That cycle will be one downside to buying a new PC with Windows 7, as Microsoft will stop serving security updates on Jan. 14, 2020. On the plus side, the company has promised that Windows 7 PCs will be upgradeable to Windows 10. It's unknown whether Microsoft will charge for Windows 7-to-Windows 10 upgrades, although analysts expect it to hand Windows 10 upgrades to Windows 8.1 users free of charge.
Because of the extension of Windows 7 Professional PC sales through at least October 2015, Microsoft's computer-making partners will have the ability to equip new systems with three different operating systems — Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 — for at least several months next year as the retirement and release dates overlap.
These policies may be made moot, however, by Windows 10, which most believe will be sold and maintained for much longer than past editions, just as Apple has stuck with the OS X nameplate — pronounced "OS Ten" — indefinitely.
Windows 8 also faces an approaching deadline: On October 31, retail sales of the 2012 original are to stop, although sales of Windows 8.1 can continue. PCs with Windows 8 may still come off the factory lines — Microsoft has not set an OEM end-of-sales date — but that is irrelevant as the denigrated OS has been supplanted by Windows 8.1 on most new machines.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.