Hello NVDA community,
Before I get into the heart of this announcement, I’m delighted to announce that all my add-ons are compatible with NVDA 2022.2 changes. And yes, I’m back – thank you everyone for your valuable feedback, comments, and criticisms – I still have some residue from NVDA 2022.1 and add-ons work but feeling a bit better after taking a break for a while.
The following notice is applicable to anyone using my add-ons (Ad-on Updater, Windows App Essentials, future add-ons and/or add-ons awaiting new maintainers), specifically for anyone using Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and their server counterparts. Please do NOT take this as a statement on NVDA and support for Windows releases (for that one, see a message from Quentin from NV Access posted earlier this year):
Earlier this year I (Joseph Lee) announced that my add-ons will eventually end support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, noting that I will provide a 60-day notice before then. I then sent a notice in March 2022, stating that add-ons, including ones leaving my maintenance (which there were five then) will end support for Windows 7 and 8.x effective May 2022; I also noted that there will be an exception, namely Add-on Updater which will support old Windows releases as long as NVDA supports them. On paper, end of support date was May 7, 2022 but due to various community events (namely preparing for NVDA 2022.1), I forgot to announce that fact.
My original plan was and still is to see if anyone from the NVDA community can take care of now unmaintained add-ons from me (Enhanced Touch Gestures, Event Tracker, GoldWave, Resource Monitor, Sound Splitter, StationPlaylist) with a possibility that new maintainers will release a version of these add-ons requiring Windows 10 or later eventually (source code is ready). However, since I haven’t received messages about new maintainers (as of time of this announcement), I am revising the plan as follows:
Effective January 2023, all of my add-ons with limited exceptions will no longer support unsupported or soon to be unsupported Windows releases, including Windows 7/Server 2008 R2, Windows 8/Server 2012, Windows 8.1/Server 2012 R2, and unsupported feature updates for Windows 10 and later from the standpoint of consumers and businesses. For Windows 10, unsupported feature updates are 1507 (build 10240), 1511 (build 10586/November Update), 1607 (build 14393/Anniversary Update), 1703 (build 15063/Creators Update), 1709 (build 16299/Fall Creators Update), 1803 (build 17134/April 2018 Update), 1809 (build 17763/October 2018 Update), 1903 (build 18362/May 2019 Update), 1909 (build 18363/November 2019 Update), 2004 (build 19041/May 2020 Update), and from December 2022 onwards, 21H1 (build 19043/May 2021 Update); although consumer support for 20H2 (build 19042/October 2020 Update) ended in May 2022, business support ends in May 2023, thus it is still a supported Windows 10 feature update. The list of supported and unsupported Windows releases can change based on Windows product lifecycle schedule. This policy applies to current and future add-ons, and if circumstances warrant it, any add-ons I have maintained in the past that are not being maintained by the community as of January 2023 (see notes).
Frequently asked questions:
Q. Does this mean NVDA itself will end support for unsupported Windows releases?
No. NV Access noted that NVDA will support Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and other old releases.
Q. What about add-ons such as Control Usage Assistant?
Add-ons such as Control Usage Assistant (formerly maintained by me) have new maintainers, therefore this policy notice does not apply to them.
Q. Can I modify future add-on releases for use on unsupported Windows releases?
Yes and no. Yes you can view and modify add-ons so they can work on unsupported releases. At the same time, for some add-ons, supporting legacy Windows releases will require extensive edits to the add-on source code as legacy Windows code were removed for some add-ons in March 2022.
Q. Why is using Add-on Updater on unsupported Windows releases a potential security risk?
At its core, Add-on Updater downloads data from the Internet. Therefore, it might be possible that add-on hosting repositories can be compromised, leading to distribution of malicious add-ons. The add-ons community takes add-on security seriously, particularly when it comes to distribution channels.
Q. Does this mean future add-ons from Joseph will not support old Windows releases?
Yes. While the policy takes full effect in January 2023, you can assume that new add-ons I (Joseph Lee) may publish in 2022 will require Windows 10 Version 21H1 or later.
Q. Do you have plans to release updates for unmaintained add-ons prior to the policy taking effect in January 2023?
For Enhanced Touch Gestures, Event Tracker, GoldWave, Resource Monitor, Sound Splitter, and StationPlaylist, I have no plans to release updates in 2022; rather, releasing updates is close to impossible as these add-ons no longer support old Windows releases at the source code level.
Q. Wait, the just announced policy sounds similar to the feature update support policy for Windows App Essentials add-on.
In some ways, yes. The difference is that Windows App Essentials support Windows 10 and later whereas other add-ons support old Windows releases such as Windows 7.
Q. Why January 2023?
This is when support for Windows 7 and 8.1 will end for most users (extended security updates for Windows 7, extended support for Windows 8.1; Windows 8 is end of life as of January 2016).
Q. Does this policy apply to Windows Server releases?
Yes. While some Windows 10 releases have a server counterpart, they (2016, 2019, 2022) are still supported by Microsoft.
Q. What if I’m using Windows 10 Enterprise long-term servicing branch/channel (LTSB/LTSC) releases?
Since this edition is meant for mission-critical devices, I and my add-ons do not support this scenario. Windows App Essentials add-on itself does not support this configuration either.
The key takeaway is this: if you can, please upgrade to supported Windows releases as soon as possible. Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions or comments.