Microsoft announced this week that mainstream support for Windows 7 was ending on January 13th. Couple that with the software company also ending sales of consumer PCs with the operating system installed, the Web was flooded with confusion and fear-mongering among various tech blogs.
But don't panic. Windows 7 (in our opinion, the best Windows OS around) isn't following its older brother Windows XP into the graveyard. You're still going to be protected. You will still receive hotfix support (as long as hot fixes are security-related) and security patches.
So what does "end of mainstream support" mean?
It simply means that Microsoft is ending further development of the operating system. It is now in what Microsoft calls "extended support" -- the same lifecycle that XP was in until last year. In fact, extended support for Windows 7 will last until at least 2020. So, if you're running Windows 7 on your home or business PCs, don't worry. You will still be protected and your computers will continue to receive security updates.
You can read Microsoft's Support Lifecycle for Windows for more information on their lifecycle processes.
Windows 7 isn't being left for dead until years from now, even if the timing of Microsoft's Windows 10 events (including the one scheduled for January 21) directly coincide with Windows 7 End of Support milestones.