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William George (Puget Labs)

Windows 7? Ultimate no longer...

Written on April 23, 2015 by William George

Windows 7 Ultimate Logo
It has begun. Well, it has really been a long time coming… but it is finally here. The first pangs of the death of Windows 7: we can no longer offer the Ultimate version on our computers.
Microsoft stopped selling new licenses for Windows 7 Home and Ultimate versions back in October of last year (2014), but there has been sufficient stock built up at suppliers and online resellers that we’ve been able to keep getting legitimate OEM licenses until now. The Ultimate version is likely the first to fall because it was the most niche of the three Windows 7 versions we carried. It is really only needed for advanced features like Bitlocker encryption and additional language packs.
Because those features are not available in other Windows 7 versions, though, it means that users who need them will have to go with Windows 8.1 Pro instead. Sometimes Microsoft provides options to ‘downgrade’ from a newer version of Windows to an older one, but there is no downgrade path to Windows 7 Ultimate - most likely because there is no Ultimate equivalent in the Windows 8 / 8.1 lineup.
I expect that at some point in the coming months Windows 7 Home Premium will follow Ultimate into oblivion. The Professional version will be around a bit longer, though, as Microsoft has not yet stopped selling new licenses for it. Further, when 7 Pro does finally kick the bucket we will still be able to offer it via Windows 8.1 Pro -> 7 Pro downgrade rights. That is a bit of a work-around, but it will allow use of 7 Pro for a few years to come.
Some more tidbits about the decline of Windows 7:
  • Windows 7 still has a larger install base than Windows 8 / 8.1
  • It will be supported via security updates until January of 2020
  • Users of Windows 7 will have the option to upgrade for free to Windows 10 during the first year it is available
Sources / more info: 
Windows version lifecycle & support length
Windows downgrade rights
Windows downgrade how-to / details
OS user base comparisons

Windows 10 info & free offer email signup

Tags: Windows 7, Ultimate, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Microsoft

If you're purchasing a computer today, my advice is to go with Windows 8.1 and then go with the free upgrade to Windows 10 when it arrives this summer. I've been running Windows 10 for a couple of months now and like it a lot. Windows 7 had a great run and will go down as one of the best Windows versions ever. But it's time to move on.

Posted on 2015-04-26 17:29:48
Jeff Q. Stubbers

Sorry, Brett. I agree with William on this point..

Posted on 2015-04-30 16:39:49

IMHO, here's why Microsoft is offering Win 10 for free: 1) Windows 8.x sucks; 2) Windows 7 power users - at least those like me - would rather move to Linux after Win7 versus stomach another awful Microsoft OS.

After I tried Win 8, I decided it was time to move on from Microsoft's horribly buggy platform for good. If I do use Win 10 at all, it will only be out of curiosity and because it's free. There is just plain less and less value in sticking with Windows. The only thing I need even Win7 for is playing games. As more software manufacturers make the leap to creating their own hardware platform (e.g. Steam), the attraction to Windows for gaming will diminish further (i.e. further than it has thanks to consoles).

Other than the Xbox, look at any other Microsoft OS platform and there are better/faster/cheaper alternatives. :-) Even the Xbox, I can already see its days are numbered. It's going to have a shorter effective lifespan than its predecessor. The barriers to entry in the hardware market are dropping faster than AMD's stock price.

Posted on 2015-06-30 21:56:09