Windows Defender ATP support in Windows 7 and 8.1
Rob Lefferts, Microsoft Partner Director, Windows & Devices Group, Security & Enterprise, announced yesterday on the official Windows Business blog that Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) will come to Windows 7 and 8.1 this summer.
Before Windows 7 and 8.1 (home) customers get their hopes up: support appears to be limited to Enterprise customers who can add Windows Defender ATP Detection & Response functionality to devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Windows Defender ATP is a cloud-based security solution for Windows that protects devices running Windows 10 from a variety of threats and includes a central management console. It includes security features such as Windows Defender Exploit Guard, Windows Defender Application Guard, or Windows Defender Application Control, some of which are also part of home editions of Windows 10.
Microsoft added support for Windows Defender ATP to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
It was not clear back then whether Microsoft would ignore its Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems by not integrating the functionality in those systems, or if the company would release some of the security features such as Exploit Guard or management options for Enterprise customers to these older but still supported versions of Windows as well.
Microsoft will release down-level support for Enterprise customers so that all company devices may be monitored using Windows Defender ATP. Enterprise customers will see all events in the cloud-based Windows Defender Security Center console for Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.
Microsoft plans to release a preview this Spring and the final version this Summer. Microsoft revealed in the announcement that admins can run the new solution alongside existing antivirus solutions but that it is "better with Windows Defender Antivirus" because it allows security teams to view all malware detections and responses in a single console.
Microsoft's main incentive to provide Enterprise customers with down-level support for Windows Defender ATP is simple: many Enterprise customers have not switched to Windows 10 completely (or at all) yet.
What about Windows 7 and 8.1 home users? Lefferts did not mention if features such as Exploit Guard would come to home systems eventually as well.Â While there are plenty of third-party security solutions available for those systems, Microsoft made it clear that it won't support many of its existing security solutions such as EMET for much longer.
Support for Windows 7 ends in January 2020 and support for Windows 8.1 ends three years later in January 2023.
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