the lucky Google hit for “Classic Shell”, with or without quotes:

      [url<]http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/[/url<] I looked into it a while ago when we were preparing to deploy Windows 7 in our organization, but since we're an educational institution, we decided we owed it to the students to give them the UI they'd actually see in the real world...

        • sunner
        • 8 years ago

        Thanks you, Wanderer… I got it.
        The website the guy runs, is pretty impressive.
        And his “Classic Shell” for Windows7 does a lot of things I never bothered to learn when I was running XP… (came off XP a few wks ago,and had never learned more than “bare fundamentals” needed to run the O/S, update vid card drivers, make XP give me screen colors I want, tweak my Games, tune this n’that …etc).
        Anyway, I like how he gives you options to install or remove features his Clasic Shell has
        He seems to be a laid-back guy; doesn’t push his opinions down your throat.
        Plus you can download other auxiliary programs from his site.
        Even Cnet.com’s Download Center offers his “Classic Shell” as a free download.
        I wound up getting it there cuz Cnet makes a claim that all its Downloads are “safe”.
        Big Thanks for the link to his site.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    I imagine my customary usage model. I am watching a video while browsing the web. I have a video in the bottom left corner, a list of files to watch in the top right, a browser full of tabs, and I decide I want to restart PS3 Media Server. Right now, with Windows 7, I go to Start->PS3 Media Server. Done and done.

    I imagine the same scenario under Windows 8 and here’s what happens. There’s no Start. I move my cursor down around where it should be and a moment’s delay then yields me into the Start Tile Screen. Video’s gone, my browsing is gone, everything washed away in a sea of blue (or whatever color you choose) for your start tile screen. Suddenly, I’ve got the productivity of a tablet on a desktop computer that’s running 2560×1600, that is the productivity of one application at a time.

    I choose what I want and then whoosh my screen completely changes again to give me back what I was looking at. How is that more productive than just showing me a small list of commonly-but-every-day-used apps that doesn’t intrude over very much of my luxurious screen estate? My Windows 7 start is just a list of commonly used apps that I personally put on the list in the smallest text and icon.

    There’s no way Windows 8 will show as many icons in the same space, not even close, and more than that, I lose all advantage of what we Windows users call, “Multi-tasking” because everything I’m doing will be buried behind the Tile Screen. It’d be one thing if the tile screen could be made smaller, like a mini-Tile Screen about the size of the current Start Menu. Instead, it swallows everything up until I scroll to the left or right and find my app/application. Then it gives me my desktop back.

    This is really crappy, horrible, inefficient, stupid behavior and the only reason to do it is to force Windows users to do what they want rather than give PC users what they actually need. They want to get us used to using their Metro UI so that we’ll be comfy with it when looking at tablets. But I think it’s going to do the opposite. It’s going to so annoy me that I have to endure it on Windows that I won’t WANT to do anything with it, even on devices where it might make sense.

    I wish they’d just give me the option to use the UI from Windows 7 with the architectural improvements of Windows 8. Better yet, let’s just have an option to disable the Metro UI part of Windows 8, keep the option to minimize the Ribbon of Explorer, and call it a day. If Microsoft was confident in Metro UI, they wouldn’t need to force it down my throat. I’d use it because it’s better. Instead, they know people will disable it en masse, so they’re not giving us the option. It can’t indoctrinate us into enduring it if we all disable it with a hidden option.

    I’d be looking forward to Windows 8 if it was just the performance, copy&paste improvements, Skydrive integration, superior tablet OPTIONS (not requirements even for devices without touch), and minimized ribbon interface that seems on par size-wise to what we have now in 7 but with more options showing. Hell, I’d probably like the Windows App Store, too. I wouldn’t even mind popping INTO Metro UI as an improvement over Windows Media Center for HDTV’s. I can see how that’d be pretty awesome there since it’s built for oversizing the fonts and tiles, etc.

    But forcing me to pop into Metro every time I want to do something beyond the taskbar? It’s like that sore on the top of your mouth that would heal if you’d just stop tonguing it. It’s like when you try to go to your cave and find that your power animal has been replaced by a chain-smoking, meatpie-making red queen who wants to kill Harry Potter.

    I am Jack’s total frustration.

    • RealPjotr
    • 8 years ago

    I moved to Vista fours year ago on a new Core 2 Quad computer. Two years ago I changed it to use an SSD and since then, I see no reason to move away from Vista. It’s not bad at all when an SSD handles the performance for it.

    • ET3D
    • 8 years ago

    All MS did was make the consumer versions match the business versions. Since the OS is exactly the same, there’s not much point in artificially stopping updates for consumer versions. I wouldn’t read much into it beyond that.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]I wouldn't be surprised to see certain folks cling on to Windows 7 for years to come.[/quote<] Oh, i certainly will.

    • Xenolith
    • 8 years ago

    This doesn’t seem that tough to do. Don’t Vista, Win7 and Win8 share the same security and driver platforms?

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    Looks like MS is preparing for the onslaught of customers that will refuse to upgrade because of the fisher price interface.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Yep, because there is absolutely no simple way to turn off the metro interface, right? Your stuck with it for life, just like there is no way to change the desktop background, or volume….

        • Deanjo
        • 8 years ago

        Who said anything about metro? The desktop UI is a mess as well IMHO with it’s UI inconsistancies.

      • cygnus1
      • 8 years ago

      See, this is funny because I remember when XP came out and the default theme was called the Matel interface.

      Haters gotta hate.

        • swaaye
        • 8 years ago

        I have to admit that I find OS decoration primarily a vanity thing and would be fine if Windows still had a flat look like a ’90s OS. The shine just has no real functional value. But it sells and I know there are a lot of people who are obsessed with appearances of everything.

        Still, an ugly theme isn’t going to stop me from checking out new technologies.

        • jebfl
        • 8 years ago

        I think it was called the Duplo Interface. I remember at the time some web designer were trying to emulate the Duplo look. Then when Vista came out, the same designers tried to emulate the Hasta La Vista Look. Uninspired web designers if you ask me…

    • Musafir_86
    • 8 years ago

    -Hmm, is this because I made enough noise about the extended support for Vista consumer editions?

    [url<]http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-windows_update/requesting-clarification-on-windows-vista-consumer/391f2bbd-b712-4a3c-afe7-9bf7c4f6dff5[/url<] [url<]http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/itprovistadeployment/thread/ae552056-df2d-49e3-b7e8-29fd869a49d9[/url<] [url<]http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/itprovistasecurity/thread/e928b5f7-208e-45f7-86fc-51101160d81e[/url<] (Same posts on Microsoft's Facebook wall, and Windows & Safer Online, too). Regards.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      Microsoft’s new CTO folks: [i<]Musafir_86.[/i<]

        • Welch
        • 8 years ago

        I see what you did there.. +1 for the Lolz

      • yuhong
      • 8 years ago

      Me too:
      [url<]http://blogs.technet.com/b/lifecycle/archive/2010/07/14/does-the-revised-windows-end-of-sales-policy-impact-the-support-lifecycle.aspx[/url<]

    • elnad2000
    • 8 years ago

    I moved to Windows 7 in the summer of 2011 while building a new computer with SSD and I’m quite happy with it. Okay it needs Classic Shell and QtTabBar to even look like a real OS, but 7 is rock-solid. I also really hope I could remove the stupid bar in Explorer (Action bar I think) that I never use anyway. It’s a stupid toolbar, how hard can it be to let user hide it.

    But it’s Microsoft. They are going into a wall faster everyday. My girlfriend bought a new Mac computer and bought Office 2011 (is it 11 or 12 anyway the last version on Mac) and she paid 80$ at BB. To have the same thing on Windows, I need to drop 120$. Way to send people to Apple products, Microsoft.

    And Mac OS X are 30$ each upgrade and I’m supposed to pay 200$ for professional version of Windows each 2-3 years. And with all this money, I have to take Ribbon and bad UI changes everyday. Maybe 7 will be my last Windows. Probably.

    I hope 8 is not just a stupid Metro interface. I don’t care about tiles, I have a bathroom floor if I want to see tiles, a modern computer can use something more beautiful than squares of information.

    Edit: Remove a bad word.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      Windows 8 is just Windows 7 Mobile 2.0.

      MS simply tweak the Windows 7’s codebase and UI to be better suited for mobile platforms. Because, they want a piece of the mobile market which is being currently dominated by Android and iOS.

      Windows 8 offers [b<]nothing[/b<] compelling to desktop/workstation systems. There is a good chance it will end-up being the second coming of ME for desktop/workstation systems.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 8 years ago

      I could kiss you for recommending those programs. I previously only knew about CSMenu which was shareware, and I wasn’t about to pay for some half-baked product, when I had a perfectly usable Vista install. Now I can actually consider using 7.

      PS. Object Desktop is a ripoff. You are actually buying a subscription that runs out, then you’re out of luck if you need to reinstall it. Not that I would, since it’s bloated and doesn’t do what I want. Probably should ask for a refund.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    For me, upgrading to Windows 8 is probably going to mean upgrading other software as well. Avid is really bad about not supporting new OSes with software that’s a version or 2 behind. PT9 on the desktop and PT8LE on the laptop means I’m sticking with what I have until I cough up like $900 in upgrades before I actually pay for an OS. I’ll stick to what I have until the build *after* the one I’m presently finishing (running a Core i3 2100 until IB is out, or else this build would be finished). O_o

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      aren’t you running osx?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        on an older machine i am, but even then, no Lion for PT8 LE. I had to upgrade that machine to PT9 and now i swap my iLok between machines. It’s getting to be a hassle.

        edit: Avid makes some great software but they really want you to pick an OS and stick to it.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    I almost certainly won’t be getting windows 8. Currently I am using W7, and as far as I know it will add nothing that I will find worth spending over $100 on.

    If it were significantly cheaper I might consider looking at it. It’s not like MS couldn’t afford to sell it cheaper too.

    • barich
    • 8 years ago

    Business editions (Enterprise, Vista Business and 7 Pro) already had 10 years of support. Since they were committed to updates for that long anyway, why prevent the consumer editions from having access to them? This makes a lot more sense than their previous policy.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    This is good. Windows 7 is, subjectively, one of MS’s best OSes to date. I plan to stick with it until I’m sick and tired of it [u<]and[/u<] MS has a worthy successor.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      Personally, the UI doesn’t matter much to me. Win8 has huge architectural advantage(performance, scalability, stability, security) over Win7. So, for me, Win8 is worth the upgrade.

      Many people look at the UI and think “meh, not worth it”, I could care less. All I need is fewer than 10 icons to represent 98% of what I use. If I can access those 10 apps with ease, I don’t need to worry about the rest of the UI.

      edit: I did vote you up because Win8 isn’t worth it for everyone, but I’m a “techy” who loves new things, especially with how IO/CPU/Network/etc. I’m just trying to show another view point.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]"Win8 has huge architectural advantage(performance, scalability, stability, security) over Win7."[/quote<] It's not even out yet, so you can't begin to make such claims.

          • bcronce
          • 8 years ago

          Win8 uses fundamentally better designs than Win7 for better performance/scalability. You can find out all the info you need about better lock-free or fine-grain locking used to help the kernel scale with threads, and better awareness of NUMA. Stuff like that.

          Stability/security will only be proved by time, but they are adding better features(better uses of digital signatures, secure boot, etc) which *should* make it more robust. Win7 has shown to be extremely robust for network security, on par with *nix.

          Much more info about many changes in Win8 have been plastered all over MSDN, MS Blogs, and Chan9 for the past 3+ years.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]better uses of digital signatures, secure boot, etc) which *should* make it more robust.[/quote<] While I'm sure businesses will appreciate this, as a consumer it actually scares me. I've already had trouble using unsigned drivers in Win7. There was a guy who made drivers so I could use a ps3 controller on my PC. Sure they are a little buggy, but it's better than nothing, and it was a huge pita to get them working on 64bit Win7. So it might be more secure, but that also means I have less control.

            • bcronce
            • 8 years ago

            Request the driver signed then white list it?

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            From what I understand it costs money to get a driver signed, and not an insignificant amount.

            The solution I found was to run Windows in test mode which let unsigned drivers get loaded.

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        Thanks! ^^

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 8 years ago

      Win8 is the end of the desktop OS. Obviously 7/Vista will get extended support because they are MS’s last desktop OSes, and people on them will not switch easily. If Win9 does not return to the desktop roots, linux will be my next OS, games or not.

      Touch support is not an excuse for ruining the entire experience. You can do both. Win8 is merely a gradual dumbing down and locking out of the OS, to maximize profits via app-stores. Microsoft is actually hurting itself in the long run by being too greedy and short-sighted.

    • tootercomputer
    • 8 years ago

    I have a very stable version of Vista 64 on my laptop which, given my current needs for that laptop, could run another five years. So good for MS, as it should be. I would hope that W7 would get extended support as well. I don’t see Metro as all that much of an improvement over W7 except for its touch features, and for those without touch screens, it may be irrelevant. I might be wrong on this, the beta should be informative (I’m looking forward to installing it).

    I’ve got a Vista OS first edition purchased in 2007 sitting on the shelf unused right now (on a previous install, it worked flawlessly until 2011), and I may install it on a spare system at some point and I will feel like I still have a very modern OS once it is fully updated (the updated version seems pretty much the same as W7).

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 8 years ago

    Microsoft doesn’t have a choice. If they want the world to run on Windows, if they want their near monopoly, they cannot let any significant number of machines become victimized unless public perception is that the machines were obsolete.

    • --k
    • 8 years ago

    It’s my understanding that Metro is optional. The preview I tried was able disable it.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      Darn your observation of reality. Windows has never featured options before!

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    This move comes entirely from Fortune 500 crowd.

    They already finished up their XP => 7 migration and see no reason to upgrade to 8.

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      I work for one of those. We just did our XP -> Vista migration last year. :/

      IT spent 2 years testing compatibility. Then another 2 yrs to roll out.

      (I don’t work in IT).

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        sucks to be a computer user in your organization. Then again, I’m still on XP.

          • Farting Bob
          • 8 years ago

          There is a few computers at our work that only use MSDOS. Apparently 1 program that is needed about once every 6 months is DOS only and they are too cheap to find an alternative. We also have some win98 PC’s that have no internet access. Our It department (2 guys) is a mess and hugely underfunded.

            • clone
            • 8 years ago

            my accountant uses 3 different OS’s, MSdos, Win98 and WinXP for the accounting apps he has.

            when I asked him why he asked me the same question…. it’s not like desk space is a problem and those old computers are still working so they cost nothing.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Guess you missed the “consumer editions” part.

        • Ryu Connor
        • 8 years ago

        Krogoth is not impressed by reading.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        Because, MS doesn’t want to end-up creating a population of W7 users that become a bleeding ground for nasty malware that will end-up affecting their F500 users. It is also part of the reason why home-users on XP are still getting updates.

        FYI, mainstream users don’t upgrade the OS on their systems. They simply upgrade their computer and use whatever OS is bundled with their system.

          • Deanjo
          • 8 years ago

          FYI Fortune 500 companies couldn’t give a rats a** as to what the consumer editions level of support, they care about what is supported in their corporation on their volume license. Nothing more, nothing less.

            • Krogoth
            • 8 years ago

            They do care indirectly, when the customer-grade population can become a breeding ground for nasty malware and worms which can cause problems.

            • Deanjo
            • 8 years ago

            Then the corporations hope that support for those product dies so that it forces people to upgrade and move on to a better environment. Hell if they gave a rats a** about consumer products then they would make sure that at least 10% of their own infrastructure was OS X as well.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve got a new mb/processor just sitting in a box waiting for the release of Winodws 8 beta. I figure if I have to re-install Windows, I might as well just wait a few weeks and grab 8.

    That being said, I’m not too worried about finding any major bugs. And if I do, I’ll just go back to 7. With my recent computer issues, I’ve re-installed Windows too many times to count in the last couple of months (nothing Windows related, all hardware) so I’ve got the process down pretty well.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      If you reinstall windows that much then maybe you should just image a clean install with MS patches applied before adding any drivers. Your reinstall time would be reduced drastically (not to mention to not have to do PITA things like revalidate and redownload a crapload of updates all the time.)

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