For those of you trying desperately to avoid Windows 10, your window of opportunity just got smaller – OEM PC sales that come bundled with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1 have now officially ceased. What this means is that Microsoft won’t be selling any licenses on to their OEM partners to bundle with new hardware, and any stock left over in the sales channel that has these old licenses will not be renewed. While official extended support for Windows 7 SP1 ends on 14 January 2020, and Windows 8.1’s term ends on 10 January 2023, Microsoft wants as many people to hop on to the Windows 10 bandwagon as possible. There is a loophole to be exploited here, though – new PCs sold with Windows 10 Professional that come with downgrade rights are still eligible to be pre-installed with Windows 7 or 8.1.
If you’re looking for a Windows 7 or 8.1 key for a new install, you’re also out of luck – sales of those keys ended on 31 October 2013 and 1 September 2015 respectively. Any keys floating around now are what’s left in the retail channel, and the ones you find on the Microsoft Softwareswap subreddit are unlikely to be legitimately sourced, so take care with where you purchase your license key.