Windows 7/Server 2008/R2 ESU support for the third year (2022)

win7[German]If you want to continue to have security updates for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in 2022, you need the ESU package for the third year. Microsoft is now releasing the relevant keys for ESU 2022. A distributor, who already provided these ESU keys for the first and second year, provided me with the relevant information at the end of the week.


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This is what ESU is all about

On 1/14/2020 Windows 7 SP1 reached the long announced end of support – and there are 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 expired in January 2021, and the second ESU year ends in January 2022. ESU customers who still need security updates for Windows 7 SP1 in 2023 will need to purchase an ESU extension for 2022.

ESU renewal for 2022

Microsoft indicated in the November 5, 2021 Techcommunity post Update: Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 that third-year ESU license renewals are coming up 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

and must be completed by February 8, 2022. Those still running devices with the above operating systems can book the ESU extension for the period until January 10, 2023, and thus receive further security updates.  Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, on the other hand, will receive ESU support until January 9, 2024 (see Windows Server 2008 R2 gets another year ESU support until January 9, 2024).

Because ESUs for each of the years (2020, 2021, and 2022) in which the program is offered are available as separate SKUs – and can only be purchased in specific 12-month periods – you must purchase the third year of ESU coverage separately. This requires activating a new key on each corresponding device to ensure your devices continue to receive security updates in 2022. The steps to install and activate the MAK keys are the same as for the first year (see also the following links).

Price and source of supply for Europe

Microsoft does not mention a source of supply in the Techcommunity article. Finding this source of supply was the biggest hurdle in late 2019, early 2020. Microsoft itself only offers such a thing to volume license customers. For single licenses and micro businesses, the ESU keys for Windows 7 SP1 can only be obtained through channel partners. I had in the blog post Windows 7: Buy and manage ESU licenses – Part 1 found a source that offered the ESU key. 


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ESU 2022

Software Express now also offers ESU 2022 Keys, presumably at a price of 289,00 Euro net or 343,91 Euro gross (for Germany), whereby this product can only be ordered at the end of the year and will be delivered in January (see screenshot above). It was known that the price for an ESU license is doubled in the second and third year compared to the previous year. The offer might be valid also for customers outside of Germany.

Important: If a company has not purchased the first and second year of ESU coverage, this means that both the ESU for the first and the ESU for the second year must be purchased for the corresponding Windows 7 or Windows Server devices. Only then can the MAK keys for the third year be installed and activated so that the systems continue to receive security updates. The price for the license (ESU 2020+2021+2022) offered by Software Express has not yet been determined.

ACROS Security 0patch as an alternative

The alternative, especially for people who could not get an ESU license for Windows Server 2008/R2, are the micropatches from 0patch. ACROS Security provides the 0patch Pro license for 23,00 Euro (net) per client and year. For this you get micropatches for the most important vulnerabilities. I had described the approach in the blog post Windows 7: Securing with the 0patch solution – Part 2 and in the past years there were micropatches for vulnerabilities. For private users there is even a free variant of the 0patch approach. I had described the different 0patch models in the blog post Project: Windows 7/Server 2008/R2 Life Extension & 0patch one month trial.

Furthermore resourceful hobbyists have developed a solution called ByPassESU to install security updates for Windows 7 without an ESU license. Some hints can be found in the post Windows 7 Sept. 2020 Updates: BypassESU v8 required. But I don't see this approach as a solution I would use in corporate environments. And whether the approach will work or can be adapted in 2021 is still an open question.

I've written together everything you need to know in the blog post Windows 7 SP1: ESU Support for 2021 – Part 1.

Similar article:
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
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Windows 7: Buy and manage ESU licenses – Part 1
Windows 7: Preparing for ESU and license activation – Part 2
Windows 7: ESU Activation in Enterprise Environment – Part 3
Windows 7: ESU questions and more answers – Part 4

Windows 7: Forcing February 2020 Security Updates – Part 1
Windows 7: Securing with the 0patch solution – Part 2

Windows 7/Server 2008/R2: 0patch delivers security patches after support ends
Fix: Windows 7 ESU system does not find updates
Windows Server 2008 R2 gets another year ESU support until January 9, 2024


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