Windows 7 Home users who protect their systems with the security software Microsoft Security Essentials will soon have to find a different product to protect their devices as Microsoft won't support the software anymore after support for the operating system ends.
Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, the January 2020 Patch Day. The company won't release updates anymore after that date for Home users. Organizations have options to extend support by up to three years by paying Microsoft per device (small businesses) or per user (Enterprises).
The company published a Extended Security Updates (ESU) FAQ on its support website that is aimed at organizations for the most part. Our colleagues over at Deskmodder dug deep into the FAQ and found out that Microsoft won't provide Microsoft Security Essentials updates anymore after support for Windows 7 is terminated.
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.
Windows XP users may remember that Microsoft extended security updates support when support ended for that operating system in 2014; the FAQ entry confirms that Microsoft won't give Windows 7 customers the same courtesy.
Organizations may continue to use System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) as it is covered by ESU and will even be updated regardless of ESU status. In other words: If SCEP is used, the system continues to be protected by it as definition and engine updates are provided. AV updates will be supplied until January 2023 for the SCEP Current Branch.
Windows 7 users who still use Microsoft Security Essentials on devices that run Windows 7 need to switch to a different antivirus solution after January 14, 2020 if they plan to keep running the operating system after end of support.
Most third-party antivirus solutions will continue to work, at least for a while. Windows 7's userbase is still large and many software companies will continue to support the operating system after support ends officially.
Many Windows 7 customers may upgrade their devices to Windows 10 for free (or switch to Linux, which is also free).
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