NetMarketShare data for December 2018 shows that Windows 10 has now overtaken Windows 7 in desktop operating system market share.
Whether this is due to Microsoft's decision to drop extended support for the older OS in January 2020, or a natural progression towards the adoption of newer software, Windows 10 is now officially the most popular operating system in the world.
Many people are still using Windows 7 however, and will continue to use the operating system for many years to come if history is an indicator. Windows XP
This is evidenced by Windows XP remaining a popular operating system today, even after reaching end of support in April 2014.
Reaching end of support makes the operating system far more vulnerable to new security flaws, as it does not receive security updates.
Despite this, Windows XP is still more popular than any version of Windows 8 – showing exactly how resistant some users are to upgrading their systems.
It is unclear whether we will face the same issue with Windows 7, as the period where users could upgrade to Windows 10 for free is long over, and they will now need to purchase Windows 10 to retain support.
With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft also changed its policy from what it calls Fixed Lifecycle Policy to a Modern Lifecycle Policy, which covers products and services that are supported continuously.
Windows 10 falls under the newer policy, and Microsoft said it is committed to supporting the software as along as customers maintain the system requirements published for the service, customers are licensed, and the service is offered by Microsoft.
Last year of Windows 7
For those using Windows 7, you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 by 14 January 2020 to avoid losing support for your operating system.
After this date, extended support for Windows 7 will be finished and users will no longer receive security updates, hotfixes, or new features.
Mainstream support for the original version of Windows 7 ended on 9 April 2013, while mainstream support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ended on 13 January 2015.
This category of support included the delivery of new features to consumers and allowed requests to product design – along with promptly-delivered quality-of-life updates.
Importantly, if you are still using Windows 7 when the software's support ends in 2020, you will no longer receive security updates and will subsequently be more vulnerable to malicious software.
Additionally, you may encounter problems updating drivers for your hardware, as these may no longer be available for the operating system.
Microsoft therefore recommends updating to the latest version of Windows – Windows 10 version 1809.