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For most Windows 7 users, moving to a new device with Windows 11 is the recommended path forward. Today's PCs are faster, lightweight yet powerful, and more secure, with an average price that's considerably less than that of the average PC eight years ago. To find the best PC for you, browse for compatible Windows 11 PCs.
For any software not currently available in Microsoft Store, we recommend going to that company's official website and downloading the Windows 11 version from there. In limited circumstances, some older software may not have an updated version that's compatible with Windows 11.
Support for Windows 7 came to an end on January 14, 2020. You are receiving notifications as a Windows 7 customer to remind you that your device is no longer supported and no longer receiving security updates. We recommend moving to a new PC with Windows 11. More information on the notification is available here.
X86 client versions with PAE enabled do have a usable 37-bit (128 GB) physical address space. The limit that these versions impose is the highest permitted physical RAM address, not the size of the IO space. That means PAE-aware drivers can actually use physical space above 4 GB if they want. For example, drivers could map the "lost" memory regions located above 4 GB and expose this memory as a RAM disk.
Although organizations can purchase ESU at any time, they won't have received bug fixes or security updates since January 14, 2020 without ESU. Additionally, Microsoft Support no longer provides any form of support for these customers.
Yes. Because the updates are cumulative, organizations must pay for the preceding years if they purchase Windows 7 ESU for the first time in year two or year three. That is, customers must have purchased coverage for year 1 of ESU in order to buy year 2, and coverage for year 2 in order to buy year 3. Customers may buy coverage for previous years at the same time they buy coverage for a current period. It's unnecessary to buy a certain period of coverage within that coverage period.
No. Customers that purchase directly from Microsoft (for example, VL customers or CSP direct Partners) can use an active support contract, such as Software Assurance or Premier or Unified Support, to request assistance with Windows 7. Partners can also use their Partner Support Plans to request assistance for Windows 7.
Yes. CSP direct Partners can use their existing Partner Support plans to request assistance for Windows 7 ESU if the customer has purchased ESU. Resellers should work together with their CSP indirect Partners to request assistance for Windows 7 questions regarding devices that are covered by ESU.
All ESU customers must call Microsoft Support in order to place a request for a technical support incident. Premier and Unified customers can find the correct number to call within Services Hub. Non-Premier and Unified customers can find the correct number to call on the Global Customer Service phone numbers page.
We continue to work to fully automate the validation process. If a customer purchased ESU as part of their Enterprise Agreement, an agent can verify the purchase by asking for the customer's Enterprise Agreement number or for the full customer name. To locate their Agreement Number, a customer can sign in to Volume License Service Center, and go to Licenses > License Summary. Typically, the License Summary displays recently purchased licenses within 24 hours after Microsoft receives a customer order from a Microsoft Partner.
An organization that uses volume licensing (VL) to manage on-premises deployments can use VL to deploy ESU to the covered devices. When an organization purchases Windows 7 ESU, Microsoft provides a MAK key in the VLSC. This MAK key is independent of the Windows 7 activation key and won't interfere with the existing Key Management Server (KMS) operating system activation deployment.
The yearly ESU MAK keys don't expire. However, they don't enable the device to install updates beyond their designated time frame. For example, a device with only a Year 1 ESU MAK key can continue to install updates made available during Year 1 even after the Year 1 time frame ends. But it won't receive any further updates in Year 2.
The update is programmed to look for the MAK activation on the endpoint, and will install only on those systems together with the MAK key. Learn more about Extended Security Updates and Configuration Manager.
Windows 7 was intended to be an incremental upgrade to Microsoft Windows, addressing Windows Vista's poor critical reception while maintaining hardware and software compatibility. Windows 7 continued improvements on the Windows Aero user interface with the addition of a redesigned taskbar that allows pinned applications, and new window management features. Other new features were added to the operating system, including libraries, the new file-sharing system HomeGroup, and support for multitouch input. A new "Action Center" was also added to provide an overview of system security and maintenance information, and tweaks were made to the User Account Control system to make it less intrusive. Windows 7 also shipped with updated versions of several stock applications, including Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center.
Unlike Vista, Windows 7 received critical acclaim, with critics considering the operating system to be a major improvement over its predecessor because of its improved performance, its more intuitive interface, fewer User Account Control popups, and other improvements made across the platform. Windows 7 was a major success for Microsoft; even before its official release, pre-order sales for the operating system on the online retailer Amazon.com had surpassed previous records. In just six months, over 100 million copies had been sold worldwide, increasing to over 630 million licenses by July 2012. By January 2018, Windows 10 surpassed Windows 7 as the most popular version of Windows worldwide. As of September 2022[update], 11% of traditional PCs running Windows are running Windows 7. Windows 11 has recently taken second place from Windows 7 as the most popular Windows edition. It still remains popular in countries such as Syria, China, India, and Venezuela.
Windows 7 is the final version of Windows that supports processors without SSE2 or NX (although an update released in 2018 dropped support for non-SSE2 processors). Its successor, Windows 8, requires a processor with SSE2 and NX in any supported architecture.
When released, Windows Vista was criticized for its long development time, performance issues, spotty compatibility with existing hardware and software at launch, changes affecting the compatibility of certain PC games, and unclear assurances by Microsoft that certain computers shipping with XP before launch would be "Vista Capable" (which led to a class-action lawsuit), among other critiques. As such, the adoption of Vista in comparison to XP remained somewhat low. In July 2007, six months following the public release of Vista, it was reported that the next version of Windows would then be codenamed Windows 7, with plans for a final release within three years. Bill Gates, in an interview with Newsweek, suggested that Windows 7 would be more "user-centric". Gates later said that Windows 7 would also focus on performance improvements. Steven Sinofsky later expanded on this point, explaining in the Engineering Windows 7 blog that the company was using a variety of new tracing tools to measure the performance of many areas of the operating system on an ongoing basis, to help locate inefficient code paths and to help prevent performance regressions. Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the kind of device compatibility issues they encountered migrating from Windows XP. An estimated 1,000 developers worked on Windows 7. These were broadly divided into "core operating system" and "Windows client experience", in turn organized into 25 teams of around 40 developers on average.
In October 2008, it was announced that Windows 7 would also be the official name of the operating system. There has been some confusion over naming the product Windows 7, while versioning it as 6.1 to indicate its similar build to Vista and increase compatibility with applications that only check major version numbers, similar to Windows 2000 and Windows XP both having 5.x version numbers. The first external release to select Microsoft partners came in January 2008 with Milestone 1, build 6519. Speaking about Windows 7 on October 16, 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7, indicating that Windows 7 would be a refined version of Windows Vista.
At PDC 2008, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 7 with its reworked taskbar. On December 27, 2008, the Windows 7 Beta was leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent. According to a performance test by ZDNet, Windows 7 Beta beat both Windows XP and Vista in several key areas, including boot and shutdown time and working with files, such as loading documents. Other areas did not beat XP, including PC Pro benchmarks for typical office activities and video editing, which remain identical to Vista and slower than XP. On January 7, 2009, the x64 version of the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) was leaked onto the web, with some torrents being infected with a trojan. At CES 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Windows 7 Beta, build 7000, had been made available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the format of an ISO image. The stock wallpaper of the beta version contained a digital image of the Betta fish.
The release candidate, build 7100, became available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and Connect Program participants on April 30, 2009. On May 5, 2009, it became available to the general public, although it had also been leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent. The release candidate was available in five languages and expired on June 1, 2010, with shutdowns every two hours starting March 1, 2010. Microsoft stated that Windows 7 would be released to the general public on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the launch of its predecessor. Microsoft released Windows 7 to MSDN and Technet subscribers on August 6, 2009. Microsoft announced that Windows 7, along with Windows Server 2008 R2, was released to manufacturing in the United States and Canada on July 22, 2009. Windows 7 RTM is build 7600.16385.090713-1255, which was compiled on July 13, 2009, and was declared the final RTM build after passing all Microsoft's tests internally. 2b1af7f3a8