Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) on devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on Friday.
Microsoft introduced Advanced Threat Protection in the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10 and made it a Windows 10 exclusive feature at the time.
The company revealed a few months later that it would bring Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection support to the older Windows versions Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
Plans to launch a preview in Spring 2018 and the final version in Summer 2018 were delayed. Microsoft did launch a preview of Advanced Thread Protection in 2018 but general availability was delayed.
Last week, Microsoft announced that the feature is now generally available for organizations that run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on devices.
Windows Defender ATP events show up in Windows Defender Security Center, the central administrative location to manage endpoints.
Windows Defender ATP for Windows 7, and Windows 8.1 provides deep visibility on activities that are happening on endpoints, including process, file, network, registry and memory activities, providing security teams with rich, correlated insights into activities and threats happening on older versions of Windows.
Advanced Threat Protection remains an Enterprise and Pro only feature. It can be used on devices running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Pro or Enterprise, and Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise.
It requires System Center Endpoint Protection and installation of the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA).
Administrators find additional setup information in the onboarding instructions.
Why is Microsoft bringing ATP to older versions of Windows?
Microsoft made some features Windows 10 exclusive when it launched the operating system in 2015. Features like Microsoft Edge, support for certain hardware, or security features were not ported to older supported versions of Windows.
In some cases, features were made available on non-Microsoft operating systems such as Android instead.
Microsoft notes that it brings ATP to older versions of Windows to “help customers stay secure while upgrading to Windows 10”.
Support for Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system ends in January 2020. Enterprise customers may extend the support period by up to three years. Payments double each year up to a maximum of $200 per device in the third year for Windows 7 Pro devices.
Enterprise customers may use Windows 7 until 2023. Support for Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system ends in January 2023. Microsoft has yet to announce whether Enterprise customers may extend the support period for that operating system as well; it seems likely that the option will be made available.
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