Microsoft To Abandon Mainstream Support of Windows 7!

Windows 7 users have had a lot of fun recently. Poking fun at Windows 8 is a popular pastime as is teasing those too stubborn to abandon the Windows XP sinking ship, but now comes their own wake up call. Microsoft  has formally announced that mainstream support for Windows 7 will end on 13 January 2015 – just 5 months away.

“Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported,” the company explained. “Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software.”

Of course January 2015 will be much sooner than many people will have expected, especially the high profile attention given to the end of Windows XP support 13 years after release. By comparison Windows 7 is less than five years old.

That said there is good reason for Microsoft’s apparent lack of warning in this case: it is talking about two different kinds of support.

Mainstream Support Vs. Extended Support

On 13 January 2015 Windows 7’s ‘Mainstream Support’ will come to an end. That means no new Service Packs or features will be released. This is wholly different from the end of ‘Extended Support’ which is what happened to Windows XP on 8 April 2014.

Extended Support is the big one: no more security patches when hackers find holes, no performance improvements, nothing – the OS is effectively dead. Windows 7 Extended Support will not end until 11 April 2017. For comparison Windows XP Mainstream Support ended back on 8 April 2009.

Consequently most can breathe a sigh of relief, especially with Windows 7 currently running onover 50% of PCs around the world. If Windows XP was hard to kill, Windows 7 is likely to be even harder.

 

2014-07-09_16-53-44

 

What Windows 7 users must know, however, is that they have to be running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 for these days to apply. Support for Windows 7 RTM (Released to Manufacturing – the original release software) was stopped back on 9 April 2013 – so if for some reason you aren’t keeping Windows 7 up to date do so immediately.

A similar issue appeared when Microsoft ditched Windows 8 support with just a month’s notice in April forcing everyone to immediately upgrade to Windows 8.1. After a hostile reception (includingfrom me) it increased the support period to 4 months.

 

2014-07-09_17-00-13

 

Sales End Soon

For the record those who still want to buy Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 will also need to be snappy. Sales of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate will formally end on 31 October 2014, though a date to end sales of Windows 7 Professional has yet to be established.

Interestingly Microsoft has also revealed end of Mainstream Support for a number of its other platforms including Windows Server 2008, Windows Storage Server 2008, Exchange Server 2010, Windows CE 5.0 and Windows Phone 7.8. The last of these is most interesting with Mainstream Support ending on 9 September 2014. Extended Support will then continue for another 18 months.

Why Your Mouse Cursor Is Slanted Instead of Straight?

Why Your Mouse Cursor Is Slanted Instead of Straight

Have you ever wondered why your mouse cursor rests ever so slightly to the left? Chances are, that little arrow on an incline is so ubiquitous that you’ve never even thought twice about its 45-degree lean. As it turns out, there’s a very good reason for it. Or was, anyway, back in a more pixelated age.

Over on Stack Exchange, computer software developer Bart Gijssens revealed the following explanation of the slanted cursor’s origins in response to this question on its design.

This is the historical reason:

Why Your Mouse Cursor Is Slanted Instead of Straight1

(concept drawing taken from document: http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/xerox/parc…)

The mouse, and therefore the mouse cursor, was invented by Douglas Englebart, and was initially an arrow pointing up.

When the XEROX PARC machine was built, the cursor changed into a tilted arrow. It was found that, given the low resolution of the screens in those days, drawing a straight line and a line in the 45 degrees angle was easier to do and more recognizable than the straight cursor.

As you can see below, the original, straight cursor was indeed much more difficult to pick out amongst the blocks of basic text.

Why Your Mouse Cursor Is Slanted Instead of Straight2

And as Gijssens points out in a later edit, after Englebart created the left-leaning cursor, Steve Jobs borrowed it for his software followed by Bill Gates who borrowed it after him. At this point, we’ve just become so accustomed to our leaning (and still highly functional!) arrow that anything else would seem too bizarre. Besides, why mess with perfection?

Internet Explorer 10 goes live for Windows 7 users, available in 95 languages!

Microsoft has officially released the final version of the latest Internet Explorer to Windows 7 users. The Internet Explorer 10 is available in 95 languages and Windows 7 users will all get the update to the latest version of IE automatically in the upcoming days but eager users are able to download it manually.

Internet Explorer 10, which is already available on Windows 8, comes with improved JavaScript performance for the Windows 7 machines. The browser also focuses on battery management for smartphones and the upgraded browser is integrated with spell checking and auto-correct features on Windows 7.

The IE 10 now offers better support for web standards like the latest CSS3, but the user interface for the Windows 7 version however remains similar to IE 9. So, the full-screen experience from the Windows 8 machine will not be available for the Windows 7 users.

If you are impatient, you can download the latest version of Internet Explorer from the official Microsoft website.

Microsoft Windows 8 .. Say Goodbye to the ” Start ” Button !

Say goodbye to the Windows ” Start ” button ! Microsoft has gotten rid of it from the latest build of Windows 8.

Hitting the Web over the weekend, screenshots of the new Windows 8 build display the “super bar,” but without the start button orb on the left, according to The Verge. Build 8220 will be the final version released before the beta, now known as the Consumer Preview, debuts before the end of the month.

Until its untimely (or timely) death, the Windows 8 start button located in the Metro UI offered access to the search, share, devices, and settings panels. The Windows start button in the desktop simply returned you to the Metro UI.

To replace the start button, Microsoft will reportedly turn that space into a hot corner, sources told The Verge. Hovering your mouse or swiping your finger over that spot will bounce you back and forth between the Metro UI and the desktop in an attempt to offer a more consistent experience between the two environments.

Fans of the traditional start button may not be happy. But The Verge believes the move is final given that Microsoft has been chewing on this decision for awhile. On the plus side, the super bar will retain its Windows 7 functionality as home to pinned shortcuts for launching your favorite desktop applications.

Windows 8 will also sport an enhanced “charms bar,” a group of transparent icons that provide access to key features, added The Verge.

The charms bar can actually fill in as a replacement for the defunct Metro UI start button by offering links to the search, share, devices, and settings panels.

A number of Microsoft users have expressed concern over Windows 8’s reliance on the Metro UI and touch-based input. PC users in particular have complained that the new UI doesn’t lend itself as easily to navigating via conventional mouse and keyboard, at least as seen in the current Developer Preview.

Acknowledging the concerns and tweaking some aspects of Windows 8 in response, Microsoft has promised that the new Consumer Preview will be more user friendly for traditional desktop users.