Today is the day that many have likely feared for years, Windows 7 is officially reaching its end of support today. What this means is that starting tomorrow, if a vulnerability is discovered, Microsoft likely won’t patch it (for free) and your device will now be exposed.
But there are a lot of caveats to this that you should know about and if you are reading this, you are likely not impacted by this servicing deadline. Why? Because you have been planning, migrating, or extending your servicing agreements, right? Right.
For any company that values their security, you already knew about this deadline and if you are waking up today to a complete surprise that this date has arrived, that’s your own fault. We have been reminding you about this deadline extensively and so has Microsoft.
And at this point, anyone who is impacted by this end of servicing has already made alternative arrangements. Microsoft has several options for extending servicing to Windows 7, some of which are ‘free’ and for those are impacted, migrating to Windows 10 is trivial compared to the Windows XP to 7 process.
More than likely, of the roughly 26% of Windows devices that are still running Windows 7, according to Net Marketshare, are either consumers who are never going to upgrade or are corporate customers who are in the process of migrating which means they will receive extended support for their environment.
So yes, Windows 7 is ending its support today for those who are blissfully unaware of what OS they are running or simply don’t care about their IT infrastructure security. And for those who are rolling the dice, you do have a bit of historical context that may give you a bit of comfort.
In prior years, Microsoft has shown that if there is an exploit with an unsupported product, like Windows XP, the company will issue patches for free. This typically happens when a state-backed entity is using a known exploit to attack governments, hospitals, or other critical infrastructure that is exposed but you should not count on this as it’s unknown when and if patches will be released for non-paying customers.
Windows 7 will likely go down as the ‘most-loved’ version of Windows and it’s the end of public support is certainly an end of a modern computing era. But is this a major concern for most users? Likely not.