Microsoft is to start warning users of Windows 7 that the operating system is nearing its end-of-support date, with only 10 months to go until the company stops maintaining the near-decade old software.
Notifications informing users of PCs still running Windows 7 will start to appear in April, the tech giant said, and will continue to pop up a “handful of times” throughout 2019 – although there is an option to switch them off.
According to NetMarketShare stats, 38% of PCs still run Windows 7, compared with 40% who use the latest version, Windows 10.
“By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition,” said Matt Barlow, corporate vice president of Windows.
“These notifications are designed to help provide information only and, if you would prefer not to receive them again, you’ll be able to select an option for ‘Do not notify me again’, and we will not send you any further reminders.”
Microsoft winds down operating systems in two stages, beginning with mainstream support, where new features are no longer added but security patches continue to be produced. Windows 7’s mainstream support ended in January 2015.
As the operating system nears its 10th year since release, the second phase, end of extended support, has been marked for January 14 2020, when Microsoft will cease all work on Windows 7, opening up any PCs still running it after the cut-off date to potential software bugs and issues.
The move will also spell the end of support for Office 2010.
Windows 7 was first launched to the public in October 2009, replacing the less popular Windows Vista which failed to lure people away from the successful Windows XP. XP still has a small percentage of users today, despite support ending in 2014.