- Windows 7 users are trying to find ways to keep their outdated OSes alive and well after the support ends.
- Microsoft will only serve security patches to a few selected eligible clients from professional and government sectors.
- There are still millions of people who are insisting on using Windows 7, no matter how hard Microsoft tries to convince them to upgrade.
Users from the tech forum “My Digital Life” are sharing a specially crafted archive that can be used to bypass the Windows 7 Extended Security Update checks that were put in place by Microsoft. The archive is manipulating the verification checks, allowing anyone to keep their Windows 7 installation up to date, applying the latest available security patches.
The problem for many is that Microsoft is not planning to roll out updates for Windows 7 “Home” users, as they have repeatedly urged those users to upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 7’s support ends with the January 2020 patch, and after that, only companies and organizations that deploy the outdated operating system in critical use-case scenarios will continue to receive support. Even for these, the “extended security updates” will only last for another three years, until January 2023. Small businesses and enterprises that would like to receive these updates will have to pay Microsoft $200 per device and year, and will also have to meet a set of specific prerequisites. So, not even all of the companies who would like to keep using Windows 7 are eligible for this program.
For this reason, security companies thought that it would make sense to step in and fill the gap by offering unofficial security updates for Microsoft’s unsupported operating systems. For example, 0patch announced in September that they are planning to offer Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 micro-patches after Microsoft turns its back to the clients who will ask for support. Clearly, Redmond’s decision to develop security updates but only give them to a small selection of chosen clients is one that leaves too many people vulnerable, dissatisfied, and eager to work out a solution. Some cannot afford or do not want to change their OS, and that’s understandable.
Right now, W3Schools OS stats give Windows 7 a share of 11.7%, while Net Marketshare is counting it at around 26.9%. Whatever the actual number is, the deduction is that there are still quite a lot of Windows 7 users out there besides corporate and enterprise-grade systems. That said, Microsoft could have taken into account this significant portion of the market and help them stay away from risky workarounds. Speaking of which, what the forum users share is working as expected for now, but it is unlikely that it will work well when the Extended Security Updates program officially begins. Still, users will definitely try to make it work no matter how hard Microsoft may try to keep them locked out of the program.