Microsoft Windows 7 reaches final year of extended support

Microsoft Windows 7 reaches final year of extended support

January 14, 2020 marks the final day of support from Microsoft for Windows 7. The date marks the first Patch Tuesday of 2020, after which Windows 7 will no longer receive updates, fixes, and security fixes.

Windows 7 was first introduced by Microsoft in July 2009 but it usually takes enterprise customers several months into its lifecycle before they implement it to their user base. Microsoft's newest version, Windows 10 launched in July 2015 and has since reached more than half of all Windows devices in the enterprise.

Windows 7 and older versions of Windows are still run by the rest, but the support clock is slowly ticking down. Microsoft officials have announced two ways that Windows 7 users can continue to get security updates beyond the January 14, 2020 date. Both of these ways are designed for business customers, not consumers.

Microsoft will sell paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) on a per-device basis, with the price increases each year. These ESUs will be available to any Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users with volume-licensing agreements, and those with Windows Software Assurance and/or Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions will get a discount. These ESUs will provide Windows 7 Extended Security Updates through January 2023.

Microsoft also will provide ESUs for no additional cost to customers who buy the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop service, which is designed to allow users to virtualize Windows 7 and 10, Office 365 ProPlus apps and other third-party applications by running them remotely in Azure virtual machines. Those wanting to virtualize Windows 7 after Microsoft support ends in January 2020 will be able to do so for three years by using WVD. WVD still is not available in public preview but is expected to be sometime this calendar quarter. Microsoft has not yet announced a final availability date or pricing for WVD.

End of "mainstream" support for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 installed occurred on January 13, 2015. Mainstream support includes no-charge incident support and paid incident support; security update support; and the ability to request non-security updates. End of extended support for the product, on January 14, 2020, means the end of paid support; free security update support; and Extended Hotfix Support.

Windows 8.1 customers will continue to get security updates from Microsoft for free until January 10, 2023. Windows 10 users get free support based on the date when their version of Windows 10 was introduced. (See this Windows lifecycle support page from Microsoft for details.)

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