Microsoft is offering an olive branch to companies taking too long to upgrade from Windows 7, the company revealed last week. It will provide security updates for another three years as it tries to help business customers migrate to Windows 10 – but they’ll have to pay for the privilege.
Microsoft products go through two support phases. The first is mainstream support, which lasts for five years from the product’s release. Then, it provides another five years of extended support, but with caveats.
While the company continues to offer security updates for its products during the extended support phase, non-security updates are only available on a paid basis, and only for enterprise users, not consumers. At the end of the extended support period, the security updates are also supposed to end, which leaves users with increasingly vulnerable systems unless they migrate to a newer version of Windows.
Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended in 2015, and Microsoft had already warned customers that extended support for that version of the operating system would end in January 2020. However, in a blog post, it acknowledged that “everyone is at a different point in the upgrade process”.
To support late upgraders, the company will charge for Extended Security Updates (ESU) for an additional three years. It will charge for these on a per-device basis, ratcheting up the charge each year.
Microsoft eventually phases out support for all of its products. It ended extended support for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 last year, and Windows XP Service Pack 3 in 2014.
However, it is not always easy for users to upgrade to the newer versions before end-of-support deadlines (as we saw with Windows XP). The largest companies are running tens or hundreds of thousands of computers, and must cope with everything from budget to technical integration issues as they prepare to upgrade. In many cases, companies may be running bespoke applications that are not compatible with newer versions of the operating system. Upgrading that software can bring a host of technical, budgetary and compliance issues, and carry knock-on effects throughout the entire organization.
According to web analytics company StatCounter, Windows 10 deployments overtook Windows 7 worldwide only in January this year, following the newer operating system’s launch in July 2015. At the start of this year, 41.86% of worldwide Windows-based internet users were still using Windows 7, according to the company’s figures. Windows 7 still enjoys a strong loyalty among business users, StatCounter executives said at the time.
Windows 7 vulnerabilities have caused global problems in the past. Almost all of the infected computers from last year’s WannaCry ransomware attack were running Windows 7, according to researchers who analyzed infection rates at the time. However, the spread of the malware was down to poor cybersecurity hygiene. Microsoft had released a patch for the issue months before, but many computers had not been updated.
Microsoft’s Windows 7 patches haven’t all been up to par. Earlier this year, researchers discovered that security patches issued to resolve the Meltdown bug introduced a far worse vulnerability in Windows 7.
Microsoft encourages Enterprise customers still on Windows 7 to reach out to their Microsoft account team for details on upgrading.
14 comments on “Microsoft extends security patch support for some Windows 7 users”
IT would be so much easier for companies to migrate to W10 if it didn’t suck. Why can’t MS make a stripped down (all they ever do as add more bloat) office version, without hijacking the desktop for add space for all the stupid junk – that isn’t work related-. If MS made cars they would take the steering wheel out one year, put a joy stick in the next, then a mouse, then back to a keyboard, then half a steering wheel and a throttle stick.
Dammit MS, if a Start menu works, don’t F with it. Don’t replace drivers without user/admin approval. If car makes did to cars what MS has done to OS, we would all be driving 20 ton neon flashing Kia’s that starts stalling after 5 years.
Hahah, nail squarely on the head buddy.
…and I was just gonna whine about how “more detail” in the task manager beginning Win8 is still “10% of the detail” that’s truly useful. Maybe R.I.P. msconfig’s startup tab and directory views before “all folders of this type” became a ludicrously inane phrase–and they stopped letting me specify those choices by directory name. A box is still a box, no matter what you store inside it.
At least I still have a few generations of procexp downloaded and squirreled away–until they block the executable and force me to use the Win12 taskmgr, further streamlined to two buttons:
If only I didn’t have users to support and music to record, I’d never need to leave Linux.
Amen to all of that! But your analogy would be more accurate if those neon Kias would stall randomly in the first five years and maintenance parts became unavailable at the five-year mark.
…or you could purchase a manufacturer’s license which curiously doesn’t allow you to manufacture any replacement parts but _will_ give you access to their secret warehouse (minus per-visit admission of course) where they can sell you their old repair parts for cars they don’t make anymore. They’ll also tell you were to find a welder who can attach them to your car–but the flat primer will never match the neon on the rest of the car.
In my humble opinion this is just another money grab. I love Mahhn’s analogy about cars. Microsoft would put your windshield wiper control in the glove box for absolutely NO reason. Additionally, these billionaires don’t give thought to the millions of folks that can’t afford to upgrade to a computer capable of Windows 10. A computer like that costs 1 months average Social Security check in the USA. Think about that!!!
No No No Dave… the reason is quite valid:
You see, on the Go-Kart model, the glove box is easily reachable as it’s a one-seater. Plus with no windshield they don’t want the control getting wet from rain, which would short out the electronics. A smaller glove box means more dashboard room for the corporate logo. Yay!
Please don’t notice we’re putting wipers on a vehicle with no windshield–the control has to fit in there because it’s always bundled with the turn signal. Good luck fitting your registration inside.
Ever since Win8 they’ve been trying to cram everything into one OS, tailoring to tablets. As if the Gates empire is built on the blood and tears of millions of *_tablet_* users who’ve never seen a keyboard or mouse. As if office workers everywhere will use their desks solely for propping feet.
I don’t have one (I think they’re a bit overpriced, plus I like macOS) but a Microsoft Surface running Windows 10 is pretty darn cool. There’s none of the “glove box weirdness” you describe; the OS even allows you to install a full Linux subsystem; and you can install any other apps you like.
Ironically, the company that’s taking the totally-locked-down path for laptops is Google with its Chromebooks, not Microsoft or Apple…
The MS surfaces we have do not allow (Im sure there is a way to hack it) you to install an OS, only restore W8 from an internal source – no company image, no 3rd party Full Disk Encryption. Maybe new newer ones you can do those things, but we are already soured by the crap we ended up with, which drove us from any more Surfaces. As another person mentioned on another article, Android is advertising/data collecting software disguised as an OS, which in my opinion is why it’s locked down, to keep those aspects in place. Google does not do anything for free.
You need to be careful about writing off a technology company because it did one dodgy, poor quality, useless or overly-locked-down product or servicw in the past. If you did that, you would never be able to buy anything from Apple (the OS was appalling until the Unix-derived OS X appeared), Microsoft (Bob, end of story) or Google (Wi-Spy); you would have to swear off internet banking for ever; you could never buy a car from Ford (Edsel), VW (emissions), any British brand name (the 1970s); and so on…
Do you have those Windows RT (ARM-based) Microsoft tablet products? You should at least play with a modern, top-end Surface. Whether you love or hate Microsoft, you’d have to be desperately uncharitable to say that they aren’t good looking, easy to use and fast. Anyone who thinks that Windows XP offers a better and more consistent visual experience than the current Windows 10…
…I can’t see how. I’m not a Windows fan and use it only for research, but even I have to admit that it’s hard to fault for usability these days. I don’t see any of my colleagues struggling to master it. (Give them a Mac and they often hate it! Every app should have its own menu! Why have a Control key AND a Command key? Why aren’t there any USB-A ports? Where is the Delete key? [*])
[*] Fn+Backspace. Amazing how many Mac users don’t realise it’s that easy.
Yes most companies have had bad products and some bad business practices, which makes me accept the lesson of Do not trust. I know the proper answer should be Trust but verify, but with all the back end dirty work, it’s more of how much do I have to trust the product. If I ignore “both” the history of the companies wrong doings, or the potential better products I would be a fool. But as many bad business practices that google and MS have done, it really comes down to how much do I have to trust them. We do disagree about what OS is easier to use between XP (7 has the same menu system) and W10. Even the control panel is a disaster. Yes we (our business) will adapt to it, but that doesn’t mean we like it. I’m sure MS will make something more frustrating for the next OS, unless they learn to KISS, but I doubt they will. We’ll be driving 20 ton Kias soon enough.
Sounds intriguing, particularly the subsystem. And the (jocular) glove box metaphor can only go so far–so I had fun with it. I’ve heard Chromebooks’ rigidity can be aggravating; never bothered to mess with one.
My contextual WinGrievance is at foisting a tablet OS at the desktop* in what seems an attempt at
Panacea Code For All Devices, despite what should be patently obvious to anyone designing an OS:
On different devices, not all UIs can be identical. What’s great for long-tap and pinch and triple-finger is clumsy (at best) to try and translate to a desktop and people merely trying to get work done. And (I want to shout this into the ears of Gates, Ballmer, Nadella) still on a keyboard and mouse.
*ergo the Go Kart; I should’ve said 10″ tires on all cars.
Admittedly life travels not backward nor tarries with yesterday. However, some septuagenarians will never own a tablet; do we cast them aside? We should at least let seniors do their office jobs without enduring a second (third?) round of computer revolution learning. I can only imagine (and dread) how difficult it is to
grow up completely analog (party lines and B&W television stops at 10p),
using paper for EVERYTHING at work for ten years,
then learn punch cards and terminals,
THEN learn PCs, the Internet, and spam,
And NOW I need to learn how to use a touch surface just to give my boss a weekly report? Can I just revert to pencil and paper?!
I understand the TMTO of a new skill if it’s more efficient, but non-techies will generally resent what for practical purposes is re-learning the same skill. I’m angry at MS for myself and on their behalf**
Plus (and this sidesteps all my dinosaur vs. progress arguments and their rebuttals) the UI Win8 and Win10 represent are not efficiency improvements–at least on the desktop–and therefore slow us down…to teach us how to slow down. If this last point were different I could at least understand employers saying, “sorry Bob, to stay competitive we need to tool our facility for tomorrow. Learn the new stuff, or you’ll be out.” But it’s not better, and training people to get slower is not helping anyone. Except Microsoft, still paradoxically selling hand over fist.
(sorry for the delayed response)
** I was getting long-winded (shocker, Bry), and so separated this.
There’s more to it, but for years Microsoft has tried to be Apple aesthetically. I can’t deny Apple’s solid hardware and pretty software–but Microsoft built their oligarchy on the business world and shouldn’t yearn to emulate Apple’s hipster veneer. MS strip away what once worked well in exchange for what proponents would describe as “cleaner,” but at great cost to efficiency (the fact that so many people prize aesthetics over function is indicative of bigger problems). To think of Microsoft as merely caught up in this is thought-provoking, but few entities have the clout to help counteract it. Yet they won’t–they put more R&D into planned obsolescence than into helping people work.
Hide file extensions for known file types.
This quirk surfaces in filenames like “song.doc.doc.” Remove useful information in the name of being “pretty.” Mistakes are easy: I once duplicated every item on my desktop (in .3 seconds) by bumping a coffee mug with a mouse. Ctrl-Z was my buddy, but if a user inadvertently associates a .PDF with Notepad or a .ZIP with Excel there’s no recourse for someone who doesn’t understand what they’ve done–or doesn’t notice until later. Apparent file extensions would lessen this crisis (right before that big meeting with the boss). MS isn’t alone on this point. And the default behavior is wrong.
“all folders of this type” settings
Mentioned in a prior comment, this is deception masquerading as convenience or AI. Clicking a column header is faster than built-in search…so why hide that option from me? It might be neat to add “track#” columns, but why remove size and modified date?
abstracted “Libraries” instead of simple, direct access to “My Documents”
This ghostly layer of obfuscation makes it difficult to find the actual point on the filesystem where the file resides–the address bar is useless. Now taking backups is more complicated unless you trust Microsoft’s built-in backup paradigm. I’ve been doing them too long on my own and remember when there were no backups–and then when the built-in ones were worse than none. Remember briefcase? It was a marginally neat idea…so we can’t keep it.
With the banner of simplicity (to paraphrase Bruce Schneier, “Convenience Theater“) they continue making it harder for people to understand how their computers work, adding more layers of smoke and mirrors in a steadfast juggernaut of form-over-function.
As our world grows ever more digital, we should see a general trend of increased comprehension. Yet after three decades of Windows people still are more likely to simply give up and just buy a new PC “because the memory got full.” I don’t worry about losing my job once everyone has some basic knowledge–I want people to learn and grow more confident with their computing. We’re all here to help each other. But Microsoft wants people in the dark.
And all this aside the cutthroat monopolistic corporate behavior drastically reducing consumer options. I wish the antitrust suit had stuck here like it did in the E.U. It was good for phones.
I really wish that Microsoft could extend windows 7 8 and 10 for life
Yes, this is really a great news that a new security patch has been released and it helps the users a lot to get their data and files protected on their system. It is also seen on Windows 8 and the upgraded versions of Windows.