When will Windows 7 stop getting new devices with drivers for it?

If you look at the history of Windows, you can find Socket 775 Motherboards with Win98/ME Drivers, so that's about 8-10 years after the release of said OS. Windows XP has had new drivers for it until the year 2013 and in fact, I have one of the last generation of Hardware that has Windows XP drivers, so that's 12 years. So going by that convention, Windows 7 support should last 15 years or longer.

This isn't very scientific because there's a small sample size and I criticize people saying Microsoft would have one good version of windows and one bad version, but they're going on a small sample size and Windows ME wasn't bad compared to Windows 9x as a whole, XP was garbage pre-SP1, Vista wasn't as bad as people say, it was just a case of feature creep and nobody's cheap hardware could run it and driver problems that still exist in Windows 7, Windows 7 just made Vista obsolete, if you're going to get NT 6.0, you might as well get NT 6.1 because it's newer and better.

But anyway, how long do you think Win 7 will last with Driver support?


We will have to see. From what I know about the IT industry, we know at least it will continue to be supported through 2020. Seeing as these organizations have moved so slow with acquiring new hardware I can't imagine Microsoft will drop it completely, perhaps for the consumer market first.

@commodore256 I am super new here so forgive any obvious omissions. It is more of an 'in general' contribution to the conversation.

ME has the dubious title "worst OS ever released." Vista was just as bad as people thought it was, at least prior to SP1.

Vista RTM had some software bottlenecks that made the OS crawl, even while running on recommended hardware. It was a pain to deploy since it had some registry keys hardcoded, there was simply no hardware support (drivers) especially graphics ones and the UI was terrible.

Win 7 fixed the UI but otherwise used the same code base and was released late enough to allow manufactures to finish writing their Vista drivers, which could be reused on Windows 7. The v3.0 deployment tools released with 7 also started to look polished.

In terms of general hardware support, 7 will probably be dead by 2022 at the latest or about 13 years (2009). MS is already pushing OEMs to not support 7 on their newer platforms and it is only 2017, so it is unlikely that newer hardware vendors will continue to support older OSes once 7 is "officially" unsupported in 2020.

If someone's printer, expansion card, scanner software or the newest version of some productivity software's dongle stops working on 7, that will instantly prompt professionals to move to whatever OS and whatever hardware will support it. The business community tends to not change their configurations but once it becomes "unsupported" and maintenance costs increase dramatically, they will. Once they switch over to anything else, the remaining manufactures that were supporting 7 will no longer have a reason to do so. After a small change-over period, modern hardware will not support 7 anymore.

Win7 is already considered "legacy" by many software developers and some have dropped support for Vista already, even though technically it is still under extended support for a while longer. Honestly, it is a pain to install Win7 on Ryzen/KabbyLake systems, mostly due Win7 showing its age and MS is throwing tantrums about not wanting to support the platforms. That means that installing Win7 on new systems past 2020 will just be a no-go given how many workarounds have to be used, even now, to get everything working/updating properly.

edit: grammar

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I liked Windows Vista's GUI, but what good is it if the OS itself has problems. Which made Windows XP and 7 more compelling at the time.

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Well, they didn't stop Windows XP support until 2009 or 2010. Even a few weeks ago when that ransomware by the name of WannaCry hit Windows PCs, a lot of the affected systems still had XP, yes, you read it right :D. Microsoft still had craft a patch for that. So based on that, expect the support to last maybe another couple of years while emergency patches may go father than that.

Most likely the patch needed one line of code to support XP that they did it to look good.

Good PR for <5 minutes of some developers time is a good thing.

Yeah, it was just an SMB update and they would have felt liable for all of the machines in the health industry effected if they didn't patch SMB.

I think you're being very optimistic. Win 7 has over 50% market share and if MS allowed it there would still be vendors selling brand new Win 7 boxen. Companies want it. The driver issue isn't a problem because of the installed base. There won't be something unusable for Win 7 for a long time unless it's a DRM issue which is the Sky and Kabylake issue. Win 7 works fine on both BTW.

WinNT SP4 probably works fine on Ryzen and Kabylake. The issue is not compatibility, it is driver software availability. Even if the OS works, if the underlying hardware vendors do not make compatible drivers for that OS, then their hardware will be not be usable using that OS. Who really wants a laptop without a WiFi driver? Or a desktop without a graphics driver? Or sound or NIC or capture card or without USB 3.0+ or a printer that does not work?

At some point, even if the OS is technically "usable," it becomes unusable if new devices (graphics cards/storage add-in cards/NIC/WiFI/printers etc) do not have any drivers available for that OS. This compatibility, or lack of it, is a significant portion of what determines market-share, not the other way around.

The install base does not determine driver support, driver support determines the install base. The OS just does not matter. People will use whatever OS in whatever configuration is required to do whatever they are trying to do. If that is Win7 because software manufactuer X recommends that, then that is what they want. Once manufactures stop supporting Win7 and that recommendation changes, the OS's market-share will nose-dive.

The death toll for Windows 7 running on new hardware has already started. Working with imaging servers to roll out Windows 7 in the enterprise can be problematic when targeting Skylake and Kaby Lake chipsets, even if the drivers exist.

What I'm really curious about is how the Windows Hardware Abstraction Layer and kernel modules deal with the new hardware in reality, or if the supposed issues are just Microsoft carrying water for the hardware vendors because it's in their long term interests to convert users to Windows 10 (the ultimate botnet?). Obviously hardware vendors spend a great deal of time and money making their products backward compatible, and it slows the pace of innovation to support the older OS platform, but Microsoft could easily choose to support the older hardware with more flexibility.

Well seeing as how the 770 has driver support in XP, I'll expect 7 to have 20 years or something ridiculous. So many people have had horror stories with XP, but nobody hates seven. I don't even hate seven...... I don't like it, but I don't hate it.

While I will agree with you to a point - there's definitely a popularity contest going on. 3rd party vendors support the largest population. If their market is mostly Win 7 users (and that is where it's at corporately) then they will have drivers to support it irrespective of what MS wants. MS can arm twist the boxen guys to stop putting out Win 7 machines (tho it's a dirty secret that if you buy enough they will still do Win 7, shhhh) but it's going real slow as the adoption rate shows.

It's the most popular OS on planet earth at the moment having succeeded windows vista , windows 8 , and from the looks of it even windows 10 is struggling to take over 7.

So driver support will not go anywhere until it becomes unpopular. With little to nobody using windows 8 , the real question is when will windows 8 loose driver support.

Well, Vista Driver support ended the same time with XP support if that's any indication.

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There’s still OS/2 on ATMs these days. So my prediction would extend beyond 2020, esp. If banks and governments are still running W7 (which they are).