I saw this the other day and it was one of those “oh yeah..!” revelations that take you buy surprise, but you kinda already knew if you sit and think about it for a second or two. Microsoft very quietly has announced that is has ended retail sales of Windows 7 as of October 30, 2013. However, don’t start panicking just yet.
If you still want Windows 7, you can still get it if you buy a new PC. However, that’s likely the ONLY way you’re going to get it. And – here’s the caveat on that – you have to buy that new Windows PC between now and October 30, 2014. Over and above that, the PC vendor you’re buying the hardware from has to offer the PC with Windows 7. Unfortunately, not all of them do. However, PC vendors that DO provide that option should be able to sell Windows 7 at least until that date (2014-10-30) or two years after the release date of Windows 8.
After that, you can still get Windows 7 if you want. Windows 8 includes downgrade rights, so consumers can put an older OS on a Windows 8 machine if they wish. Further, OEM’s can also make use of those rights and offer the hardware with an older OS if they choose, before it ships.
Microsoft first announced this policy – to stop selling the OLD version of an operating system one year after the latest version is released – in 2010. With Windows 8 released in October 2012, it was time for this policy to kick in. However, Microsoft, as late as September 2013 hadn’t acknowledged this. Obviously, now they have.
However, if you’re not in the market for new hardware, again…don’t panic. Its likely that you’re still going to be able to find retail copies of Windows 7, though likely not the latest, greatest version as of 2013-10-30, at a number of online retailers, including Amazon, for example, for years. Copies of XP and Vista were available for quite a while after Microsoft stopped selling it directly to retailers for quite a while, and getting restore DVD’s for current hardware for some level of nominal fee has been possible for Dell customers for as long as I can remember. Downloading ISO images may also be possible, depending on the PC vendor in question.
For those that don’t have options to get Windows 7, you can always use apps like Stardocks’ Start8 to bring the Windows 7 UI experience to Windows 8.x. The OS itself isn’t bad, its fast, stable and easy to use. It also has touch built in, so if your hardware has a touch screen, you may find it easier to use with Windows 8. If not, apps like Start8 will make your Windows 8 PC more Windows 7 like.