Windows 7 SP1: ESU Support for 2021 – Part 1

[German]Small reminder for people still running systems with Windows 7 SP1. In January 2021 the support extension for the second year ends. So a little reminder today to renew the ESU license – and I've found a source that offers ESU license keys for 2021.


Das Extended Security Update Program (ESU)

On Jan. 14, 2020, after all, Windows 7 SP1 reached its long-announced end of support – and there will be no more security updates by default. However, corporate customers have the option to purchase an ESU license for Windows 7 SP1 to continue receiving security updates between January 2020 and January 2023 at the latest. Microsoft has announced Extended Security Updates support (ESU) as a separate program for corporate customers for this purpose (see Wow! Windows 7 get extended support until January 2023). The first year of ESU support expires in January 2021, and customers who need security updates in 2021 will need to purchase an ESU extension for 2021.

Where can I get an ESU license for 2021?

Microsoft indicated on November 10, 2020, in the Techcommunity post Security Updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 , that ESU licenses for year two are up for renewal for the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 SP2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 for Embedded Systems and Windows Server 2008 SP2 for Embedded Systems

Those who still operate devices with the above operating systems can book the ESU extension for the period January 12, 2021 to January 11, 2022 and thus receive further security updates. Microsoft itself only offers the ESU licenses to volume license customers. For individual licenses and micro companies, the ESU keys for Windows 7 SP1 must be obtained only through sales partners.

Microsoft does not name a source in the Techcommunity article and in 2019 I faced some hurdles to get a price  and track down a supplier for ESU licenses. It was also known since 20219 that the price for an ESU license in the second and third year is virtually doubled each year compared to the previous year.

German vendor Software Express has ESU licenses

The German vender Software Express, which I had already found in 2019 as (as far as the only source that serves also English/European market), will also offer the ESU keys for Windows 7 SP1 for 2021 – I had already asked there in November 2020 (see the post Windows 7/Server 2008/R2 ESU support for the second year). Software Express now also offers ESU 2021 Keys at the prices mentioned on the linked website. Although the web site is in German (see screenshot below), it might be able, to order ESU licenses from outside German language countries (Austria, Germany, Swiss).


ESU 2021

The text in the above screenshot says: Until December 31, 2020, the vendort grants an early buyer discount, so that the price of 159.00 Euros net mentioned in the screenshot above applies. From January 1, 2021, the price increases to 179 Euros net, whereby the VAT applicable in the respective countries is added.

The price stated on the websites is decisive and can change from time to time. Was 2019 so and is also 2020 so (if I have understood it correctly, this is because Microsoft only shortly before the release of the ESU licenses announces the final prices).

For US customers, have a look at this post at – they managed also to offer a vendor, that sells ESU keys.

If the ESU key for 2020 is missing

For the ESU license in 2021 an existing ESU license fpr the year 2020 is required. If a company skipped the first year of ESU coverage and did not purchase the key, the ESU for the first year as well as the ESU for the second year must be purchased for the corresponding Windows 7 SP1 clients. Only then the MAK keys for the second year can be installed and activated so that the systems continue to receive security updates. This license (ESU 2020+2021) is also offered by Software Express at a price of currently 219.00 Euro net.

What about Windows Server 2008/R2?

Note that the ESU key for Windows Server 2008/R2 cannot be obtained via Software Express. Microsoft allows the purchase only via the volume licensing program (Software Assurance Program). Here I would suggest the 0patch solution for people who still need to run a Windows Server 2008 R2 but don't have access to a volume licensing program (see links at the end of the article).

I'll go into the alternatives (BypassESU) for home users and the ACROS Security 0patch solution in Part II of this article series. And in 2021, I still plan to address the Windows 7 SP1 updates that Microsoft releases here on the blog.

Article series:
Windows 7 SP1: ESU Support for 2021 – Part 1
Windows 7 SP1/Server 2008/R2: Extended Support 2021 – Part 2

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5 Responses to Windows 7 SP1: ESU Support for 2021 – Part 1

  1. Shawn says:

    Since Year 1 ESU expires on January 12th 2021, does that mean that you require the Year 2 ESU for the January 2021 update? Microsoft isn't clear since it expires the same day the updates are released.

    • guenni says:

      We have to wait and see. In my understanding, ESU for Year 1 shall be sufficient to install the January 2021 updates. The February 2021 updates requires ESU for year 1+2.

      • Rick says:

        I have ESU for Year 1, but not Year 2, on one of my less-frequently-used Win 7 Pro machines, and I can confirm that it allowed me to install the January, 2021 updates today (2021-01-21). I was frankly surprised by that, especially after there was quite a long period during which the MSRT (which I decided to "test" first) looked like it wasn't actually going to begin downloading. But it eventually did, and then the Security and dot-NET updates proceeded smoothly. I wasn't expecting to get 13 (and counting??) sets of updates after paying for what I *thought* would be 12.

        • guenni says:

          I've tested it also with ESU. Since ESU started effectively on Feb. 2020, we received 12 monthly security updates.

          • Rick says:

            Ahh, yes, I had forgotten that the January 2020 updates were provided before Win 7 officially became EOL. So I supposed that means the 2021 Win 7 ESU (which I bought for 2 machines) will actually include January 2022?

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