Given Microsoft’s blitzkrieg advertising for Win8 and retailers’ obsession with selling the next new thing, you could easily conclude that new Win7 PCs are no longer for sale.
You’d be wrong. You won’t find Win7 systems at the big-box stores, but major PC manufacturers still offer them online. You just have to know where to look.
Keeping an old OS in the sales pipeline
The life cycle of Microsoft operating systems was more or less set in stone back in 2010 when the company announced the release of Windows 7 SP1 Public Beta. In that announcement, Microsoft stated:
“In the interest of providing more consistency and predictability with how we manage the Windows life cycle, we are confirming our current policy of allowing retailers to sell the boxed version of the previous OS for up to one year after release of a new OS, and that OEMs can sell PCs with the previous OS pre-loaded for up to two years after the launch date of the new OS.”
Given Windows 8’s general release date of Oct. 26, 2012, retailers should be able to sell boxed copies of Windows 7 until October 26 of this year, and PCs preloaded with Win7 should be available into October, 2014 — assuming, of course, that Microsoft doesn’t change the rules. And that could happen if Windows 8.1 sales aren’t significantly better than sales of Windows 8.
For now, Windows 7 is alive and well. Businesses are rapidly migrating from Windows XP and Vista, and they’ve found it’s most cost-effective to keep the familiar keyboard-and-mouse-driven interface of Windows 7. Take a look at Dell’s and HP’s business-focused websites; you’ll still find a cornucopia of Windows 7 systems.
A few considerations when buying a new Win7 PC
There are some drawbacks to sticking with Windows 7. The OS is now four years old and hasn’t had any real improvements since its launch. And with Windows 8, Microsoft seems ready to change its versioning rules. Version 8.1, for example, isn’t just a service pack; it has real enhancements (though Microsoft was more or less forced to make those enhancements).
Moreover, PC manufacturers are often not equipping new Win7 laptops and desktops with the most advanced hardware. Most of these systems come with older CPUs (such as the Intel Core i3 processor) and without USB 3.0 ports or high-speed solid-state drives.