Windows 7 Updates (Updated)

UPDATED 31 May 2019

If you are still on Windows 7, and a corporate without an exit strategy, you need to take note of two things:

  • Window’s 7 ceases extended support in January 2020, after which you won’t get any security patches
  • Updates happening in the next few months, if not applied, will stop your security updates in July 2019.

You need to look at this blog post from Microsoft for more details for the second point above.

If you are a consumer or small/medium sized business, on a version of Windows 7 (Pro or Home, or one of the many other SKU’s they released), your support dries up in January 2020 and there is no option to extend support. Your best option is to upgrade to a PC with Windows 10 (see below). In time your AV software will also go unsupported, so times-a-ticking.

If you are an enterprise, you will be able to get security updates past January 2020 if you are on the Enterprise or Pro SKU’s, but you will have to pay on a per device basis and only for another three years. See this post on ZDNet by Mary Jo Foley for the details. These details have not been generally released, but some Microsoft partners and sales people have been briefed and were leaked so these prices may not be final and also may depend on your current licencing deal with Microsoft.

Regarding the second point above, the advisories I have seen so far indicate that these changes will occur as part of the normal Windows Update cycle for consumers, but I will be monitoring this and update this posting if this changes.

Feature updates for windows 7 stopped 5 years ago, so don’t expect anything further on this front going forward.

Update 31 May 2019

I have seen on various Windows 7 based PC’s an update coming into Windows Update with reference kb4490628. This is an update that sets up the appropriate security info as explained above to allow you to keep getting security updates through to the end of the year when the OS is formally retired by Microsoft.

If you are a consumer – just allow the update to apply itself on all Windows 7 PC’s you own.

If you are a small/medium sized business – and you are managing PC’s individually, the same advice applies as for consumers since you will in all likelihood be using Windows Update to apply updates.

If you are a small/medium/large business or enterprise – and you have an IT department or 3rd party service provider maintaining your PC’s, this update should be taken care of by these people as part of their normal maintenance cycles.

In any event, you really need to be looking at getting off Windows 7 before the end of the year due to the support for the OS being removed in January 2020. If your PC’s are up to it they might be upgradable to Windows 10, but my advice here is to replace the hardware and upgrade your PC with the following minimal specifications to give you the best performance:

  • Intel Core i3 CPU or better (e.g. i5 or i7)
  • Minimum 8Gb of RAM, 16Gb preferred
  • Minimum 128Gb SSD (disk space), preferably 256Gb or more since applications and Windows only get bigger with each year
  • Best to see if you can get one with a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt and at least one Type-A USB port for back compatibility
  • Optionally also get one with an HDMI/Display Port port built in so you can connect to a TV/external monitor
  • Windows 10 Home (for consumers), Windows 10 Pro for businesses or enthusiasts.

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