Windows 7 Users Promised These Critical Security Updates Even When Extended Support Ends In January
As you might already be aware, Microsoft is getting ready to lower the curtain on Windows 7, with the end of support date scheduled for January 14, 2020. After that, most users still clinging to Windows 7 will need to upgrade in order to stay protected from the latest threats. Well, sort of. While Microsoft will no longer push out monthly updates to Windows 7, it will continue to offer signature updates for Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE).
Microsoft confirmed plans to keep MSE updated when a user specifically asked about it on the company's community forums during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. The confusion stemmed from a related FAQ, in which Microsoft said in no uncertain terms, "No, your Windows 7 computer is not protected by MSE after January 14, 2020. MSE is unique to Windows 7 and follows the same lifecycles dates for support."
It turns out that was incorrect. Either that, or Microsoft had a change of heart, much like Ebeneezer Scrooge in the classic Charles Dickens novel Christmas Carol.
"Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will continue to receive signature updates after January 14, 2020. However, the MSE platform will no longer be updated," the FAQ now states.
This is a welcome move by Microsoft. It's well documented how much Microsoft wants users to migrate to Windows 10, and lest any Windows 7 users are unaware that support is generally ending next month, it has begun pushing out full-screen notifications (i.e., nag screens) to users. But by committing to pushing out signature updates to MSE, Windows 7 users will have a level of ongoing protection against malware threats.
According to Net Marketshare, Windows 7 is still installed on more than a quarter of all PCs. That figure would be even higher if narrowing the field to just Windows systems, but either way, there are a lot of people (and businesses) who rely on the legacy OS. So, kudos to Microsoft for not abandoning MSE on Windows 7.