Why it matters: Are you one of the holdouts who refuse to upgrade from Windows 7? If so, then you might want to seriously consider switching to Windows 10 within the next 12 months. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer support its older OS, bringing an end to security updates---unless you're a business willing to pay for them.
Having been released way back in 2009, Windows 7 exited mainstream support and entered its extended support phase in January 2015, which meant users could still get free critical security patches, bug fixes, and technical support for the next five years.
With the extended support period's end date now on the horizon, it might be time to jump ship and land on Windows 10. Despite being released in middle of 2015, the latest version of the OS only surpassed Windows 7's popularity last month, according to Net Market Share. That still leaves Win 7 in second place with a near 37 percent share of the market, only 2 percent less than Windows 10, but that gap is expected to increase drastically across 2019.
Enterprise users still account for much of Windows 7's popularity. According to Kollective, 43 percent of businesses still run the near ten-year-old platform. It's a different story when it comes to gamers, though, with 64 percent of Steam users preferring Windows 10, compared to the 26 percent that use Windows 7.
As it has done with previous version of its OS, Microsoft is offering paid support options after January 14 next year, though the format is changing slightly. The extended security updates will be available to all Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers with volume licensing through January 2023. The company is charging on a per-device basis, with the price increasing every year.