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Microsoft Starts Final Clock on Windows 7 Pro OEM Sales

Sales of new PCs running the Windows 7 Professional edition will start to end next year.

The final end-of-sales date for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offering Windows 7 Pro edition machines will be Oct. 31, 2016. Various media outlets noticed that Microsoft had recently changed its product lifecycle page, adding this October date. It merely signifies the beginning of the end for Windows 7 Pro OEM sales.

Microsoft already ended the sales of its consumer edition Windows 7 sales. OEMs were to have stopped imaging those new machines back on October 31, 2014.

OEMs like Dell, HP and Toshiba can still sell the Windows 7 Pro machines that exist in their inventories, but they can't image new machines after the October 2016 date. Microsoft actually extended the Windows 7 Pro sales date by a couple of years. The company typically ends OEM sales two years after next Windows version, so Windows 7 Pro sales should have ended like the consumer versions back in October 2014. (Windows 8 was released on October 26, 2012, so the two-year period falls in 2014.)

For most organizations, the end of Windows 7 Pro OEM sales won't be a big deal. The hardware requirements between Windows 10 and Windows 7 aren't too different. If an organization really wants Windows 7, they can use the downgrade rights that accompany most Windows 10 licensing.

Microsoft typically permits downgrades two generations from its current Windows product for OEM machines. However, licensees can only move to the same Windows edition (such as moving from Pro to Pro editions).

Windows 10 OEM buyers can downgrade the operating system to Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, per Microsoft's downgrade rights publication. However, those rights follow the OEM's licensing terms, so the OEM documentation needs to be checked. Downgrade rights are even more flexible for Microsoft's volume licensees, as well as for those with Software Assurance agreements.

There is one exception to this overall downgrade rights policy. Those buying the Windows 10 "full-package product" (or the retail boxed product) don't have any downgrade rights.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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