Microsoft is changing how it supports Windows 7 and Windows 10
This change will allow businesses and schools to run a more mature, stable and secure version of Windows for longer without the pressure of migrating computers to newer releases.
This change follows an report made to Microsoft from sysadmins, who reported that “keeping up with the twice-yearly feature updates to Windows 10” was causing them “fatigue”.
The survey was conducted by Susan Bradley, a Microsoft-certified Small Business Server and Security Most Valued Professional who moderates the patchmanagement.org email list.
“It appears that there is a breakdown in the testing process. The Windows 10 insider process is not able to identify issues on released products. When your own products break with these releases, it is clear that current testing processes are not good enough,” Susan Bradley said.
It Support Roles
- Windows sysadmins have advised Microsoft that they no longer trust system updates will not make systems unstable.
- The majority of sysadmins surveyed shared that the Windows 10’s twice-yearly feature updates were of little value to business.
What you need know about the changes and how they affect you.
The Spring and Fall “feature updates” for Windows 10 were given support for 18 months from their release (24 months for the Windows 10 Education & Enterprise editions).
- New feature updates for Windows 10 that roll out in the Fall (September), such as the (re-released) upcoming Windows 10 October 2018 Update, will receive support for 30 months from the release date.
- New feature updates for Windows 10 that roll out in the Spring (March) will be supported for 18 months from release.
- All currently supported versions of Windows 10 — builds 1607, 1703, 1709, and 1803 — will be supported for 30 months from the release date.
Which Windows 10 versions does this change affect?
Windows 10 Education and Enterprise editions (no change for Home or Pro editions).
- Microsoft states that businesses that wish to run the same stable version of Windows 10 for a longer period will be able to choose the Fall (October) release (30 months support).
- The longer support guarantee time window for the Windows 10 Fall updates are similar to the LTS releases offered by Ubuntu Linux.
- To help ensure new versions of Windows 10 are compatible with a business’s existing apps, Microsoft is to release a new Desktop App Assure service to both Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers free of charge from February 2019. A preview of the service will be made available to select customers from sometime in October 2018.
Update: Microsoft adds another three years of security updates for Windows 7, for a fee.
Although Windows 10 has officially surpassed Windows 7 in terms of public adoption, Windows 7 is still prominent in the business & enterprise world. In what is likely a pressure relief for business users entering their final 500 days of Windows 7 support, Microsoft is now offering the chance to extend support by up to three years for cost.
At this time, about 40 percent of systems are running Microsoft’s Windows 7, the majority of which is in corporate environments and unwilling to upgrade ‘if possible’. For an example, with Windows XP, Microsoft eventually forced business users to show that they were making the effort to migrate, but ‘today’ no such signs have been shown with Windows 7’s end of life.
The Old arrangement
Extended support for Windows 7 — under which Windows 7 receives security and reliability fixes — until January 14, 2020.
The New arrangement
A new option for extended support until January 2023 under a new paid program.
Which versions does this affect?
Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise editions for customers using Volume Licensing.
- To receive the Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) until 2023 Microsoft customers will be required to purchase a licence for each Windows 7 device that needs support.
- No pricing has been released at this time for the Extended Security Updates, but the cost will increase for each subsequent year of support.
- A discount is to made available to customers with Windows software assurance, Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education subscriptions.
- Office 365 ProPlus will be supported on devices with active Windows 7 ESU (only) and will continue to run.
- Office 365 Pro Plus will be supported on Windows 8.1 until January 2023 and on Windows Server 2016 until October 2025.
- Microsoft will support Office 2016 connections to Office 365 services until October 2023, after which point customers will need Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 clients in mainstream support.