After much consideration, NV Access has decided that NVDA 2017.3 will be the last version of NVDA to support older Operating systems such as Windows XP and Vista. NVDA 2017.4, which will be released around the end of November, will require windows 7 Service Pack 1, or Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 to run. Those users on older Operating Systems can continue to run NVDA 2017.3.
It is becoming increasingly harder to maintain support for older Operating Systems while at the same time fixing bugs and adding new features for newer and more secure Operating systems. With only 4% of our users now on these older Operating systems, we feel it is no longer worth the investment, especially now that it is starting to impact the majority of our users. To add to this, Microsoft no longer offers any support for Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 with no Service Pack. This means that users are running these Operating Systems at great risk to security. Many other mainstream applications including browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have already dropped support for these older Operating systems.
NV Access acknowledges that this decision will be unpopular to some, and also understands that there will be users who will not be able to switch to a newer Operating system. Therefore NV Access will continue to offer the NVDA 2017.3 download on its website, even once future NVDA versions are published.
Increasing the minimum Operating system version requirement for NVDA allows us to focus efforts on the stability and security of NvDA, by leveraging features and optimizations both in the Windows Operating System itself, and the modern development tools Microsoft provides.
For those in the community who choose to run snapshot or rc versions and provide feedback, from today these builds may no longer run on older Operating Systems. In the coming days, these snapshots will refuse to run on anything below the minimum Operating System version, and will display a Windows dialog alerting the user to the fact. The NV Access update server is now already offering NVDA 2017.3 to any user running a snapshot or rc version on these older Operating System versions and will not offer any future NVDA version above 2017.3. For those on supported Operating Systems, you will see no change.
We certainly look forward to continuing to develop and provide more stable, secure, and feature-filled versions of NVDA to the community, ensuring that blind and vision impaired people across the globe have equal access to computers.