Earlier this week, Microsoft reminded the world that it will stop providing “mainstream support” for Windows 7 (and a slew of other products) in January of 2015. Immediately, the Web was flooded in a wave of confused or downright fearmongering headlines and articles implying that Windows 7 is following Windows XP into the graveyard.
The confusion here stems from Microsoft’s maddeningly obtuse naming conventions. Leaving mainstream support only means that Windows 7 won’t be receiving any new features or product tweaks, such as the forthcoming DirectX 12. Once a Windows desktop operating system leaves mainstream support, it enters the extended support phase—the very same support phase that Windows XP found itself in from early 2009 until its death earlier this year.