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.




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.




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:…)

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?

365 Days Left Before Microsoft Stops Supporting Windows XP Users,Cyber threat alert!

Companies that are still using Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system on their computers will be leaving themselves open to cyber attacks when the software provider stops supporting the product next year, IT consultants have warned.

Microsoft has said it will end support for Windows XP on April 8 2014 – exactly a year from today, and 12 years after the operating system was first released. But a report by Camwood, a UK consultancy, has indicated that one-fifth of British IT managers plan on using the software after that date, even though they will be unable to receive security updates or technical support from Microsoft.

In a study of 250 chief information officers, chief technology officers and IT managers at companies with more than 2,000 employees, more than half the respondents said they had yet to start addressing the problem, with only 42 per cent saying they were already taking steps to upgrade their Windows software.

Windows XP. Boot Screen

Microsoft has warned its customers to allow 18-30 months to fully migrate from Windows XP to a newer version.

In other areas of IT, using the same version of software for 13 years is almost unheard of. But Windows XP remains a staple of IT departments as many chose not to upgrade to 2005’s Windows Vista, which required hardware upgrades and contained a number of bugs, or to Windows 7, which was released in 2009 during the global financial crisis when IT budgets were tight.

Since then, Windows 8, which was released in August last year and brings in a new touchscreen interface, has been focused on consumer rather than business users.

However, having already extended the support period for Windows XP for businesses, Microsoft is not expected to do so again.

Research firm Gartner has found that the pressure to upgrade is not just coming from Microsoft: this year, 60 per cent of independent software vendors are expected to have a new product release that does not work with Windows XP.

“The message that Microsoft is switching off the lights is being received loud and clear by the IT community but it would appear that the business don’t understand the perils of remaining on XP,” said Adrian Foxall, chief executive of Camwood.

Eighty two per cent of IT managers said they were aware of the imminent demise of Windows XP. Of those who had not upgraded, 21 per cent were worried about the migration process, and 16 per cent cited a lack of budget for the update.

“In these tough economic times, it is not surprising that business leaders do not want to invest a substantial amount of money in something that essentially isn’t broken, as is the case with Windows XP today,” said Mr Foxall.

Of the 42 per cent who had started migrating, more than half said they were on track to finish by April 2014, the report said.