What You Need to Know before Windows 7 Reaches the End of it’s Life

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It’s the end of an era: Windows 7 will reach end of support tomorrow, on January 14, a decade after its initial release, with Microsoft to no longer provide users with software updates and security updates or fixes.

“The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020,” Microsoft says. “After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product.

Therefore, it’s important that you upgrade to a modern operating system such as Windows 10, which can provide the latest security updates to help keep you and your data safer.”

For products that have reached their end of support, Microsoft stops providing bug fixes for issues that are discovered, security fixes for newly found vulnerabilities, or technical support.

Customers who still use end of service software are advised to move to a new Windows 10 device or to upgrade as soon as possible to avoid falling victim to malware infections and attacks exploiting newly discovered security risks.

Security updates after the end of support

However, as Microsoft says on its support website, “for customers requiring more time to move to the latest product, the Extended Security Update (ESU) program is available for certain legacy products as a last resort option.

The ESU program provides security updates only for up to 3 years, after the End of Support date. Contact your account manager, partner or device manufacturer for more information.”

The Extended Security Updates program is available for Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, and Windows 7 Ultimate through volume licensing programs, and it does not include or provide customers with user-requested non-security updates, new features, or design change requests.

“If an organization waits and purchases ESU for the first time in year two or year three, they will have to pay for the preceding years also,” Microsoft adds. “This is because the security updates that are offered under the ESU program are cumulative.”

Besides the ESU program, Redmond also provides the Windows Virtual Desktop program, enabling orgs to continue using Windows 7 with free extended security updates through January 2023.

 

After Windows 7’s end of support, the 0Patch platform will also continue to ship patches to its agents for vulnerabilities rated as high-risk.

“Each Patch Tuesday we’ll review Microsoft’s security advisories to determine which of the vulnerabilities they have fixed for supported Windows versions might apply to Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 and present a high-enough risk to warrant micropatching,” 0Patch said.

End of support reminders and free Windows 10 upgrades

Microsoft will start displaying full-screen notifications on Windows 7 devices on January 15 to remind users that their operating system is no longer supported and that they should upgrade to the latest Windows 10 version.

Windows 7 Professional customers who have enrolled in the Extended Security Updates program, use domain-joined machines, or machines in kiosk mode will not be shown this reminder.

While Microsoft says that upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 for free was only available until July 29, 2016, free Windows 10 upgrades are still a thing.

You can do so using this step by step Windows 10 upgrade procedure that involves running the Media Creation Tool and choosing the ‘Upgrade this PC now’ option on your Windows 7 computer.

Chrome and Edge to support Windows 7 after EoL

Google announced that they will keep supporting Google Chrome in Windows 7 through July 15, 2021 (at least), to give companies more time to upgrade to Windows 10.

“We have enterprises covered, even if they haven’t yet made the full move to Windows 10,”Google said. “We will continue to fully support Chrome on Windows 7 for a minimum of 18 months from Microsoft’s End of Life date, until at least July 15, 2021.

So if you haven’t started your move to Windows 10 yet, or even if your organization is mid-way through migration, you can still benefit from the enterprise capabilities of Chrome.”

This means that Google Chrome users will still receive browser security updates after Windows 7 end of support, with management tools and enterprise policies to continue to work.

Microsoft also said that they will continue to support their new Microsoft Edge web browser in Windows 7 for as long as Google does.

Other Microsoft products reaching EoL in 2020

Windows 7 is not the only Microsoft product reaching end of support this year, with several other major Microsoft products including Office 2010, Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2008 (including 2008R2), and multiple Windows 10 versions also being retired.

A list of some of the most prominent ones and links to more details for each of them is available below.

 

Windows 7 currently has a market share of over 26% according to StatCounter and NetMarketShare, with Windows 10 being installed on more than 65% of Windows devices.

In related news, the KDE Community said last week that it wants Windows 7 users to migrate to the Plasma desktop environment after Microsoft’s 10-year-old OS reach end of support.

The KDE Community announces at the moment that it wants to help Windows 7 refugees to migrate to one of the 25 Linux distributions with Plasma support.

“Instead of migrating to Windows 10 and putting up with hours of updates, intrusions on your privacy and annoying ads built into your apps, install a Linux operating system with Plasma,” KDE said.

“In 30 minutes you will be up and running and you will have all the security and stability of a Linux system, with all the features and ease of use of Plasma.”

Out of Windows’ current 77% market share, more than 26% are Windows 7 users amounting to almost one billion people that can’t let go of the decade-old OS because they either are scared of the change or don’t like Windows 10.

 

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