Microsoft ceases selling Windows 7 and 8.1 licenses to PC manufacturers

Microsoft has officially stopped selling licenses for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to PC manufacturers. With this move, partners like Dell and HP will no longer be able to sell new PCs running either previous version on Windows, having instead moved fully to selling PCs pre-loaded Windows 10.

The end date for sales to OEM partners has been known for a while, having been listed on Microsoft's Windows lifecycle page (opens in new tab) (via VentureBeat). While Microsoft had previously ceased selling licenses for Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate to manufacturers in 2014, Windows 7 Professional continued to be available alongside Windows 8.1.

It should be noted that mainstream support — which includes patches for vulnerabilities and the like — for Windows 8.1 is still set to continue through January 9 2018, while mainstream support for Windows 7 ended in January of 2015.

In any case, if you're planning to buy a PC in the near future, it's now a near certainty that it will be packing Windows 10.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Awesome
  • this will kill microsoft
  • How exactly? this only affects consumers, big companies can still purchase licenses for Windows 7 (not sure for Windows 8 though, since that version was never very popular on corporate)
  • Have you heard of Windows 10??? I think people said the same thing of Windows XP, and yet, here we are.
  • ms will never recover from w10
  • err, righto
  • Yeah, W10 is killing them right now. Look at the stock price.
  • Lol!!
  • And still you provide no information as to why. As if you stating your hatred for win10 alone, makes it true
  • Windows 10 is by far my favorite version of Windows. There are a few minor things I preferred in Windows 7 and 8.1 (e.g., ability to easily set how many items appear in the Taskbar Jump lists), but it has far more plusses than minuses compared with its predecessors and the plusses are huge, while the negatives fairly trivial. Whether it's improved security, speed, battery life, built-in hardware drivers, ability to revert back to a clean state if I manage to screw things up (which is also much harder to do now by accident), or the Store model for instant install and uninstall with apps always up-to-date, to the Snap feature improvements and auto multi-window resize when dragging the separator, Hey Cortana on the lock screen... the list of major improvements is vast.
  • Using a Win7 pc in college is a real pain in the ass now. The lack of win+arrow to snap and that auto snap resizing alone would be enough for me to switch. Win+tab is great with multiple windows open, specially if you make good use of multiple desktops. Can't live without these
  • Using a Win7 pc in college is a real pain in the ass now. The lack of win+arrow to snap and that auto snap resizing alone would be enough for me to switch. Win+tab is great with multiple windows open, specially if you make good use of multiple desktops. Can't live without these
  • Same at my workplace. I miss automatic resizing the most. It became so natural for me using Windows 10, that sometimes I just wonder why it doesn't work there. And than bang, it's not Windows 10... :D
  • Oh, really?
  • Seriously, you have no points regarding about how Microsoft delivers Windows 10. What sources that say MS will fail delivering Win10 regarding to this announcement? If you look at the graph, MS gains 40% of their goal, which is 400 million devices using Win10 as their base. So how could you say that Win10 is another fail? Well, your statement is utterly fail.
  • I updated my uncles PC recently from XP to Windows 10. It runs great, and he likes it :D Just like his daughter, who plays "mobile" games now on that PC. So everybody can switch to Windows 10, and will at some point.
  • nah
  • Windows as a service is great, I never thought I would get amazing features like Linux subystem and bash console in Anniversary Update for free Can't wait for Paint 3D and Groove Studio on Creators Update (aka Redstone 2) in 2017.
  • Groove Studio looks sweet!  
  • I like the way they didn't talk about Groove Studio on the event...but in video. After the event had to watched couple of times the trailer and stop at some screens . Good teasing MS.
  • This is a great sign to point to the fact that Microsoft learned their lesson with Windows XP.  I'm very glad to see them stick to their lifecycle timeframes with this.  Windows 7 although a good OS, has been overshadowed by Windows 10.  Now, hopefully businesses understand that they will not be able to hold out with Windows 7 as long as they did with XP.  2020 is coming quickly....
  • Moving to the future.
  • Windows 7 is still the best
  • aside from Windows 10.
  • Not even then. Windows 8.1.1 did everything W7 did, except better.
  • The greatest setback from 8/8.1 was people complaining about the new Start menu. Personally I think the live tile design great and was one of the main reasons I jumped to 8 as soon as I could. That metro/desktop separation was quite ****** though
  • I agree, Windows 10 is SIGNIFICANTLY better than Windows 7. Way more functionality and better layout. There's no way I would ever want to go back to Windows 7.
  • Actually, Win10 combines the best of both worlds into one OS. Boot speed? Much faster than 7. Gaming? The same performance, if not better.
  • It maybe, but we were saying the same thing about XP when 7 came out. Give 10 a few more years and that will all change.
  • Windows10 is the best
  • >Windows 7 is still the best Agreed.... Windows 7 is the best ever.... Windows 10 is buggy as hell...
  • Tell me bugs you are having. I'm totally have no issues when using Win10. But yes, that depends on hardware you're using. Tell your device OEM then.
  • All Windows had bugs in the first year after release. XP, vista, 7, you name it. (7 had considerably less than vista, but they changed so little from it, it's almost like Vista was a beta for it). After AU, Windows has been smooth as hell for me
  • Agreed... all windows have had bugs, for new releases (what ever version of windows back to WIndows 95) all you are is a paying beta tester... Maybe AU is ok for you but, it broke about 15 programs where I work and even at home, I need to run a Windows 7 vm under Windows 10 because of the 5-6 programs it broke on me. Never mind the ton of bugs with the OS... I have only rebuilt 2-3 times now and dont pick on my machine, Perfectly matched X99-A gaming system... It was designed fully by 100% tested parts down the the brand and speed of devices... Windows 10 is more buggy than WIndows 7 after SP1....and it's more than one PC that I have seen the same bugs on...Not even as stable as Windows 7 SP1.. I am testing Windows 10 in our office on Brand new computers.. and we have more complants about crashing than the Windows 7 machines.... by far...
  • agreed, using it almost all my computers, much more stable, and faster, and more compatible with the software i use (audio and video editting).   i use windows xp for programs that don't work on windows 7 too. one computer has 8.1 (surface pro 1), but that's it, and i will NEVER upgrade it.    yes, i have tried windows 10, and all the updates on an extra laptop for testing.l it is too buggy and unstable and doesn't have anything new that i need to use. i appreciate microsoft trying to update it system OS, but for some people it just does not work, and thats how it will be from here on out.
  • Then you won't be using a computer ten years from now.
  • LOL, he will be using quantum computer then xD
  • Tell me, which version of Win10 are you using? If you're using Insider Preview versions, then it DEFINITELY has issues, in which you can/have to submit your feedback for them to fix it. If you're not using it, then you have to tell your device manufacturer regarding their device driver. So far, performance between 10 and 7, is much the same, except for startup speed. 10 is way better.
  • Actually companies can still sell new PC's with Windows 7 or 8.1. Each copy of Windows 10 Pro contains downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1 Pro. So companies can just purchase a Windows 10 Pro license and and instead of putting Windows 10 on that PC, they can put 8.1 or 7 on it. Lenovo has been doing this for years.
  • It's only a good thing I think. Less version to support, better support for newest thing...such as W10, HoloLens etc. Still don't understand why many people hate for example Windows 10, I really don't undestand. They keep using in most cases 7 and saying it's better because of "microsoft bla bla news about security". But the true is...that I see and get answers almost every time. They have not tried Windows 10. And every time I ask someone about this and get this kind of answer...I just smile. Like okey...truth is with you :D
  • Farewell old friends.
  • Sorry, hit the wrong link, did not mean to report your comment!! Sorry...
  • Good move. The vision of UWP cannot become a reality unless they did this.
  • Good move MS let's dump old stuff
  • Time for Microsoft to get moving in that backlog of issues and bugfixes the new and current feature updates.
  • They should have ended sales upon the release of Windows 10.
  • I don't know what all of these people are talking about Windows 10 being buggy. I have an Acer 2 in 1 with an Atom processor and 2GB of RAM. The lowest of the low and W10 runs smooth. The only issue is some casual games lag.
  • I agree, I've used Windows 10 from Launch on a home computer as well as on my Suface 3 (like your ACER- which has an ATOM processor) The Surface 3 is my favorite device. I now run Windows 10 for my work PC, with absolutely no issues, as well as 2 Laptops and the Surface 3.  Windows 10 is perfect.  It's nice to use the APP store knowing your not going to get some virus for downloading programs. Plus there are a ton of useful APP's that are unavailable on W7. These offer very good value for the functions they provide.
  • It's all downhill from here folks.
  • Windows XP works just fine if you do actual 'work' ! Still have it on all machines at office. We dont need 7,8 or10 !
  • You have to be trolling. XP is so old, a preschooler when it came out is well into college now. It's not supported and is prone to viruses. It's like when XP came out, there was that few still on Windows 1.0, which was only 16 years old at the time.
  • People just don't like change. Some people act like it will kill them though.
  • No problem as long your machines are not online.
  • Update support for xp is stopped by all software's. Chrome, Firefox stopped releasing updates for xp machines, lot of portals runs very slow.
  • Yeah, it's fine if you use only 2003 software and don't use the internet. Your productivity is compromised too, it's just you can't see it
  • All my computers in my office and at home are running Windows 10 except one in 8.1 which somehow missed the bus for free upgrade. Is there any way to upgrade for free now?
  • You can still use "accessibility upgrade" loophole.
  • Thanks.
  • The Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 tile intetrface has not been popular with some but honestly most Users of Windows 10 have it desktop mode and see the tiles only when they hit the Windows KEY and guess what folks you can remove ALL THE TILES IF YOU WISH so that when you hit the Windows key all you see is a list like you see in whindows 7, XP ect. Had I been Ballmer I would have had the Modern UI Tiles (AKA METRO TILES) only on ALL Windows smartphones and Tablet touch screen operated devices and keep ALL non touch screen Desktops and laptops and tablets using a Windows 7 desktop type interface.Life. Folks sometimes LIFE will not give you what you want so we have to Deal with Windows 10 which is not as bad as folks say it is and it's getting better. Frankly I prefer it over Windows XP, or Windows 7. Move on folks Windows 10 is now on over 400 Million Computers of various kinds and that number is increasing everyday. Learn how to use your way,to your advantage. I think you will get used to it and maybe like Windows 10
  • I don't know why people don't like the tiles. They're very useful for me, both to get info on everything and to keep an organized list of my apps so I don't have to search for them. This also frees up the desktop which I only use to place temporary files around