Windows 7: Microsoft Security Essentials will receive definition updates after support end

Microsoft Security Essentials will receive security definition updates after Windows 7 support ends despite Microsoft’s earlier claims stating the contrary.

Earlier this week, Microsoft stated in no uncertain terms that the company’s security software Microsoft Security Essentials would not receive any more updates after Windows 7’s support end on January 14, 2020.

Microsoft answered the question whether Microsoft Security Essentials could be used to protect computers after end of support:

No, your Windows 7 computer is not protected by MSE after January 14, 2020. MSE is unique to Windows 7 and follows the same lifecycle dates for support.

Woody Leonhard questioned whether Microsoft would indeed retire the application in its entirety even for customers who paid Microsoft for Extended Security Updates. Businesses and Enterprise customers may extend support that Windows 7 receives by up to three years by paying Microsoft per device or user (a bypass for non-businesses systems was found recently).

microsoft security essentials

Would Microsoft really disable Microsoft Security Essentials on these devices despite the fact that these companies and organizations pay Microsoft for extended support? Turns out, no, that is not what Microsoft wants to do.

The company modified the answer on the FAQ page so that it now reads:

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will continue to receive signature updates after January 14, 2020. However, the MSE platform will no longer be updated.

The most likely explanation that I have for this is that Microsoft meant software updates all long when it mentioned that MSE would not be supported anymore and that it had no intention of disabling the release of new security definitions.

I think that Microsoft will continue to push definition updates to all Windows 7 devices that run Microsoft Security Essentials. It is the sane thing to do considering that a huge number of Home systems and unsupported systems in organizations still run the operating system.

If you look back at how Microsoft handled definition updates when it retired Windows XP and Windows Vista, you will notice that support was extended and not cut off at the time the operating systems ran out of support.

As far as Microsoft Security Essentials software updates are concerned, those won’t be released anymore. It is possible, however, that Microsoft will push out updates if a serious security issue is detected in the application.

It would not be the first time that Microsoft would release a security update for an unsupported operating system. The company released an update for Windows XP back in 2017, two years after end of support, that protected systems against WannaCry attacks.

 

 

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How to disable the "Your Windows 7 PC is out of support" full screen popup

Microsoft plans to inform users of the company’s Windows 7 operating system on January 15, 2020 that support for the system ended. The company wants to display a full screen popup on Windows 7 PCs from January 15, 2020 onward.

Note: Support for Microsoft Security Essentials ends on January 14, 2020 as well.

Microsoft integrated a new version of the End of Service notifier executable in the December  2019 Monthly Rollup for Windows 7.  EOSnotify.exe, which is located under ,%windir%system32,  is used to display the full screen popup on Windows 7 devices when support ends.

The executable file is run via the scheduled tasks EOSNotify and EOSNotify2 which administrators find under Microsoft > Winodws > Setup in the operating system’s Task Scheduler. The first task launches the full screen message when a user logs into the operating system, the second daily at 12 PM.

your windows 7 pc is out of support

It displays the following message:

Your Windows 7 PC is out of support.

As of January 14, 2020, support for Windows 7 has come to an end. Your PC is more vulnerable to viruses and malware due to:

  • No security updates
  • No software updates
  • No tech support

Microsoft strongly recommends using Windows 10 on a new PC for the latest security features and protection against malicious software.

Microsoft’s suggestion is puzzling as it recommends getting a new PC and running Windows 10 on that PC. No word about the current PC and upgrading that PC to Windows 10.

The popup has three links that users may activate:

  • Learn More
  • Remind me Later
  • Don’t remind me again

Users may select “don’t remind me again” to block future popups on the system. It is furthermore possible to modify the Windows Registry to disable the message as well.

Disable the Windows 7 end of support popup

  1. Use Windows-R to open the Run box. Type regedit to start the Registry Editor.
  2. If an UAC prompt is displayed, confirm it.
  3. Navigate to the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionEOSNotify
  4. If the Dword value DiscontinueEOS is listed under EOSNotify, double-click it and set its value to 1.
  5. If it is not yet, create the value (right-click on EOSNotify, select New >Dword  (32-bit) Value).

Selecting “don’t remind me again” will set the DiscontinueEOS value to 1.

Closing Words

It is likely that many users will continue to run Windows 7 even after support end. Some may upgrade to Windows 10 (which is still free if a genuine key is available), others may switch to Linux.

Microsoft will support Enterprises and small businesses who sign up for Extended Security Updates until January 2023 with security updates. A method was discovered recently to install these patches on Home devices running Windows 7 but it is too early to tell whether it will remain an option after support ends officially. Third-party 0Patch plans to release some patches for Windows 7 for free as well.

Now You: do you run Windows 7 devices? What will you do after January 14, 2020? (via Bleeping Computer)

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Windows 7: Microsoft Security Essentials support ends on January 14, 2020

Windows 7 Home users who protect their systems with the security software Microsoft Security Essentials will soon have to find a different product to protect their devices as Microsoft won’t support the software anymore after support for the operating system ends.

Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, the January 2020 Patch Day. The company won’t release updates anymore after that date for Home users. Organizations have options to extend support by up to three years by paying Microsoft per device (small businesses) or per user (Enterprises).

microsoft security essentials

The company published a Extended Security Updates (ESU) FAQ on its support website that is aimed at organizations for the most part. Our colleagues over at Deskmodder dug deep into the FAQ and found out that Microsoft won’t provide Microsoft Security Essentials updates anymore after support for Windows 7 is terminated.

Will Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) continue to protect my computer after the end of support?

No, your Windows 7 computer is not protected by MSE after January 14, 2020. MSE is unique to Windows 7 and follows the same lifecycle dates for support.

Windows XP users may remember that Microsoft extended security updates support when support ended for that operating system in 2014; the FAQ entry confirms that Microsoft won’t give Windows 7 customers the same courtesy.

Organizations may continue to use System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) as it is covered by ESU and will even be updated regardless of ESU status. In other words: If SCEP is used, the system continues to be protected by it as definition and engine updates are provided. AV updates will be supplied until January 2023 for the SCEP Current Branch.

Closing Words

Windows 7 users who still use Microsoft Security Essentials on devices that run Windows 7 need to switch to a different antivirus solution after January 14, 2020 if they plan to keep running the operating system after end of support.

Most third-party antivirus solutions will continue to work, at least for a while. Windows 7’s userbase is still large and many software companies will continue to support the operating system after support ends officially.

Many Windows 7 customers may upgrade their devices to Windows 10 for free (or switch to Linux, which is also free).

Now You: Do you plan to run Windows 7 after January 2020?

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Someone found a way to bypass Windows 7 Extended Security Updates checks

Someone discovered a way to enable Extended Security Updates on all machines running Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

Support for Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system ends after the January 2020 Patch Tuesday. Small businesses and Enterprises may extend support by up to three years for a price.

Small businesses pay Microsoft up to $200 per device and year for extended support, Enterprises up to $200 per user and year. The support program is available already and there are prerequisites that need to be met.

Microsoft won’t offer the Extended Security Updates program to Home users even though some would pay Microsoft to extend support for Windows 7. Home users may get some security patches created by third-party company 0Patch, but support will be limited and not as extensive — likely — as what Microsoft pushes out via the Extended Security Updates program.

Note: Microsoft released a test update that administrators may attempt to download and install to verify that the device is eligible for Extended Security Updates. This, and other parameters, may change before the program starts officially in January 2020. Creating backups is highly recommended.

bypass security updates checks

Devices or users that participate in the Extended Security Updates program need to install an update that verifies eligibility to receive updates after January 14, 2020. Extended Security Updates must be installed online on live systems; they cannot be integrated or installed offline, at least not right now.

Users on the My Digital Life forum discovered a way to bypass the Extended Security Updates check. The bypass works with Microsoft’s test update but it is unclear if it will also work with “real” updates that the company releases after the January 2020 Patch Day.

All that needs to be done currently is to download a small archive from the My Digital Life forum and extract it. The package includes two batch files that enable or disable the bypass on the system, executable files, and the source.

Basically, what happens behind the scene is that verification checks return true all the time through manipulation of these checks.

One interesting aspect of the hack is that it enables support for all Windows 7 editions, even those that Microsoft does not want to support after January 14, 2020. In other words: Windows 7 Home, Starter or Ultimate editions would be able to receive updates provided by the Extended Security Updates program when the bypass is installed.

The developers plan already to extend support to Windows Vista and to support the POSReady 7 SKU which will receive security updates until 2024. (via Deskmodder)

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The Windows 7 Extended Security Update program is now available

Microsoft will end support for the company’s Windows 7 operating system on January 14, 2020, the same day that security updates are made available for the last time for the operating system.

While there are not any official options for home users of Windows 7 to extend support, paid or unpaid, companies and organizations may pay Microsoft to extend support by up to three years. Security company 0Patch revealed plans to release (some) security updates for Windows 7 for free after Microsoft ends support.

Microsoft unveiled the program for Enterprise customers in 2018 and for non-Enterprise businesses in 2019.

Enterprise customers may pay Microsoft $50, $100, or $200 per year and user to extend Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise support. It is unclear at the time if Windows 7 Ultimate devices may also receive extended support or if support is reserved to Pro and Enterprise editions exclusively.

Small businesses may also pay Microsoft for extended support for Pro and Enterprise editions but these businesses pay per device and not user. The cost of extending support for Windows 7 Pro machines is the same that Enterprise customers pay per user whereas it is half of that for Enterprise machines.

Customers who have active subscription licenses for Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E5 Security, or Windows VDA E5 will receive the first year of Windows 7 ESU support as a benefit according to Microsoft (only available to volume licensing customers).

Enterprise customers could join the Extended Security Update program in April 2019 already while Small Business customers had to wait until December to join the program.

extended security updates windows 7

Microsoft released an update that verifies whether Windows 7 SP1 or Server 2008 R2 SP1 devices can get the Extended Security Updates. The update is a test package that is only available via the Microsoft Update Catalog website (or WSUS) at the time of writing.

The following prerequisites exist:

  1. 4474419 SHA-2 code signing support update for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008: September 23, 2019
  2. 4490628 Servicing stack update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: March 12, 2019
  3. 4516655 Servicing stack update for Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2 SP1: September 10, 2019
  4. 4519976 October 8, 2019—KB4519976 (Monthly Rollup)
  5. Install and activate the ESU key. See this article for instructions. Small businesses need to purchase ESUs from Cloud Solution Providers.

Transactions generate unique keys.

Each transaction for Windows 7 ESU licenses will generate a unique MAK key. If a customer purchases Windows 7 ESUs at multiple points in time, CSP partners will be able to see the full list of transactions in the Partner Center for that customer. The customer will also see the MAK keys and associated licenses in their Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

Closing Words

The information that Microsoft provides is scattered across multiple company websites and properties, and it is quite difficult to get a clear picture of requirements and instructions. Things like missing information about Windows 7 Ultimate make things even more complicated. Whether Microsoft manages to make things easier for customers remains to be seen.

Now You: Do you still run devices with Windows 7? What will you do after January 14, 2020? (via Born)

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End of Support notifications for Windows 7 Pro users

Microsoft started to inform Windows 7 Home users that support for the operating system was about to run out. From this week on, the notifications will also be shown to users running devices with Windows 7 Pro.

The company’s Windows 7 operating system will run out of support in January 2020. The operating system is in the extended support phase currently which means that Microsoft will provide security updates for it.

Microsoft won’t release any updates for home versions of Windows 7 after the January 2020 Patch Day, Enterprise and business customers may extend the end of support by up to three years by paying Microsoft for extended support.

Enterprise customers may pay $50, $100 and $200 US Dollars respectively per user and year  (the fee doubles each year), business customers the same for Enterprise editions and half the price for Pro editions but not per user but per device.

End of support notifications

after 10 years windows 7 support end

The end of support notifications are delivered to the user by an update: KB4493132, Windows 7 SP1 support notification, enables the notifications on devices running Windows 7.

The update is pushed via Windows Update automatically. It will be downloaded and installed automatically on devices with Windows Update enabled.

The notification is only displayed on Windows 7 Pro devices that are not domain-joined.

It displays a window on the screen that users need to interact with.

After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing the end.

January 14, 2020 is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates and technical support for computers running Windows 7. We know change can be difficult, that’s why we’re reaching out early to help you back up your files and prepare for what’s next.

The windows has a big “learn more” prompt that leads to this page on the Microsoft website. The page advertises the company’s Windows 10 operating system and devices that run the operating system including new Surface devices but also devices made by third-party manufacturers such as Samsung, Acer, or Lenovo.

Windows 7 users who don’t want to see the notification again should check the “do not remind me again” box to avoid being notified multiple times about the impending support end.

Closing Words

Microsoft promised that it won’t bombard customers with notifications and the checkbox to block future notifications ensures that customer’s can block future notifications using it. There is certainly also the option to block the end of support update entirely to block it from entering the PC in first place. Check out this guide to remove it and block it if it is already on the PC. (via ZDnet)

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Microsoft releases October 2019 update previews for Windows

Microsoft released cumulative updates for various supported versions of Windows on October 15, 2019. The company released preview updates for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and the Windows 10 versions 1809, 1803, 1709 and 1607 / Windows Server 2016.

Here is the list:

Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2 SP1: KB4519972

The update is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

Fixes/Improvements:

  • Time zone information for Norfolk Island, Australia, and Fiki Islands updated.
  • Fixed an issue that affected the evaluation of a device’s compatibility status “to help ensure application and device compatibility for all updates to Windows”.
  • Fixed a netdom.exe issue that prevented the application “from displaying the new ticket-granting ticket delegation bit for the display or query mode”.

Known Issues:

  • none

Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2

The update is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

Fixes/Improvements:

  • Same as Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2 SP1, plus
  • Fixed an issue that caused certain virtual machines to stop working because of an issue “with a race condition between the volume mount process (within fileinfo.sys) and the deregistration of filter notifications”.
  • Fixed an issue in security bulletin CVE-2019-1318 that caused increased latency and CPU utilization.
    • This issue occurs while performing full Transport Layer Security (TLS) handshakes from devices that don’t support EMS, especially on servers. EMS support has been available for all the supported versions of Windows since calendar year 2015 and is being incrementally enforced by the installation of the October 8, 2019 and later monthly updates.

Known Issues:

  • Certain operations on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail.

Windows 10 version 1809

windows october 2019 updates KB4520062

The update is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website. WSUS administrators need to import it into WSUS manually.

Fixes/Improvements:

  • Fixes an issue that caused blank tiles to be displayed in the Start Menu.
  • Fixed a power consumption issue in Connected Standby mode.
  • Fixed a Windows Virtual Desktops reconnecting or signing in issue.
  • Fixed an Microsoft Outlook indexing issues on Windows Virtual Desktops.
  • Updated time zone information for Norfolk Island, Australia and Fidji Islands.
  • Fixed an unhanded exception error in Windows Machine Learning.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented scroll bars from being selected; this was caused when the Internet Explorer window was moved.
  • Improved an access control list check for known folders to fix the black screen issue that could appear the first time users sign in after installing updates.
  • Fixed a Microsoft SharePoint filename issue that caused them to be displayed incorrectly in Quick Access and Recent Items.
  • Fixed an unspecified Bluetooth issue that occurred when certain audio profiles were used for extended periods.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the epoch value to be displayed instead of the actual logon time.
  • Fixed a compatibility evaluation issue.
  • Fixed an unspecified diagnostic data processing issue.
  • Fixed a netdom.exe issue.
  • Fixed a Microsoft AppLocker issue that could prevent applications from running.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Windows Defender Application Control policy to become too restrictive.
  • Fixed an issue that failed to include the full file hash as part of WDAC event log entries.
  • Fixed an issue that caused high CPU usage when on systems with many open windows and Background Application Manager running periodic background scans. The scan can be turned off in the following way:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerBamThrottling
    • Name: DisableWindowHinting
    • Type: REG_DWORD
    • Value: 1
  • Fixed a kernel memory leak in applications that utilize change notifications on named pipes.
  • Fixed an Internet Explorer issue that prevented the print dialog from being displayed.
  • Added support to allow removable drives and assigned access restrictions.
  • Fixed a printing issue in 32-bit applications when using “run as different user”.
  • Fixed an issue during block cloning operations on ReFS volumes that might cause errors 0x1E, 0xA, or 0x50.
  • Fixed an Offline File Shell issue about online and offline indicators.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Settings app to stop working when selecting a theme.
  • Fixed a reliability issue in Windows Server 2019 Hyper-V Host Clusters.
  • Fixed a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol queries issue that threw the error “000020E6: SvcErr: DSID-0314072D, problem 5012 (DIR_ERROR), data 8996”.
  • Fixed an issue that consumed all TCP dynamic ports.
  • Addressed an issue with applications and scripts that call the NetQueryDisplayInformation API or the WinNT provider equivalent.
  • Fixed a Group Policy issue when adding computer objects to local groups using “Local Users and Groups”.
  • Fixed an issue that caused certain virtual machines to stop working because of an issue “with a race condition between the volume mount process (within fileinfo.sys) and the deregistration of filter notifications”.
  • Fixed an authentication error caused by Active Directory Federation Service certificate renewals.
  • Fixed an issue with file deletions on Cluster Shared Volumes that caused files with alternate data streams to still be present.
  • Fixed an issue that may cause error 0x50 to be displayed during backup operations.

Known Issues:

  • Certain operations on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail.
  • Systems with certain Asian language packs installed may throw the error message “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND”.
  • Windows Mixed Reality Portal users may get the error “15-5”.

Windows 10 version 1803

The update is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website. WSUS administrators need to import it into WSUS manually.

Fixes/Improvements:

  • Fixed an issue that caused the Out of Box Experience event to be displayed repeatedly.
  • Updated time zone information for Norfolk Island, Australia, and Fidji Island.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented scroll bars from being selected; this was caused when the Internet Explorer window was moved.
  • Fixed a MSCTF.dll issue that caused applications to stop working.
  • Improved an access control list check for known folders to fix the black screen issue that could appear the first time users sign in after installing updates.
  • Fixed an unspecified Bluetooth issue that occurred when certain audio profiles were used for extended periods.
  • Fixed an issue that failed to include the full file hash as part of WDAC event log entries.
  • Fixed a Microsoft AppLocker issue that could prevent applications from running.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the system to stop working during an upgrade process. The Stop error “SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED (7e)” was displayed.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Windows Defender Application Control policy to become too restrictive.
  • Fixed a netdom.exe issue.
  • Fixed an issue that caused high CPU usage when on systems with many open windows and Background Application Manager running periodic background scans. The scan can be turned off in the following way:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerBamThrottling
    • Name: DisableWindowHinting
    • Type: REG_DWORD
    • Value: 1
  • Fixed a printing issue in 32-bit applications when using “run as different user”.
  • Fixed a compatibility evaluation issue.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause ReFS to stop working.
  • Fixed an issue that caused certain virtual machines to stop working because of an issue “with a race condition between the volume mount process (within fileinfo.sys) and the deregistration of filter notifications”.

Known Issues:

  • Certain operations on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail.
  • Windows Mixed Reality Portal users may get the error “15-5”.

Windows 10 version 1709

The update is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website. WSUS administrators need to import it into WSUS manually.

Fixes/Improvements:

  • Updated time zone information for Norfolk Island, Australia, and Fidji Island.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the epoch value to be displayed instead of the actual logon time.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the system to stop working during an upgrade process. The Stop error “SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED (7e)” was displayed.
  • Fixed a Bitlocker recovery key back up issue when backing up to Azure Active Directory.
  • Fixed an issue that failed to include the full file hash as part of WDAC event log entries.
  • Fixed a Microsoft AppLocker issue that could prevent applications from running.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Windows Defender Application Control policy to become too restrictive.
  • Fixed a netdom.exe issue.
  • Fixed an issue that caused high CPU usage when on systems with many open windows and Background Application Manager running periodic background scans. The scan can be turned off in the following way:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerBamThrottling
    • Name: DisableWindowHinting
    • Type: REG_DWORD
    • Value: 1
  • Fixed an issue that could cause ReFS to stop working.
  • Fixed a compatibility evaluation issue.
  • Fixed an issue that caused certain virtual machines to stop working because of an issue “with a race condition between the volume mount process (within fileinfo.sys) and the deregistration of filter notifications”.

Known Issues:

  • Certain operations on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail.

Windows 10 version 1607 / Server 2016

The update is available via Windows Update, Microsoft Update, and as a direct download on the Microsoft Update Catalog website. WSUS administrators need to import it into WSUS manually.

Fixes/Improvements:

  • Updated time zone information for Norfolk Island, Australia, and Fidji Island.
  • fixed an issue that caused a tablet’s screen to rotate unexpectedly.
  • Fixed an application window flickering issue when using RemoteApp. DMW.exe may stop working on the session host in addition.
  • Fixed a Group Policy issue when adding computer objects to local groups using “Local Users and Groups”.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the epoch value to be displayed instead of the actual logon time.
  • Fixed an App-V application issue that prevented the opening and display of network failure errors.
  • Fixed a Microsoft AppLocker issue that could prevent applications from running.
  • Fixed an issue that failed to include the full file hash as part of WDAC event log entries.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the system to stop working during an upgrade process. The Stop error “SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED (7e)” was displayed.
  • Fixed a netdom.exe issue.
  • Fixed a high CPU issue when retrieving session objects.
  • Fixed a kernel memory leak in applications that utilize change notifications on named pipes.
  • Fixed a mount manager issue that could cause Windows to become unresponsive.
  • Fixed an issue during block cloning operations on ReFS volumes that might cause errors 0x1E, 0xA, or 0x50.
  • Fixed an Active Directory Federation Services authentication issue.
  • Fixed a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol queries issue that threw the error “000020E6: SvcErr: DSID-0314072D, problem 5012 (DIR_ERROR), data 8996”.
  • Fixed a compatibility evaluation issue.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented users from resizing windows in some cases.
  • Fixed an issue that caused certain virtual machines to stop working because of an issue “with a race condition between the volume mount process (within fileinfo.sys) and the deregistration of filter notifications”.
  • Fixed an issue with file deletions on Cluster Shared Volumes that caused files with alternate data streams to still be present.

Known Issues:

  • Certain operations on Cluster Shared Volumes may fail.
  • The Cluster Service may fail to start with error “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)”

Closing Words

The update for Windows 10 version 1903 and Server 2019 is late as usually. It is expected to be released in the coming days.

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Microsoft announces yet another Windows 7 support extension (for SMBs)

Microsoft announced yesterday that the option to get extended support for the company’s Windows 7 operating system will be available to businesses of all sizes.

Support for the Windows 7 operating system ends in January 2020. Microsoft will deliver security updates for the operating system until that month but won’t produce security updates or any other update anymore afterward for free.

The company announced previously that Enterprise customers may extend support by up to three years. The price of support starts at $50 per user and year and double each year so that $100 and $200 need to be paid per user in the following years.

Up until yesterday, that was the only way to extend support for Windows 7 (except for the exception of voting machines in the US 2020 election which would also be supplied with security updates).

windows 7 extended support small business

Yesterday’s announcement allows businesses of any size to extend support for up to three years.

With that in mind, today we are announcing that, through January 2023, we will extend the availability of paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) to businesses of all sizes. (Previously, Windows 7 ESU was only available to Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise customers in Volume Licensing.) The Windows 7 ESU will be sold on a per-device basis with the price increasing each year.

The extended security updates for Windows 7 will be sold on a per-device base and not on a per-user base like they are for Enterprise customers. The price per device depends on the year and edition of Windows 7.

Basically, the costs per year are identical for Windows 7 Professional and only half for Windows 7 Enterprise. It needs to be noted that the SMB extensions apply to the entire device while the Enterprise extensions to individual users.

Product Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
SMB: Windows 7 Pro ESU 50 100 200
SMB: Windows 7 Enterprise ESU 25 50 100
Enterprise: Windows 7 Pro ESU 50 100 200
Enterprise Windows 7 Enterprise ESU 50 100 200

Businesses may start to purchase ESU “through the cloud solution provider program” for Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise devices starting December 1, 2019.

Additional information is available on the Microsoft 365 Partner Center. Home users may install security patches provided by third-party security company 0Patch for their Windows 7 devices.

Closing Words

Business and Enterprise customers may purchase extended support updates for Windows 7 for up to three years which leaves Home users as the only group that cannot purchase extended support for the operating system. While it is unclear how many Home users would pay for extended Windows 7 support, it is not unrealistic to assume that a good chunk would if the pricing was right.

I think it is unlikely that Microsoft will announce a support extension option for Home users even though the company could probably make quite a bit of money from such an extension.

Now You: Should Microsoft offer support extensions for Home users as well? (via Born)

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0Patch to support Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 with security patches after official support end

Microsoft plans to end support for the company’s operating systems Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in January 2020. Enterprise customers may purchase extensions to extend support by up to three years and some other exceptions apply that extend official support.

Most businesses and all home customers won’t be able to extend support officially. Security company 0Patch announced on September 21, 2019 that it will step in and “security-adopt” Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to create and distribute security patches for these operating system versions after January 2020.

opatch windows7 support
via https://blog.0patch.com/2019/09/keeping-windows-7-and-windows-server.html

The company has released so-called micropatches before to patch vulnerabilities in Windows and other products, and plans to use the system to provide security updates for Microsoft’s operating systems once support ends officially.

Here is how the company plans on doing this:

  1. Security updates that Microsoft releases for supported versions of Windows are reviewed to determine which might also apply to Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. 0Patch determines if the selected issues present a high-enough risk to warrant a security patch.
  2. Company engineers inspect the updates then to determine if the vulnerability applies to Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 as well.
  3. If the vulnerabilities affect these versions of Windows, 0Patch will create a proof of concept or use an existing one if it has been published by security researchers for testing.
  4. The engineers will then use Microsoft’s code that patches the vulnerability or code by others to port the fix to the unsupported operating system versions.

The patches are then released by the company and home and businesses administrators may install them on devices still running these versions of the Windows operating system.

The company is working on a centralized system similarly to WSUS for large organizations to help with the organization and management aspects of patching a large number of devices.

Firstly, in order for large organizations to be able to use 0patch efficiently, we’re developing a central management service (think WSUS for 0patch, but nice and fast) which will allow admins to organize computers in groups and apply different policies to these groups. Admins will thus be able to set up “testing” groups where new micropatches will be applied immediately, and subsequently have them applied to the rest of their computers with a few clicks (and of course, without users ever noticing anything). Naturally they’ll also be able to un-apply any micropatches just as easily and quickly should they choose to. There will be alerts, graphs, reports, and drill-downs, and the very next step will be an on-premises version of 0patch server which so many organizations are asking for.

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are used on a huge number of systems and there is little doubt that the numbers won’t go down significantly in the coming three months. All home and business systems running these operating system versions will remain unpatched after January 2020 which could be disastrous if malicious actors find vulnerabilities to exploit.

While it happened before that Microsoft released patches for unsupported versions of Windows, the company has done so rarely and only for high-profile security issues

Closing Words

Businesses and home owners have multiple reasons for staying on Windows 7, at least for the time being. These customers may benefit from the patches that 0Patch plans to release once support runs out officially.

Relying on a third-party company to patch an operating system requires a level of trust. It is going to be interesting to see how 0Patch will handle the gigantic task and how it plans to address bugs and issues that are caused by the patches that it puts out.

Now You: What is your take on the development?

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Microsoft extends Exchange Server 2010 End of Support with a surprising remark

Microsoft announced today that it will extend end of support for Exchange Server 2010 to October 13, 2020. Exchange Server 2010 support was about to run out on January 14, 2020 initially but Microsoft decided to extend support until October 13, 2020 of the same year.

Microsoft provides the following reason for extending support of the Server product:

Our commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our customers is as strong as ever, and we recognize discontinuing support for a product that has been as popular and reliable as Exchange Server 2010 can be an adjustment.

Microsoft plans to end support for Exchange Server 2010 on October 13, 2020. The company notes that it won’t provide technical support for problems and won’t release any updates including security updates after that date.

microsoft exchange server 2010 extend support

What about Windows 7?

The discontinuation of a product that has “been popular and reliable” can be an adjustment. Know which other Microsoft product runs out of support on January 14, 2020? One that is still very popular, reliable, and loved by a dedicated customers? Windows 7.

Our colleagues over at Deskmodder spotted the announcement today and asked if Microsoft would extend support for Windows 7 as well.

If you just look at the reason that Microsoft provides, you could certainly come to the conclusion that it would apply to Windows 7 as well.

The change that Microsoft will make a similar announcement to extend the end of support for Windows 7 is very slim, and here are the reasons why that is the case:

  • Exchange Server is a server product.
  • Microsoft announced previously that Enterprise customers can extend support for Windows 7 by up to three years.

Enterprise customers are covered by the (paid) extension of support.

Now Read: Would you pay Microsoft for extended Windows 7 support?

The case for an extension

Windows 7 is the second used desktop operating system and while Windows 10 surpassed it a while ago, it is still used a lot. Considering that support will run out in about four months, it is clear that lots of systems will run out of support in January if Microsoft won’t extend support.

It is highly improbable that all devices will be upgraded to a supported version of Windows or that another operating system will be installed on these devices in the coming four months. If Windows XP’s end of support is anything to go by, it is going to take years before Windows 7’s usage share becomes irrelevant.

Microsoft could, but probably won’t, offer free upgrades to Windows 10 just like it has done in the first year after Windows 10’s release. Such an offer would certainly push migrations and reduce the number of devices running Windows 7 after January 14, 2020.

Now You: What do you think is going to happen in January 2020?

Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks/). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Microsoft extends Exchange Server 2010 End of Support with a surprising remark appeared first on gHacks Technology News.