Windows 7 PCs Could Be Sold After October 2014

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has withdrawn a deadline that would have blocked retailers from selling new Windows 7 computers. But it's sticking to another key deadline: that ending support for the Windows XP operating system (OS).

Last week Microsoft posted a note on its website saying that computer manufacturers would no longer be able to ship computers running Windows 7 after October 2014.

The statement is consistent with previous release schedules for Windows. In the past, retail copies of earlier editions of the OS (like Vista) were sold for one year after a new system was released.

Meanwhile, OEMs (or Original Equipment Manufacturers) were told they could only sell computers running an old operating system until a new OS was two years old.

Under that schedule, the deadline for boxed retail copies of Windows 7 was October 2013.

Microsoft Says Posted Deadline Was Mistake

However, Microsoft now simply lists the withdrawal date for OEM copies as "to be determined."

A spokeswoman for Microsoft says the company hasn't yet decided on a date and that the "October 30, 2014, date ... posted to the Windows Lifecycle page globally last week was done so in error." (Source:

Analysts believe Microsoft may be looking for more time to see how Windows 8 sales progress. If they improve, Microsoft may push ahead with the October 2014 deadline.

But if customers still seem keen on buying Windows 7 machines Microsoft might push the deadline back. (Source:

Licensing Workaround Could Be Expensive

But even if Microsoft does announce an October deadline, manufacturers can still use a workaround. They'll have to pay for a special Windows 8 license, but they'll have the right to "downgrade" to Windows 7 Professional before shipping.

That means manufacturers may still offer computers running Windows 7, but the licensing costs involved could make them prohibitively expensive for the average consumer.

Microsoft has also issued a reminder that one deadline, just five months away, definitely won't be pushed back. In April 2014 it will stop offering support, including issuing security updates, for Windows XP.

With estimates that as many as one in five business computers still run XP, security experts are increasingly concerned that unprotected machines could be swamped with viruses starting next spring.

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