Windows 7 PCs to fade out of view from October 31

Another reason to hate Halloween

Thinking about picking up a new PC with Windows 7 pre-installed? You might want to hurry as Microsoft has announced it will no longer supply certain versions of the OS to hardware partners from October 31.

Post-Halloween, Microsoft will stop sending copies of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium or Ultimate to PC makers, which will be able to sell off (but not replenish) remaining stock. A cut-off date for Windows 7 Pro is yet to be announced.

The move is a not-so-subtle nudging of users toward Windows 8, which has struggled to find its footing since launching in 2012. According to figures from NetMarketShare, 13.4% of PC users are using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, compared with 51.2% on Windows 7 and 23.89% running the 12-year-old OS Windows XP.

Microsoft revealed earlier this year that it is ending mainstream (free) support for Windows 7, which turns five on October 22, on January 21 2015. That date will see it transition to Extended Support (which will end in 2020) and will include security updates and paid hotfix support.

Nine lives

Microsoft is hosting an event in San Franciso next week which is likely to be used to show off the next version of Windows, Windows 9 (also known as "Threshold").

A slew of juicy leaks have so far revealed Windows 9 to feature a redesigned Start Menu that incorporates Live Tiles, OS X-like multi-desktop functionality, a notification centre and Microsoft's Siri-like personal assistant, Cortana.