Microsoft has announced that Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 will be available for purchase from 1 April 2019.
The popular desktop operating system was released 22 October 2009 and follows Microsoft’s Modern Lifecycle Policy. This policy mandates that a product will receive mainstream support for five years and extended support for an additional five years. Extended support for Windows 7 will end 14 January 2020.
At the end of the extended support period, Windows 7 will no longer receive any new security patches or fixes. This will leave customers who are still on Windows 7 vulnerable to any new cyber threats that emerge and to problems of non-compliance from running an unsupported environment.
Ideally, affected customers would be able to upgrade to the latest edition of Windows, Windows 10, however, for some customers this may not be possible, especially before 14 January 2020. It is for these customers that Microsoft has made available Extended Security Updates.
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates will be available until January 2023, three years from the end of support. The Extended Security Updates will include security updates rated both critical and important. The updates will be available to purchase on an annual basis, and all updates are cumulative – meaning future purchases would require payment for preceding years, where applicable.
Unlike Extended Security Updates for SQL and Windows Server 2008, Software Assurance isn’t required to purchase the Extended Security Updates for Windows 7. However, discounts will be offered for customers with active Software Assurance or active subscriptions to Windows E3 or Microsoft 365 E3. Licenses will be sold annually, on a per-device basis, with pricing set to double each year.
For customers able to consider desktop virtualisation, Windows Virtual Desktop is an alternative to an on-premise upgrade or purchasing the Extended Security Updates. Currently in preview, Windows Virtual Desktop is an Azure service that allows you to virtualise Windows 7, 10 and Office 365. Microsoft has announced that Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 will be included for free in Windows Virtual Desktop.
Microsoft has released an FAQ to clarify options around Windows 7 end of support in addition to addressing Office 2010 end of support, which is 13 October 2020. There are no Extended Security Updates planned for Office 2010.