It appears that the Windows 7 ESU Bypass is indeed working

Support for Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system ended on January 14, 2020 officially. Home users cannot extend support for the operating system while business and Enterprise customers may extend support by up to three years; this is done by joining the ESU program which is available per machine (business) or per user (Enterprise).

A bypass to use ESU-only patches on Home machines — basically any machine that has not joined the program officially — was discovered and published in December 2019. The bypass worked with the test ESU patch that Microsoft released but it was not clear back then if it would also work with “real” patches.

Now that the first post-Windows 7 support patch has been released, confirmations are coming in that the bypass is indeed working.

bypass security updates checks

Note: we suggest that backups are created of important data, better the entire system, before the bypass or any of the updates that Microsoft released for Windows 7 are installed. If something goes wrong, it is then possible to go back to the previous version without losing any data.

The process of using the bypass with the Windows 7 patches released in February would look like this (note that you should not install the latest SSU KB4537829 as the bypass does not seem to work anymore if it is installed).

  1. Install the bypass. You can grab the latest version from the MDL forum (account needed), or download it from Gitlab. The password is 2020.
  2. Download and install the ESU Test update KB4528069. It should install fine.
  3. Restart the System.
  4. Install the following updates: KB4538483, KB4537820, KB4537767, and KB4537813.
  5. Restart the system.

Our colleagues over at Deskmodder found another option that supports the installation of the latest SSU:

  1. Install the bypass.
  2. Install the ESU Test update.
  3. Remove the bypass.
  4. Install the SSU KB4537829.
  5. Install the KB4537820 update.

Closing Words

It remains to be seen if the bypass will continue to work in the coming months or years.For now, it may be an option in some situations provided that backups are created.

Now You: Are you still running Windows 7? Have you tried the bypass?

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post It appears that the Windows 7 ESU Bypass is indeed working appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

That Windows 7 Wallpaper Bug Microsoft introduced? Buy ESU to get it fixed

Microsoft released a final cumulative update for the company’s Windows 7 operating system on the January 2020 Patch Day before support ended officially.

KB4534310 fixes several security issues on machines running Windows 7 including one that is rated critical.

Reports came in after the release of the update that the wallpaper on patched Windows 7 devices displayed as black.

Microsoft acknowledged the issue recently on the official KB4534310 support page stating:

After installing KB4534310, your desktop wallpaper might display as black when set to Stretch.

A workaround is provided by Microsoft. According to the information presented, the wallpaper is displayed as black only if the display mode is set to stretch.

Microsoft suggests that affected users either use a different view mode, e.g. fill, fit, or center, or select a wallpaper that matches the resolution of the display.

To mitigate the issue, you can do one of the following:

Set your custom image to an option other than Stretch, such as Fill, Fit, Tile, or Center.

Choose a custom wallpaper that matches the resolution of your desktop.

Administrators and users should not have any trouble using the workaround to resolve the black wallpaper issue. One option is to use an image editor to stretch the wallpaper to the native resolution of the device and use that edited image as the desktop background going forward.

A patch is being worked on according to Microsoft, but it will only be made available to Extended Security Updates subscribers.

We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release for organizations who have purchased Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU).

Extended Security Updates are only available for Enterprise and business customers.

Microsoft’s stance is quite rigorous in regards to the patch; while support for Windows 7 ended officially on January 14, 2020, it was Microsoft’s own patch that caused the issue in first place.

It would not cost Microsoft an arm and leg to release the patch for all Windows 7 devices and not exclusively for Extended Security Updates subscribers considering that the patch is developed anyway for ESU devices already.

The issue may not be critical but many customers would have probably preferred if Microsoft would have ended support without the unpatched issue.

Now You: What is your take on this? (via Ask Woody)

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post That Windows 7 Wallpaper Bug Microsoft introduced? Buy ESU to get it fixed appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 is no longer supported

Microsoft ended its support for the company’s Windows 7 operating system last week officially. While Enterprise and business customers may extend support by up to three years, it is no longer supported for Home users and customers who don’t purchase support extensions.

The new Microsoft Edge web browser that is based on Chromium has been released for Windows 7 at a surprising time; it was released one day after Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 and the company revealed already that it will continue to support the browser for the foreseeable future on Windows 7.

internet explorer 11 unsupported

Windows 7 users who prefer Internet Explorer 11 — is there anyone that does? — may download the latest version of the web browser from the Microsoft website. A visit to the download page brings a surprising revelation: Internet Explorer 11 is no longer support unlike Edge which continues to be supported.

Microsoft modified the download page on January 15, 2020, the day the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser was released and one day after support of Windows 7 ended officially.

The company states on the download page:

If you’re running Windows 7, the latest version of Internet Explorer that you can install is Internet Explorer 11. However, Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported on Windows 7. Instead, we recommend you install the new Microsoft Edge. The new Microsoft Edge was built to bring you the best of the web, with more control and more privacy as you browse.

While it is still possible to download 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft does not fail to highlight a second time that Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported.

The end of support notification leads to an interesting question: will Microsoft fix the recently discovered security vulnerability in Internet Explorer 11 for systems running Windows 7?

Considering that Internet Explorer 11 is still used, especially in corporate environments, and that Microsoft extended support for paying Enterprise and business customers, it is fairly certain that the vulnerability will be fixed. The big question is whether the patch will be available for unsupported versions of Windows 7 or if it will be reserved for systems subscribed to the Extended Security Updates program.

Now You: do you still run Internet Explorer? (via Deskmodder)

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 is no longer supported appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

Windows 7 Support ends today: here are your options

Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system has reached the end of its lifetime, at least for home users. Microsoft will release a final round of patches for the operating system later today before support ends. While there is a chance that critical patches will be provided after support end, as it happened previously with other versions of Windows that ran out of support, it is fair to say that these will be an exception rather than something that will happen frequently.

If you still run Windows 7 on a home system or work on a Windows 7 machine in an organization, you have a couple of options when it comes to using your devices.

First, the good news: while Microsoft will end its support for the operating system, many popular software programs will continue to receive updates for quite some time. Google announced recently that it will support Chrome on Windows 7 for at least 18 months, and programs like Steam, Firefox, and even Microsoft Edge will continue to be supported for the time being.

Option 1: Switch to a supported version of Windows

windows 10 1903 apps games

Two versions of Windows are supported by Microsoft after support ends for Windows 7. There is Windows 8.1 which will be supported until 2023 and Windows 10, which will be supported indefinitely it appears.

The upgrade to Windows 10 is still free for users that have a genuine Windows 7 product key. Microsoft ended these free upgrades officially in 2016 but never stopped the process. We revealed why that is the case and that this is a deliberate decision by the company and not an oversight.

Some Windows users may not want to upgrade to Windows 10 as it is quite hungry for Telemetry data. There are tools available to improve privacy but it is fair to say that most users won’t be able to prevent the operating system from sending Telemetry data to Microsoft.

These users may select to upgrade to Windows 8.1 instead. It is closer to Windows 7 in many regards and will be supported for another three years before support runs out. Downside to upgrading to Windows 8.1 is that a key is needed and that this product key needs to be purchased. Cheap keys are available on different marketplaces such as eBay, and buying them may be legal in your jurisdiction.

If the PC is rather old, you could also consider purchasing a new device entirely and maybe get a license for Windows 8.1 or 10 that way. Considering that a retail key costs more than 100 Dollars, it is often cheaper to buy a new PC that includes such a key.

Option 2: Stay on Windows 7 for a while longer

Windows 7 won’t just stop working after January 14, 2020. The operating system continues to function just like before and the only change is that it won’t receive official security updates anymore.

That’s a problem that users who stay on Windows 7 face; this may not be dangerous if the PC is not connected to the Internet and used only locally.

Good security software, including a proper firewall and antivirus solution that is still updated, is a must in this case.

Third-party company 0Patch revealed in 2019 that it will release security updates for Windows 7 after Microsoft support ends. Not all of them will be free and there is a chance that it will only create some security updates and not all considering that its resources are limited.

Another option is to use a bypass that was detected recently. It is still up for debate whether Microsoft will find a way to disable it. Basically, what it does is enable ESU updates on systems that have not joined the program.

ESU is the Extended Security Updates program that Enterprise and business customers may use to extend support for Windows 7 for up to three years.

Option 3: ESU (Enterprise and business only)

Enterprise customers and businesses may purchase ESU subscriptions to receive security updates after January 14, 2020. Enterprise customers buy these per users and small businesses per machine. The subscription cost doubles per year but it is a good option for organizations that need more time to migrate the systems or need to use Windows 7 because of legacy programs that they run that are not compatible with newer versions of Microsoft’s operating system.

Option 4: Switch to Linux

If the upgrade to Windows 8.1 or 10 is not an option and staying on Windows 7 is not either, there is only Linux that users may select to migrate to. You can check out our preparation guides on migrating from Windows 7 to Linux which cover backup and media creation, and other preparations.

There are plenty of Linux distributions to choose from and if you are just getting started, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the choice.

Here is a short list of distributions that you may want to check out initially:

There are hundreds more and you can very well spend days comparing the different distributions to find out which one is best suitable for your use cases.

Now You: do you still run Windows 7? What do you plan to do after January 14, 2020?

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Windows 7 Support ends today: here are your options appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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.

 

 

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Windows 7: Microsoft Security Essentials will receive definition updates after support end appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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)

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post How to disable the “Your Windows 7 PC is out of support” full screen popup appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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?

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Windows 7: Microsoft Security Essentials support ends on January 14, 2020 appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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)

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Someone found a way to bypass Windows 7 Extended Security Updates checks appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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)

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post The Windows 7 Extended Security Update program is now available appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

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)

Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post End of Support notifications for Windows 7 Pro users appeared first on gHacks Technology News.