Microsoft ended support for its Windows 7 operating system in 2020. The company offers extensive support for organizations and businesses, but not for Home customers.
Microsoft’s original plan was to limit extended support to three years after support ends, but it looks like the company could extend support for another three years, for a total of six years.
Our colleagues at Deskmodder report that the July security updates KB5015861 and KB5015862 include the ESU licenses and keys required to extend support beyond the first three years. The second extension would guarantee support for Windows 7 until January 2026.
Microsoft creates updates for the following Windows 7 editions as part of the Extended Security Update Program:
- Windows 7 SP1 Enterprise
- Windows 7 SP1 Pro
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- Windows Embedded Standard 7
- Windows Embedded POS Ready 7
Microsoft released Monthly Cumulative and Security Updates only for Windows 7 ESU systems as part of the July 2022 Patch Day. ESU updates can only be officially installed on licensed machines. Workarounds exist to install official Microsoft updates on Windows 7 Home devices, including Windows 7 Home and Professional.
Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied the Windows 7 ESU extension. Windows 7 holds a significant share of the desktop operating system market. Statcounter, one of the third-party companies that tracks usage statistics, sees it at 11.54% of Windows’ market share. Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest operating system, sits at 10.96%, making Windows 7 the second most used version of Windows according to the company.
It makes sense to extend support if the numbers are close to actual usage figures. Organizations may need more time to upgrade to a new version of Windows or another operating system. The extension gives organizations that time. Organizations that have devices with ESU can protect the devices for another three years.
Microsoft announced earlier this month that it would not provide a similar offer to Windows 8.1 customers. Windows 8.1 usage share is less than 3% according to Statcounter, even though it is still officially supported.
If Windows 7 support is extended for another three years, it would mean that the operating system will be supported longer than its direct successor, Windows 8.1, and even Windows 10. Both operating systems will only be no longer supported before 2026. Microsoft may offer extension support for Windows 10, the most widely used version of Windows at the time of writing.
Now you: What is your opinion on this?