Microsoft is no longer reserving its Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for only companies with volume licensing agreements. Any business will now be able to purchase these updates. Here is what you need to know.

Small businesses still using Windows 7 are likely aware of a looming deadline: On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide free security updates for Windows 7. Although still in wide use, this operating system software is more than a decade old, so it has reached the end of its lifecycle.

To give businesses more time to upgrade, Microsoft will be providing Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 through January 2023. Initially, Microsoft was planning to make these updates available to only Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers with volume licensing agreements. However, in October 2019, Microsoft announced that it will now make Extended Security Updates available to any business using Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise — an important change for small businesses using Windows 7, as they often do not purchase volume licensing agreements.

What You Need to Know

Starting on December 1, 2019, businesses using Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise without volume licensing agreements can purchase Extended Security Updates through Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program. The updates, which will be delivered through the normal update delivery processes, will include patches for security issues discovered in the operating system and its components (including Internet Explorer). They will not include any bug fixes (i.e., patches for non-security issues such as glitchy functions), feature enhancements, or technical support.

The Extended Security Updates will be sold on a per-device basis, so companies will only have to purchase the updates for the computers that need them. Similarly, businesses will only have to purchase the updates for the timespan needed, as the updates will be sold in three 12-month increments (2020, 2021, and 2022). For instance, companies that plan on updating their computers in 2021 can purchase security updates for 2020 only. However, the security updates are cumulative, so continuous coverage is necessary. This means that companies cannot, for example, just pay for the 2022 updates. Businesses buying the updates for the first time in the second or third year will have to pay for the preceding years.

Microsoft has not yet released information about the cost of the Extended Security Updates for companies without volume licensing agreements, except to say that the price will increase each year the updates are offered. This information will be available on the Cloud Solution Provider pricelist starting on December 1, 2019, according to Microsoft.

Where You Can Get More Information

If your business is still using Windows 7 but you plan on updating to Windows 10 in the next three years, the Extended Security Updates can help protect your IT operations. Microsoft’s “End of Support FAQ” provides more information about these updates. We can also answer any questions you might have about Extended Security Updates or updating to Windows 10.