[German]Still 6 months before the end of Extended Support for Windows 7, the corporate environment is struggling hard. Around 20% of the companies have not yet started migrating and a considerable proportion of systems continue to run Windows 7. Microsoft is also gradually shutting down services in the Windows 7 environment. As of January 22, 2020, Internet games will no longer work under Windows 7.
After January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates (at least for normal users and companies without Extended Security Update Support) and will no longer be supported. Here is another look at certain aspects of this topic.
Services are switched off
A few days ago I had already reported that Microsoft had shut down the Fai Music Meta Service. I had reported about that within the blog post fai.music.metaservices.microsoft.com service down forever. The service is required by Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center to search for albums.
Also on a second front Windows 7 users will have to adjust to a switched off service. I hadn't discussed it before, but my colleagues at deskmodder.de pointed it out a few days ago. Microsoft Answers pointed out that the plug will soon be pulled on servers for Internet games.
Hello, Microsoft Internet Games players, it is with heavy hearts that we have made the difficult decision that the following games will no longer be supported.
- Internet Backgammon (XP/ME, 7)
- Internet Checkers (XP/ME, 7)
- Internet Spades (XP/ME, 7)
- Internet Hearts (XP/ME)
- Internet Reversi (XP/ME)
- MSN Go (7)
Microsoft Internet Games services on Windows XP and ME will end on July 31, 2019.
Microsoft Internet Games services on Windows 7 will end on January 22, 2020.
While Windows XP ends at the end of the month, the game servers for the above Internet games will run until January 22, 2020. Then the light will also end. Well, home users will be affected now, but what about the enterprise environment?
Companies are struggling replacing Windows 7
I had addressed it already a week ago within the blog post Windows 7: Support ends in 6 months. Windows 7 still runs on 35.38% of Windows-based desktop systems (as of early July 2019). Could all be home users. But I got a few new numbers into my fingers since then, showing that companies are struggling replacing Windows 7.
- I came across a hint from MSPU that 20% of large companies had not yet started migrating from Windows 7 to a successor. The source is a Kollektiv survey of more than 200 IT decision-makers/employees in the USA and Great Britain. However, a year ago the figure was still 43%. However, it could become narrow, since the migration of a large number of systems needs time.
- ZDNet reports here about a report from authentication company Duo, which belongs to Cisco. According to the report, Windows 10 now runs on 66% of the PCs with which Duo's software interacts. But 29 percent of the systems are still running Windows 7. In some areas, such as healthcare, things look worse. The remaining time for an upgrade of the IT systems in a strongly frequented hospital might become scarce. Some medical devices simply cannot be upgraded. In the UK healthcare sector, there is still a worrying number (2,300 out of 1.4 million PCs) of Windows XP systems in use.
How many of the companies opt for 'Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU)' to extend the migration period to 2023 (see my blog post Wow! Windows 7 get extended support until January 2023) is unknown. On the other hand, I don't see a big switch towards Linux – at least the numbers don't indicate that.
Windows 10 sounds like a threat
All in all, Windows 7 doesn't seem to die in the corporate environment, and no one switches to Windows 10 with flying flags. The promise of 'Windows as a service' is perceived by companies more as a threat and 'promise of a great deal of trouble' than as a great innovation. Ed Bott took up the problem a few days ago at ZDNet.com in this article. The message: Microsoft still doesn't have its Windows 10 update disaster under control – no matter what fans and companies are playing. Here are some of Bott's key points:
- In the last four years, the times to defer a feature update have changed from eight months to 180 days and then to 365 days.
- There were two branches for the rollout (Current Branch, Current Branch for Business) that were renamed several times. Meanwhile, the Semi Annual Cannel Targeted (SAC-T) has been buried again.
- In the meantime, Microsoft has set an 18-month support period for all new Windows 10 versions – with 30 months support for autumn versions for business environments with Windows 10 Enterprise.
This is (to my taste) an absolute chaos that Microsoft has left behind after four years. After all: Starting with Windows 10 V1903 all users get the possibility to delay feature updates until shortly before the end of the support period of 18 months (see Windows 10 May 2019 Update brings back Update control). The 30-month support period for Windows 10 Enterprise can only be used in large companies that use central update management tools such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or the System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).
Side note: How long solutions like WSUS and SCCM will be actively supported by Microsoft, you will have to wait and see. And how future autumn updates will be rolled out (as feature updates or cumulative updates) is currently the subject of further Microsoft experiments.
For all users outside managed update environments, including the enormous number of PCs in small businesses, the only way to prevent unexpected feature updates is to actively manage the update control process. This is in contrast to Microsoft's promise that Windows 10 will make everything simpler and, above all, less time-consuming and less expensive to maintain. Those who depend on Windows 10 Pro will also notice that this version has been quite 'restricted' compared to Windows 10 Enterprise and has been adapted to Windows 10 Home.
In other words: Microsoft has pretty much driven the cart up against the wall – and what's going on with Windows 10 V1903 in terms of bugs and upgrade stoppers doesn't show that something serious is changing.
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