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(Credit: Sony)
Windows 7, the last operating system to have truly embodied Microsoft’s original Windows design, has seen four (if you count Windows 8.1) successors since its 2009 release. Despite its age, a few businesses still use the OS—though they might want to switch to something else now that Microsoft is dropping Windows 7’s Extended Security support.

Microsoft’s Extended Security Update (ESU) program is—er, was—a “last resort option” for Windows 7 users who needed to continue using the OS past its support period. For up to three years after Windows 7’s Jan. 14, 2020 end of service, ESU would issue critical security updates aimed at keeping legacy products on life support for as long as possible. But that three-year grace period has ended, and it’s time that Microsoft pulls the plug.

Beginning today, Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise editions will stop receiving extended security updates. Windows recommends that those who use Microsoft 365 on a Windows 7 computer upgrade their OS to Windows 10, as most machines running Windows 7 won’t have the appropriate hardware for Windows 11. For those who can’t even upgrade to Windows 10 or would prefer not to use that edition, Microsoft’s solution is simple: Just buy a new computer.

Microsoft Drops Extended Security Support for Windows 7

Microosft presenting Windows 7 at Gamescom 2009. (Image: Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons)

“To maintain the reliability and stability of Microsoft 365, we strongly recommend you take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities by moving to a new PC with Windows 11,” Microsoft’s blog post reads. “PCs have changed substantially since Windows 7 was first released ten years ago. Today’s computers are faster, more powerful, and sleeker—plus they come with Windows 11 already installed.”

Web browsers like Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome are likewise preparing to drop support for Windows 7. On Jan. 12 Microsoft will release Microsoft Edge 109, the last version of the browser to work on Windows 7. Google Chrome’s 110th version, which is slated for release in February, will also drop support for the OS.

Windows 8.1, launched back in October 2013, also reached its end of service today. It’s unclear whether Microsoft plans on offering an ESU program for Windows 8.1 as it did for Windows 7, but given Windows 8.1’s far lower usage rate, it’s unlikely.

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Microsoft Drops Extended Security Support for Windows 7

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