On Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7. This means that while the operating system will continue to function beyond that date, Microsoft will no longer provide:
- Technical support for any issues.
- Software updates.
- Security updates or fixes.
As as result of this, and as initially announced at the 2019 TPVD meetings week #50 summary, Linden Lab plan to cease their own support for Windows 7 from that date. This has now bee confirmed in an official blog post, which reads in part:
Accordingly, Linden Lab is updating our system requirements to remove Windows 7 from the versions we support. This does not mean that Second Life will stop working on Windows 7 immediately; existing viewers, and possibly some new viewers, should run as well as they did before. However, we will not be testing any viewers on Windows 7, so it is likely that compatibility problems will develop and increase over time. In addition, we will not attempt to fix any problems which occur only on unsupported operating systems (if a bug is reported against an unsupported system, we usually try to reproduce it on one that is supported; if we can’t, we don’t investigate further or attempt to fix it).
Those will have not upgraded to Windows 10 but have a valid copy of Windows 7 may still be able to upgrade using the Microsoft Windows 10 update site (note that free updates to Windows 10 were supposed to have been discontinued be Microsoft at the end of December 2017, but some are reporting it is still working via the Create Windows 10 Installation Media option).
Again, note that that’s Lab’s decision does not mean users on Windows 7 will find themselves blocked from accessing Second Life on or after January 14th, 2020, but will continue to be able to use the platform as before. However, and as noted in the official blog post, such users:
- Will not receive assistance from LL support should they encounter problems.
- Will not have bugs they report investigated or fixed unless said bugs can be reproduced using Windows 8 or Windows 10.
- May find that, over time, viewer updates may not function as expected on Windows 7, simply because updates and new features will no longer be tested against Windows 7.
Given the potential exposure to malicious activities, both Microsoft and Linden Lab point to the need for users to only utilise supported versions of Windows on their computers, and keep up-to-date will all official patches and releases.