Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) program available

win7[German]Microsoft's Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) program is now available since December 2, 2019. Enterprise users can use this program to purchase extended security updates from the end of support (14.1.2020) until early 2023. Here is another short summary of what you should know.


What is the ESU program?

Support for Windows 7 SP1 will end on January 14, 2020 and the operating system will no longer receive security updates. The only exceptions are systems where support continues to be purchased through the Extended Security Update (ESU) program.

The program was already announced in 2018 – I had reported in several blog posts like Wow! Windows 7 get extended support until January 2023 about this support extension for companies (see also the links at the end of the article).

In the blog post Windows 7 Extended Security Updates buyable from April 2019, I also reported that certain corporate customers could book the ESU option for 2020 as of April 1, 2019. However, this offer is only limited to customers who have access to Microsoft's Volume Licensing Center. Typically, these offers are only available to large companies with a corresponding inventory of Windows systems. Volume licensing agreements with software assurance agreements are then concluded there. Not feasible for microenterprises. Microsoft even had some options in stock for major customers.

  • Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (available on Azure) will provide a Windows 7 installation with free enhanced security updates until January 2023.
  • Enterprises that have an Enterprise Agreement and Enterprise Agreement Subscription for Windows 10 Enterprise E5, Microsoft 365 E5, or Microsoft 365 E5 (completed by December 31, 2019) will receive Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for free for the first year (see Windows 7: Free Extended Update Support and usage).

Tero Alhonen has summarized on Twitter again the respective boundary conditions that apply to this free agreement.


However, Windows 10 Enterprise E5 and Microsoft 365 E5 are the top subscriptions of the operating system with the highest subscription costs – not every company will have booked these packages.

ESU available for small customers from December 2, 2019

In October 2019, Microsoft then took the next step and announced the Extended Security Update Program (ESU) for SMBs (small and medium-sized enterprises), which usually do not have a volume license and software maintenance agreement. In the blog post A new way for small and midsize businesses to stay secure and current, Microsoft extends the availability of Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) to companies of all sizes until January 2023.

I had discussed this extension of the ESU program in the blog post Microsoft offers Windows 7 Extended Update Support to SMBs. The whole should start on December 1, 2019. In the meantime, Microsoft has noticed that this is a Sunday and states in its revised web pages that December 2, 2019 is the date from which the ESU program for individual machines (from one computer) can be ordered from Microsoft Partners from the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

For ESU for Windows Server, there is this Microsoft FAQ page that specifies the requirements and constraints. It also includes 'On-Premises: Customers with active Software Assurance or subscription licenses can purchase advanced security updates at a price of approximately 75% of the total annual local license cost. See the published price lists for prices. For more details, contact your Microsoft partner or customer support team.'.

A comprehensive FAQ on Extended Security Updates can be found on this website.

How much cost it?

There is the question: What does the support extension for a Windows 7 Professional will cost me? In February 2019, Mary Foley published an article about prices for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates. According to Foley, Microsoft informed its partners about the prices for Extended Security Updates (ESUs) until January 2023.

(Source: ZDnet)

I had mentioned some details in my blog post Prices for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates till 2023. But I assumed that these prices were negotiable for larger quantities. It would be nice if you had something official from Microsoft …

Yesterday I published the article Windows 7 Extended Security Update-Programm startet at German news site heise. In preparing the article, the editors from heise and me asked Microsoft about prices for ESU packages that can be booked by SMEs. Alone, we failed. Microsoft referred to its partner. I had contacted several Microsoft partners and asked for prices. One partner contacted me immediately, but couldn't give me any prices because they weren't available In the mean time I saw an unofficial price. All in all a weak performance of what Microsoft provided.

Other sources told me, that Partners and Customers are bound be none disclosure agreements (NDAs), so prices would therefore probably not be public. It has to be negotiated individually – which of course is bullshit for someone who just wants to buy one ESU license for the year 2020. Well, another contact that wanted to remain anonymous told me the prices would already come very close to the figures mentioned 'in the Internet, in my articles" (see Prices for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates till 2023). And from what I saw, that's true. If II 'm able to gain official prices, I will add them.

Technical questions on the ESU program

The ESU program is available for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise. Not really clear is, whether Windows 10 Ultimate will be eligible for ESU. Microsoft's FAQs always mentions Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise. Only in the header of the article a 'Windows 7 Ultimate ESU' is listed.

Addendum: Microsoft has editied also the article, how to buy an ESU product key, on Nov. 26, 2019. Windows 7 Ultimate rausgestrichen isn't mentioned. At is also this disussion about this topics. Microsoft poof again, tha the left hand didn't know, what the right hand decided – what a confusion.

For the server variants this page (and here) shows Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 as eligible for the ESU program. But all in all this is anything but transparent, you have to dig your way through dozens of support articles until you have collected the information – and since October 2019 Microsoft has completely revised its articles at least once.

Other technical requirements that have to be met (required updates have to be installed and an ESU product key is required to activate extended support), are discussed in the blog post Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) requirements. The article also mentions a test update that allows administrators to check if Windows 7 SP 1 is ready to receive Extended Security Updates.

A German blog reader has left this comment on the subscription ESU keys. Blog reader Ismail has linked a script/tool in this comment that can at least bypass the checks that prevent the installation of the ESU test update. Whether this will still work in February 2019 remains to be checked at that time.

Similar articles
Wow! Windows 7 get extended support until January 2023
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates buyable from April 2019
Microsoft offers Windows 7 Extended Update Support to SMBs
Prices for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates till 2023
Windows 7: Free Extended Update Support and usage
Windows 7: Office 365 ProPlus Updates till 2023
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) requirements

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3 Responses to Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) program available

  1. EP says:

    and check out this recent blog from – hacks or "cracks" to allow ESUs on all Win7 machines (but I wouldn't trust them though):

    also saw this recently on about MSE support on Win7 ending on Jan. 14, 2020:
    (what do you make of this one, guenni?)

    • guenni says:

      I know about this solution since a month, but I haven't covered it – maybe I will discuss it after Januar 2020, when we can test something.

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