Windows 7 end of support is right around the corner—January 14, 2020—and Microsoft is offering several upgrade options for customers with Windows 7 deployed throughout their organizations.
As an Inside Microsoft Consultant, I discuss Windows 7 EOL regularly with my customers. No customer’s environment is the same. Some organizations have Windows 7 running on their systems and need to put a plan in place to ensure they are receiving security updates. Not all organizations are able to upgrade to Windows 10 right away. Keeping that in mind, we make (and have been making) end of support discussions a priority to make sure our customers are prepared for January 14, 2020 ahead of time. Fortunately, there are a few options if you’re not yet ready to upgrade to Windows 10 by the end of support deadline.
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) Subscription
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) subscription includes security updates for critical and important issues for three years after January 14, 2020. Windows 7 ESU is offered as an annual purchase, per device, currently via Enterprise Agreements (EA), Enterprise Subscription Agreements (EAS), and Server and Cloud Enrollments (SCE). As of December 1, 2019, Microsoft will make Year 1 Windows 7 ESU available via Cloud Solution Provider (CSP).
Active Software Assurance on Windows licensing is not required for customers to purchase Windows 7 ESU. However, customers with Windows 10 Enterprise E3 w/SA or Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5 User Subscription License will have access to discounted pricing (50% discount).
Free Extended Security Updates Offer
As of June 1, 2019, customers with Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E5 Security, or Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) E5 could get Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for Year 1 as a benefit. This is a limited-time promotion that lasts until December 31, 2019. There are no operational requirements related to obtaining the Windows 7 ESU keys for these customers. The keys will automatically be made available in the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) for download and registration. This is not available via CSP. Additionally, it does not apply to Academic SKUs.
Windows 10 Enterprise E5 and Windows VDA E5 include Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which helps enterprise networks to prevent, alleviate, discover, investigate, and respond to threats. Windows 10 Enterprise E5 is also included in the Microsoft 365 (M365) E5 Suite.
I would recommend that customers consider the E5 Suites and plans, as they provide necessary security and compliance features that are not included in the E3 Suites and plans (e.g., Windows 10 Enterprise E5 includes Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, but Windows 10 Enterprise E3 does not). Microsoft offers multiple ways to purchase the security or compliance solutions that your organization needs. Connection’s Microsoft Solutions Specialists (MSS) or Microsoft Solutions Associates (MSA) can recommend the right plan or suite for your organization, as well as the best way to purchase it.
Free Windows 7 ESU on Windows Virtual Desktop
Microsoft announced on September 30, 2019 that Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is now generally available worldwide. As the only cloud-based service that delivers a multi-user Windows 10 experience, WVD is absolutely a potential option for our customers using Windows 7. WVD can be used to virtualize Windows 7 desktops and will provide customers with free Extended Security Updates until January 2023.
Connection’s Microsoft Center of Excellence (COE) is prepared and well equipped to help our customers facing Windows 7 end of support. With our Microsoft Licensing Optimization service, we can help you understand what your current Microsoft licensing state is, what your current deployments are, and how you can optimize your Microsoft spending, maintain compliance, and make strategic decisions.
Don’t let your desktops become vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Talk to your Connection Account Manager about your desktops running Windows 7. We can ensure that your organization is prepared for the end of support date.