Windows 7 is a dead man walking, with its date of execution already set on the 14th January 2020.
Microsoft would, of course, want those 700 million active Windows 7 users to move over to Windows 10 well before this, and it seems one way the company is trying to encourage these users is withdrawing services from users running the OS.
The latest development is Microsoft switching off the ability of Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center on Windows 7 to download metadata from their servers, according to a new 25th January support document.
Going forward, you may be unable to view information (metadata) such as the title, genre, and artist for songs, and the director, actors, cover art, and TV guide for movies in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. After looking at customer feedback and usage data, Microsoft decided to discontinue this service. This means that new metadata won’t be updated on media players that are installed on your Windows device. However, any information that’s already been downloaded will still be available. This change doesn’t affect any major media player functionality such as playback, navigating collections, media streaming, and so forth. Only secondary features that require downloading of new metadata are potentially affected.
The issue interestingly only affects WMP and WMC on Windows 7, and does not affect WMP running on Windows 8 or Windows 10 for example.
Given the massive number of users still on Windows 7, it seems clear that hundreds of millions of users will be unsupported in a year’s time, and Microsoft’s handling of this issue will be an interesting test of their relationship with their users. Removing something trivial such as support for metadata downloading does not bode well for the next 12 to 18 months.