Mainstream support for the Windows 7 SP1 operating system has ended today, 13th January 2015. Extended support will however continue till January 14, 2020. What does this mean?
Microsoft offers two kinds of supports to the Windows operating systems:
Mainstream support, where it releases security as well as performance or maintenance updates and offers general support. Microsoft will offer mainstream support for a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product’s general availability, or for 2 years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer.
Extended consumer support where only security updates are released. Microsoft will offer extended support for either a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product’s general availability, or for 2 years after the second successor product (two versions later) is released, whichever is longer.
To see the chart depicting difference between the difference between Mainstream Support and Extended Support, visit this page.
If you are using Windows 7 SP1, you need not bother much about this. Microsoft will continue to patch it with security updates, but it will not get performance updates or new features released by Microsoft or third-party developers.
You can still buy a Windows 7 PC at the retailers. This development will also not affect downgrade rights. You will still be able to downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7, or from a higher edition to a lower edition of Windows 7.