Windows 7 reached the end of its life cycle on January 14, 2020. Here are your options if you want to keep using it.

The sun is setting on Windows 7. If you are still using this old but reliable workhorse in your business, it might be time to say goodbye and let it ride off into the sunset. However, that’s not always an option.

Although you can still use Windows 7 after the end of it life cycle on January 14, 2020, it is risky to do so. That’s because Microsoft will no longer provide free security updates or product support for this operating system or its built-in web browser, Internet Explorer. Using unpatched software will leave your business’s computers more susceptible to cyberattacks.

Fortunately, Microsoft is offering several options for companies still using Windows 7 when it reaches the end of its lifecycle. The options include:

  • Purchasing Extended Security Updates
  • Using Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop service

Extended Security Updates

Microsoft is offering Extended Security Updates to any business using Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise through January 2023. You do not need to have a volume licensing agreement to take advantage of this offer.

You 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 are sold on a per-device basis, so you only have to purchase the updates for the computers that need them. Similarly, you 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, if you plan on updating your computers in 2021, you can purchase security updates for 2020 only. However, the security updates are cumulative, so continuous coverage is necessary. This means that you cannot, for example, just pay for the 2022 updates. If you buy the updates for the first time in the second or third year, you will have to pay for the preceding years.

Microsoft has not publicly released the price list, but sources note that the Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 Enterprise will cost $25 per device the first year, $50 per device the second year, and $100 per device the third year. Updates for Windows 7 Pro will cost $50 per device the first year, $100 per device the second, and $200 per device the third year.

Windows Virtual Desktop Service

Windows Virtual Desktop is a desktop and app virtualization service that runs in the Microsoft Azure cloud. You can virtualize Windows 7 and Windows 10 desktops as well as Microsoft and third-party apps.

Businesses virtualizing Windows 7 desktops will be provided with free Extended Security Updates through January 2023, according to Microsoft. Not having to worry about annual increases in fees for these updates means you will feel less pressured to rush through a migration. Plus, as desktops are upgraded, you will be able to manage both the Windows 7 and Windows 10 desktops using a unified management approach.

Being able to virtualize Windows 7 desktops can also come in handy if you have migrated to Windows 10, but have a few computers you cannot upgrade because the machines are running legacy business apps that are incompatible with Windows 10. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can keep your Windows 10 computers local while running your legacy apps on virtualized Windows 7 desktops in the cloud.

You can use Windows Virtual Desktop to access Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 10 Enterprise desktops and apps for no additional cost if you have one of the eligible licenses. You can find out which licenses are eligible on the “Windows Virtual Desktop pricing” web page.

To use Windows Virtual Desktop, you also need to have an Azure subscription. In addition, you need to have Azure Active Directory that is in sync with Windows Server Active Directory through either Azure AD Connect or Azure AD Domain Services.

Need More Information or Advice?

If your business is still using Windows 7, we can go over your options in more detail so you can make the best choice for your business based on its needs. Afterward, we will help you carry out that decision.