This is the last year Microsoft will dish out free security updates for Windows 7

Flickr via Manuel Iglesias. Click for original.

(Image: © Flickr via Manuel Iglesias)

Microsoft does not intend on supporting Windows 7 forever, even if a legion of users still refuse to upgrade. Just the opposite, Windows 7 users are down to one final year of free security updates. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7 PCs, except to business that are willing to pay a fee.

This has been known for quite some time, though it's worth reminding now that Windows 7 users have exactly one year to upgrade before the security patches stop coming.

"Support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020. Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for devices running Windows 7 operating systems. That’s why it’s time to make the shift to Windows 10 today," Microsoft said last September.

Windows 7 released to the public on October 22, 2009, followed by Windows 10 nearly five years later—Windows 10 started shipping to OEMs on July 15, 2015, and to the general public on July 29.

As it approaches a decade on the market, Windows 7 remains a popular operating system.  According to Net Applications, it took more than three years, and all of 2018, for Windows 10 to finally eclipse Windows 7 in usage—Windows 10 ended the year with a 39.22 percent of the desktop OS market, compared to Windows 7's 36.9 percent.

That gap will likely widen as the year goes on, though the numbers underscores just how popular Windows 7 remains. Likewise, it hints at lingering hesitation to upgrade to Windows 10.

One area Microsoft has found success in pushing out Windows 10 is gaming. Steam's hardware and software survey shows that over 64 percent of gamers played on Windows 10 systems (mostly 64-bit and a small number of 32-bit) in December, versus just under 28 percent who rocked a Windows 7 PC.

In any event, if you're still on Windows 7, here's an early heads up that you're down to your final year of free security updates.