Use Windows 7? Do you love it? Never want to let it go? If so, we have good news, as Microsoft is granting you an extra five years of extended support. Mainstream support for Windows 7 will expire in 2015, as before.

Of course, this follows our news this morning that Vista’s consumer versions have received a similar extension. However, Vista’s consumer support goes kaput in 2017, three years before Windows 7. As it is an older operating system, that gap is reasonable. Before we put on our tin foil hat, this is the official Microsoft line on its moves today:

Microsoft is updating the Support Lifecycle Policy to ensure that all consumer editions of our desktop operating systems are eligible to receive five years of Mainstream Support and five years of Extended Support. In the past, commercial customers who updated to the most current supported Security Packs (SPs) could receive security updates, even when Mainstream Support for a product ended. This update formalizes that all editions of our operating systems will receive security updates as long as they are using the most current SP. 

From that, it appears that Microsoft is simply bringing all its support policies into line, which a nice bit of housecleaning that will certainly be a welcome surprise for users of both Vista and Windows 7.

Now, want to play the what if game? We do. People skeptical of Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 8, could say that the company is implementing these extensions to provide itself with a life-cycle airbag. Here’s the thought: if Windows 8 flops, it will take time for Microsoft to get out a replacement, therefore, people will need to stick on their current Windows builds longer than previously thought. This extended support makes that possible, and simple.

I don’t buy the line of reasoning, as Microsoft is pushing past Vista with its other software components, so to conceptualize giving that specific Windows variety any extra love is nonsense. Microsoft is all in with Windows 8, and we need to realize that truth completely.

All hail the coming beta consumer preview.