Life After End-of-Life For Windows 7 Updates

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Pressure from die-hard and disgruntled Windows 7 users may have been a factor in Microsoft issuing a second update to its old Windows 7 Operating System, only two weeks after the official end-of-life date of Wednesday 14 January.

(Almost) No More Support

Microsoft had already made many announcements that support for its Windows 7 Operating system and Windows Server 2008 would (and we thought, did) formally and finally end on 14 January as part of the final push to move users over to the SaaS Windows 10 OS.  There are still opportunities for those with Windows Virtual Desktop to get an extra three years of extended support (of critical and important security updates) as part of that package, and for customers with active Software Assurance to get ‘Extended Security Updates’ for subscription licenses for 75% of the on-premises annual license cost.

First of the ‘Afterlife’ Updates

The first of the two surprise updates to be issued, just for extended security updates (ESU) users, after the end of support was a patch to fix a wallpaper issue, whereby a blank screen was being shown on Windows re-start instead of the stretch option for the background desktop for some users.  Comments by some disgruntled users on social media may have contributed to Microsoft releasing an update to fix the issue.

The Second Update

A second update announced by Microsoft really relates to an extension of the same issue. This time, Microsoft says it’s working on a fix to this issue for all, and not just for those who subscribed to its ESU program.  On Microsoft’s Support pages it says that an update to resolve the issue will be released to all customers running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

In the meantime, Microsoft suggests that customers can mitigate the issue either by setting their custom image to an option other than Stretch, e.g. Fill, Fit, Tile, or Centre, or customers can choose a custom wallpaper that matches the resolution of their desktop.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Even though the widely publicised end of support date for Windows 7 has been and gone, it should be remembered that there are an estimated 40 million people still using Windows 7 which means there is no shortage of people to complain publicly, via social media when things go wrong.  Microsoft is, therefore, in that difficult period before users are unsupported before they finally switch to Windows 10 where there is likely to be more bad publicity to come for Microsoft as more issues start to affect the remaining Windows 7 users. 

There is also now the very real risk that Windows 7 will be targeted more by cybercriminals, leaving those who still use it in a much more vulnerable position.  At least in the case of the recent updates, Microsoft has been seen to do something beyond the call of duty to help users after the date that it officially ended support, although it’s unlikely that Microsoft will not make a habit of doing so in future.

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