Microsoft has stopped selling Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 licenses to its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), PC partners, and systems builders that pre-install Windows software on new computers.
According to the Microsoft Windows Lifecycle chart, the company ceased shipping the Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 versions of its operating system, which were made generally available in 2009 and 2013 respectively, on October 31.
Windows 7 Professional became unavailable for retail sale on October 31, 2013, while Windows 8.1 reached its retail software end of sales life-span in September 2015. Until now, however, both packages were available through OEMs.
Microsoft has, over the years, slowly wound down the availability of its ageing Windows editions, with Windows XP licenses becoming unavailable through OEMs in 2010, while Windows Vista’s availability ran out in 2011, and Windows 7 Home Basic ceased sales in 2014.
Likewise, Windows 8 became unavailable to PC partners in June this year.
With Windows 7 Professional and 8.1 now unavailable, the only option left for new PCs is the company’s Windows 10 operating system, which was made generally available in July last year, and is yet to have a successor.
While the availability of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1 may have come to an end, Microsoft will continue mainstream support for the later edition until January 2018, and extended support until January 2023.
Mainstream support includes warranty claims, fixes for bugs, and free incident support, and is provided for at least five years after a product becomes generally available, while extended support provides security updates only.
Windows 7 lost mainstream support in January 2015, but the company said it will provide extended support until January 2020.