Microsoft offers free post-2020 Windows 7 support for Win 10 Enterprise subscribers Credit: MicrosoftIDG
Business Management

Microsoft offers free post-2020 Windows 7 support for Win 10 Enterprise subscribers

Microsoft is giving away one year of post-retirement support for Windows 7 to customers with active Windows 10 subscriptions.

"Enterprise Agreement and Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EA and EAS) customers with active subscription licenses to Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Microsoft 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E5 Security will get Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for Year 1 as a benefit," Microsoft said in a FAQ about the end of support for Windows 7 and Office 2010.

Windows 10 Enterprise E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 are the top-tier subscriptions of the OS or packages that include the operating system. They are the highest-priced plans in their specific lines.

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU), announced in September 2018, were cast as a last resort for organizations unable to move off the OS before its Jan. 14, 2020, retirement. For a per-device fee, businesses would receive security updates to patch the most serious vulnerabilities, letting them continue running Windows 7. ESU was to be sold in one-year increments for a maximum of three years, making January 2023 the final-final retirement for the operating system.

Later revelations showed that ESU costs would double at the second year, then again for the third. Prices would range from $25 per device - for the first year and discounted for Windows 10 Enterprise or Microsoft 365 subscribers - to $200 per device, that highest price for the third year.

Microsoft's promotion, which runs through Dec. 31, provides the first year of ESU to all subscribers of the eligible plans if those subscriptions were purchased before the end of this year and still active on the last day of December.

"Qualifying subscription licenses must remain active throughout the full ESU coverage period, or the free ESU coverage expires with the subscription," Microsoft said.

Years 2 and 3 of ESU can be purchased separately for $50 and $100 per device, respectively, although Microsoft expected they wouldn't be needed. "We believe most customers that need to purchase Windows 7 ESU will need only Year 1 coverage," the company wrote in the FAQ. "[And] the annual price increases ... are intended to incent customers to continue their momentum on Windows 10 deployments."

Windows 7 ESU Microsoft

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) cost $50 for Year 1 for PCs licensed by Windows Pro, $25 for those covered by a Windows 10 Enterprise E3 subscription and are free to devices under Windows 10 Enterprise E5.


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