Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for Windows 7 receive definition updates after January 14, 2020

[German]Microsoft made an U turn. If you run Windows 7 SP1 after January 14, 2020 and use the Microsoft Security Essentials as antivirus software, you will still receive signature updates (against the previous announcement).


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Once again the old joke applies: If you can rely on something at Microsoft that you can’t rely on Microsoft

Old stuff: Is Microsoft Security Essentials reaching EOL?

A few days ago I had announced the end of life for Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) in the blog post Windows 7: Soon End-of-Life for Microsoft Security Essentials for January 14, 2019. Of course I referred at that time to what Microsoft has documented on its Web site.

The fact was then: On January 14, 2020, the ten-year extended support for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will end. The end-of-life date (EOL) has been fixed since the release of Windows 7. Microsoft offers companies the fee-based Extended Security Update Program (ESU), which can be used to obtain security updates until January 2023. Here in the blog there are some articles about the ESU program from Microsoft.

On this occasion, Microsoft has set up a FAQ about the end of support for Windows 7 SP1 and the Extended Security Update Program (ESU). This FAQ says at that time:

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.

Clear statement, from January 14, 2020 there will be no more support for the Microsoft Security Essentials. No matter whether someone has booked the Extended Security Update Program (ESU) for Windows 7 SP1 or not.


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Then I got comments from some readers (especially about my German article at heise), because the ESU customers look like left in  the rain. They indicating, the signature updates for Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), the Windows Defender from Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 and for Microsoft System Center EndPoint Protection (SCEP) are actually the same. And Microsoft System Center EndPoint Protection (SCEP) is still available for corporate customers under Windows 7 SP1 with ESU.

U turn: MSE will continue to receive signature updates

I don’t want to presume that my articles have bring back the ball in the game at Microsoft (even though my English article on MSE was referenced on US sites). But Woody Leonhard had written on askwoody.com ‘wait, I will believe what Microsoft announces when the date arrive and I can check it for proof’. This means that Leonhard was skeptical that Microsoft would cut the MSE after 01/14/2020.

Now Martin Geuß from German Dr. Windows and also Woody Leonhard at askwoody.com noticed a change. Woody Leonhard and others asked in a yesterday AMA what’s with MSE after January 14, 2020?  Now Microsoft updated its FAQ about Windows 7 SP1 Extended Security Update-Program (ESU) and say:

Will Microsoft Security Essentials continue to protect my PC after end of support?

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

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will not receive updates providing new Features beyond January 14, 2020. But at least the signature updates for the virus definitions will be updated beyond that date. But this MSE page says End of Support on January 14, 2020.

A few remarks on my part: Microsoft has an incredible talent, to shot into the 2nd foot, after they shot the first foot. So Windows 7 SP1 gets the Extended Security Updates (ESU), which are subject to a fee. The Microsoft Security Essentials continue to receive definition updates. And if a vulnerability is now found in the MSE scan engine, should there be no more updates? Especially since this scan engine is also used in Windows Defender and Forefont Protection. I don’t think so – in other words: I assume that Microsoft will do something about it if the worst case of a huge vulnerability occurs on the scan engine. Woody Leonhard has more about this obfucasion on ComputerWorld. An ongoing discussion may be found here.

And this means that small companies with ESU can continue to provide their Windows 7 systems with MSE virus protection free of charge. The only condition is that no more than 10 PCs are used.

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4 Responses to Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for Windows 7 receive definition updates after January 14, 2020

  1. Julia says:

    ignore my prior post.
    Things got now updated.

  2. EP says:

    guenni:

    Microsoft has recently updated MS support article 4527878 to reflect the following about Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 7:

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

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

    in other words, MSE definition updates will continue on but MSE “program” updates to the AV app will not.

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  4. Jack Nicholson says:

    The MSE platform hasn’t actually been updated since 2016. Download “current” installer 4.10.209.0 and look at the digital signature.

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