I was amazed to learn yesterday, upon visiting Microsoft’s Retired Exams page, that the Windows 7 exams are scheduled to retire at the end of this month. I suppose it should have come as no surprise, given that mainstream support for Windows 7 ended on January 13, 2015. And in fact, as you can see on the Microsoft Lifecycle Fact Sheet, extended support for Windows 7 comes to a screeching halt in less than 18 months. As of January 13, 2020, the only way to keep Windows 7 alive will be by purchasing special “life extension” support from Microsoft. If you think back about XP, the same thing happened back then, too. To me, because MS Win7 cert exams expire July 31, 2018, it’s a strong reminder that another, similar train wreck may be in the offing.
It’s almost time to say “Bye-Bye” to Windows 7, yet it still runs on nearly half of all Windows PCs.
After MS Win7 Cert Exams Expire July 31, Then What?
These exam retirements signal that Microsoft is closing the doors on Windows 7 internally. That said, the rest of the world seems far less ready to move onto newer Windows versions. As of today (7/6/18) NetMarketShare reports that 43.38% of Windows devices run Windows 7. By comparison, 32.08% run Windows 10. Win10 devices, according to MS at the May Build conference, number over 700 million. That means that at least 946 million devices still run Windows 7. My best guess is that the majority of those systems are in business rather than personal use.
What does it all mean? For one thing, it means that those businesses that haven’t yet upgraded to Win10 should really get that ball rolling right away. For another, it means that they have less than 17 months to migrate unless they want to shoulder added costs for extended support. Third, it suggests that IT pros can still benefit from Win10 certifications (which include the MCSA: Windows 10 and the MCSE: Mobility credentials). And fourth, it portends a possible spike in new PC purchases because it’s probably time to refresh a lot of old hardware that’s still running Win7, too.
One more thing’s for sure: it’s going to be interesting to watch what happens as the clock ticks down to the “real end” for Windows 7. There are still a lot of devices that will need to migrate to stay supported for owners unwilling or unable to incur added costs for extended support. Stay tuned!