If you want to avoid Windows 10 on your next new PC, you’ve got a deadline.
This time next year PC manufacturers won’t be offering computers with Windows 7 or 8, because Microsoft won’t allow them to. The Windows lifecycle fact sheet outlines when OEMs can sell devices with older versions of Microsoft’s operating system, and by October 31, 2016 all new devices sold need to be running Windows 10.
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“When Microsoft launches a new version of Windows, we will continue to allow OEMs to sell PCs preinstalled with the previous version for up to two years after the launch date of the new version unless otherwise announced,” says the fact sheet.
The rules can be flexible, of course — following them exactly would have prevented Windows 7 from being offered on new devices last October. Pushback against Windows 8 by businesses and consumers alike forced Microsoft’s hand, which is why Windows 7 is offered to this day.
But Windows 10 is generally better loved than Windows 8, and Microsoft is working hard to get as many users as possible using their latest operating system – including the unprecedented step of offering free upgrades to users of Windows 7 and 8. With all this in mind, it’s unlikely they’ll extend the deadline for OEMs.
The new operating system’s higher rate of adoption can be seen in user figures, which have soared above 120 million. Steam, meanwhile, is reporting that about 28 percent of all Windows rigs now run Windows 10 instead of an older version of the operating system.
Of course, just because you can’t buy new devices with Windows 7 doesn’t mean Windows 7 itself won’t get updates: extended support for that operating system lasts until January of 2020. Mainstream support for Windows 8 lasts until January of 2018, with extended support until 2023.
Your current devices will keep working, but if you want a brand new device with a brand old operating system you’ve got to act in the next 12 months.