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Microsoft to Charge for Windows 7 Security Updates

Microsoft this week revealed plans to offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) for three years after traditional support for the operating system will officially end.

Released in 2009, Windows 7 currently powers around 39% of all machines running Microsoft’s Windows platform, but is slowly losing ground to Windows 10 (currently found on over 48% of Windows systems).

Microsoft stopped selling Windows 7 in 2014 (some variants are still available to OEMs) and ended mainstream support for the operating system in early 2015. The company plans on ending extended support for Windows 7 to January 14, 2020.

Past that date, organizations will have to pay in order to continue take advantage of support for the platform.

Paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), Microsoft now says, will be available through January 2023. The tech company will sell the Windows 7 ESU on a per-device basis and plans on increasing the price for it each year.

“Windows 7 ESUs will be available to all Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers in Volume Licensing, with a discount to customers with Windows software assurance, Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education subscriptions,” Microsoft says.

The software giant also revealed that it will continue to provide support for Office 365 ProPlus on devices with active Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January 2023. This means that all those buying the Windows 7 ESU will continue to run Office 365 ProPlus.

January 2023, which is the end support date for Windows 8.1, also represents the end support date for Office 365 ProPlus on this platform version, Microsoft now reveals. Windows Server 2016, on the other hand, will offer support for Office 365 ProPlus until October 2025.

Currently, Microsoft is relying on a semi-annual schedule for Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus updates, targeting September and March, and the company will continue using this Windows 10 update cycle.

To make sure customers have enough time to plan for updates within their environments, however, Microsoft is making changes to the support life of Windows 10 updates.

Thus, currently supported feature updates of Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions (versions 1607, 1703, 1709, and 1803) will be supported for 30 months from their original release date. As for future feature updates, those targeted for a September release will be supported for 30 months, while those targeted for a March release for 18 months.

According to Microsoft, all feature releases of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Office 365 ProPlus will continue to be supported for 18 months, regardless of whether targeted for release in March or September.

Related: Firefox Drops Support for Windows XP

Related: Windows 7 Most Hit by WannaCry Ransomware

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