Microsoft to offer paid Windows 7 security updates through January 2023

Isaac Cain
September 9, 2018

Microsoft is also announcing changes to Windows 7, now offering paid Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January of 2023, beyond 2020.

Customers with Windows software assurance and Windows 10 Enterprise and Education subscriptions will get an unspecified discount for the ESUs, Microsoft said.

However, the Extended Security Updates (ESU) will cost customers and are offered on a per-devices basis.

The September feature updates of Windows 10 (including the increasingly oddly named "October 2018 Update") will also get 30 months of attention from Microsoft. By offering tools to help organizations better identify compatibility concerns themselves and providing stronger support guarantees when problems arise, the company is hoping to salve those concerns and remove them as a reason to stick with Windows 7 or 8.1.

Further details about the Windows 7 Extended Security Updates program weren't provided. The news will have smoothed the furrowed brows of enterprise admins looking nervously at their armies of Windows 7 installations.

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will also include support for Office 365 ProPlus.

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This 30-month window is also being retroactively applied to the Enterprise and Education editions of all prior Windows 10 feature releases that are now supported: 1607, 1703, 1709, and 1803.

The currently supported feature updates for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions versions 1607, 1703, 1709 and 1803 will now be supported for 30 months from their original release date. Microsoft's VP for Office and Windows marketing Jared Spataro has offered a helping hand to some Windows 7 holdouts.

Sadly, since Microsoft has shown no inclination to step back from its determination to fling out two Windows 10 updates per year, the response "none of them" is not an option. Earlier this year, the company had announced that from October 13, 2020, customers will need Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 clients in mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services.

The extended deadline applies to Enterprise and Education editions of the operating system and applies only to the Autumn/Fall release.

Microsoft has also rolled out a fresh Windows 10 Insider Preview Build that comes with fixes to several minor bugs and issues causing crashes. At 30 months, this still forces one upgrade every two years, instead of being able to update once every three years. It will be a per-device cost, so businesses with a lot of Windows 7 machines will pay out the nose for continued support. However, like all such Windows-as-a-Service pronouncements, it's bound to perplex IT pros, who likely are still reeling from Microsoft's last Windows 10 and Office pronouncements.

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