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It is remarkable that Windows 7 is reaching end of support on January 14 2020 while maintaining something approaching 27 per cent market share among Windows users, according to Statcounter.
This is down from 35 per cent in December 2018 but still substantial. Windows has a share among desktop users of around 77 per cent, so that is around 20 per cent of active desktop PCs.
End - Support - Support - Software - Updates
"End of support" means no technical support, software updates or security fixes from Microsoft. Of these, the significant piece is the security fixes. Without regular patches, flaws that are discovered in the operating system will put users at greater risk from things like ransomware attacks, perhaps triggered by an email attachment or malicious web link.
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 also go out of support on the same day. Although it is less likely that users will be browsing the web or clicking attachments on Server 2008, it is still risky if these servers are exposed to the internet – as appears to be the case with Travelex, currently suffering a ransomware attack – or if they are used for remote desktop services.
Feature - End - Support - Microsoft - Security
Another curious feature of this "end of support" is that Microsoft will still be providing security updates for both operating systems, for three further years. So the real end of support date is in 2023. That said, you can only get these "extended security updates", or ESU, in certain ways:
You can purchase Windows 7 ESU by subscription from Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers, which means most IT support companies signed up as authorised Microsoft suppliers.
Professional - Enterprise - ESU
Only Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise are covered by ESU.
Windows 7 embedded can be supported through an "Ecosystem Partner Offering" support contract.
Scenario - Windows - Server - ESU - Windows
The scenario for Windows Server 2008 ESU is similar to that for Windows 7.
If you read the FAQ for Windows...
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