Windows 7 is a personal computer operating system that was produced by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and became generally available on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista.
Windows 7‘s server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time. Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi–core processors, improved boot performance, DirectAccess, and kernel improvements.
Despite its success, Windows 7 has not been without its critics. Some critics have noted the lack of major changes in the user interface compared to earlier versions, and the fact that Windows 7 still includes Internet Explorer 8, which was released in 2009.
Microsoft also faced criticism for not including support for Blu–ray in Windows 7. This was due to the fact that Microsoft had not come to an agreement with the Blu–ray Disc Association. Windows 7 has had an extensive development cycle, with three major releases to date. The first was the Release Candidate, which was released to the public in May 2009.
This was followed by the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version in July 2009, and the General Availability (GA) version in October 2009. Since its initial release, Windows 7 has seen a number of service packs and updates. These include Service Pack 1 in February 2011, Service Pack 2 in February 2012, the Windows 7 Platform Update in February 2013, the Windows 8.1 Update in April 2014, and the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016.
Windows 7 has been widely praised for its improved performance, ease of use, and improved security features. It has been adopted by many businesses and organizations, and it is estimated that Windows 7 still holds a roughly 30% market share as of 2020. Windows 7 is also one of the most popular operating systems for gaming. Many popular PC games, such as Grand Theft Auto V, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Rocket League, were released with support for Windows 7.
Although Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft, it is still possible to purchase the operating system and use it on the latest hardware. For those who wish to keep using Windows 7, there are several third–party security solutions available to protect against malicious software and other security threats.