Yes, winter is coming (we've been looking for a way to tie that line in) and on January 13th, Microsoft will be ending it's free mainstream support for some key products, including the very popular Windows 7 Operating System (OS).
First, let's define "mainstream support". That is the (typically) five-year period where good old Microsoft will provide free fixes-including (but not limited to) security updates. When mainstream support comes to an end for a specific product, Microsoft will continue to provide a period-usually 5 years-of extended support, where users get free security fixes but all other types of updates are paid and require very specific licensing deals.
When Microsoft talks about "End of Support", they are basically saying that there will be no more IT support, fixes, or patches, regardless of it is paid or free.
Mainstream support will also end on the same January 13 date for all versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, along with all editions of Window Storage Server 2008.
Just like the end of days of Windows support for XP in April 2013, users need to begin planning a "migration strategy" to a new operating system.
For those that are planning, looking for help in switching, or for those companies who are on the fence considering a change, here are steps to make your transition as seamless and painless as possible.