NVDA support for Windows 7
To follow up on a couple of questions we have received, I wanted to clarify NV Access' position on Windows 7 support.
NVDA will NOT drop support for Windows 7 in the immediate future. We have previously stated that where we need to put out a release which breaks compatibility or support, that we would (where possible) make this the first release of the year. Therefore, at this time, we anticipate supporting Windows 7 until, at least, the first release in 2023.
I would also say that we strongly recommend everyone should, where possible, use a supported version of Windows. Microsoft stopped support for Windows 7 two years ago - 14th January 2020. There are numerous reasons to upgrade. One of the biggest is that any exploits found in the operating system not only won't be patched by Microsoft, but cyber criminals know that and will actively try to exploit them. Even an anti-virus program which can still be updated on Windows 7 may not be able to protect you from a vulnerability in the operating system itself.
As well as this, users on Windows 10 have access to more features with NVDA such as Windows OneCore Voices. The majority of NVDA users are on Windows 10. Therefore, NVDA on Windows 10 gets more testing and attention generally. It is the most well supported platform. (If you're looking to upgrade right up to Windows 11 then NVDA 2021.3.1 supports Windows 11. More users will migrate to that platform over time so it will only continue to improve).
When Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP in April 2014, NVDA continued to support it until 2017.3, in August 2017. While we can't guarantee how far into the future we will support Windows 7, we will do so until continuing to support it becomes problematic for supporting current features of Windows 10 / 11. Once we determine that we need to drop support, we will give the community as much notice as possible.
As always, if you have any questions, please do ask!
I had not realized that this topic was also started in the NVDA Developer's Group, and actually answered it there, but I feel the answer I made there needs to be repeated here. The very beginning is a snippet of what one of the NVDA developers said.
On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 08:52 AM, Lukasz Golonka wrote:
therefore we would do whatever we reasonably can to provide you with an up-to-date AT.-
The key word here being "reasonable."
It is no longer reasonable, by anyone's estimation that I've seen speaking, to continue to support XP. There are multiple versions of NVDA, up to and including 2021.3.1, that still continue to support Windows 7. But Windows 7 is out of support, and it is not unreasonable to expect, in fact, I'd say it's entirely reasonable to expect, that Windows 7 will be "left in the dust" eventually just like XP was. It is the natural progression.
I have been in the computer support business for home and (very) small businesses for over a decade now and in all that time have had one, and only one, laptop that could not upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. I also had one, and only one, machine, a Dell Inspiron 1720, where a driver for its Elon mousepad could not be sourced that would work with Windows 10 (which, of course, would be irrelevant to most screen reader users). Every other machine, whether it was a laptop or desktop, that started life with Windows 7 upgraded just fine to Windows 10 and has had no issue running with it. And almost none of those was "officially blessed" by either Microsoft or it's original manufacturer to be Windows 10 compabible.
We, as a community, need to stop this pretense that Windows 7 users cannot, and should not be expected to, upgrade to Windows 10. The process is simple, remains free, and is entirely accessible (after a certain point is reached very early on in the process) using Narrator during the upgrade.
We don't support XP, and over the longer term, we absolutely should not expect support for Windows 7. People should not be using Windows 7, it is unsafe to do so, and that's not just for them, but for the entire ecosystem of cyberspace. Security patches ceased, the OS is out of support, Microsoft has retired it. That has always been "the end of the story" when it comes to Windows versions. I have no earthly idea why there is a contingent that thinks that Windows 7 should receive some "special dispensation" from a process that has been ongoing for as long as I've been in computing.
Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H2, Build 19044
The instinctive need to be the member of a closely-knit group fighting for common ideals may grow so strong that it becomes inessential what these ideals are.
~ Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989)
I'm sure there might be questions about add-ons and Windows 7, and for those, please ask add-on developers for details. I'll put up a statement about my own add-ons soon.
To add to a message from Brian, unless your computer belongs to a company that has elected to pay Microsoft for extended security updates until around this time next year, please upgrade to at least Windows 10.