Windows 7's Extended Security Support Is Over (Updated)

Windows 7 out of support warning on a laptop.
(Image credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Update, January 11: It has come to our attention that despite reports, Windows 7 does not support Secure Boot. Microsoft confirmed the screenshot going around, which shows a VMWare machine with Secure Boot options on a Windows 7 host is not indicative of Windows 7 getting the feature. Secure Boot was added in Windows 8.
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Pour one out for Windows 7, the 13-year-old operating system that is no longer receiving any security updates. It briefly appeared, however, that Microsoft has left one big goodbye present for security-conscious users.

Windows 7 technically reached the end of the line on January 14, 2020, but those in enterprise and education could get Extended Security Updates through today. It really seems like this is the time for most people to upgrade — but for those who don't, Neowin reports that Microsoft has added UEFI and Secure Boot to the antique OS. This was later disproved to be confusion due to virtual machine settings.

Secure Boot (opens in new tab) uses PC firmware to check that all software and firmware drivers used at boot are properly signed by  the OEM and manufacturer. It's pretty late for a feature like this to show up in the OS, but it could be a decent last gasp for organizations that refuse to update to Windows 10 or 11.

Neowin saw the talk of Secure Boot on the Chinese-language CSDN forums. Some people have had some issues enabling UEFI and Secure Boot, and it seems they got stuck at the startup logo due to certain display drivers that need updating. 

Windows 11 requires a PC be Secure Boot enabled if you're upgrading from Windows 10, and most OEM PCs come with it set up.

For those of you stubbornly holding onto Windows 7, it will continue to work — but you will no longer get any patches for new or existing vulnerabilities. Windows 8.1, which no one will really miss, also hits the end of support today (opens in new tab) (and, unlike Windows 7, will not be getting an Extended Security Update program).

It's unclear how many of Windows' 1.5 billion users are currently on Windows 7 or 8.1. But if you happen to be on one, it's probably time to update to Windows 10 or 11, for safety's sake.

This story was originally published on January 11, and updated on January 10 with additional information.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • Shawn Eary
    Please tell me this isn't actually happening. I can't afford to upgrade my home computer to Windows 11 because of a trivial TPM requirement. Contrary to popular belief, I'm pretty sure TPMs do very little to actually increase system security. I really don't think secure boot is all of what it's hyped up to be and it's a major hassle to deal with.
    Reply
  • TechieTwo
    "Secure boot" of any Windows OS would be an oxymoron. :)
    Reply
  • RichardtST
    " it's probably time to update to Windows 10 or 11, for safety's sake." - Except that this simply is not true. As we all know, software complexity and vulnerabilities continue to grow unabated. You are far safer using an antique (or off the beaten path) OS that the attackers won't even think to bother with, than you are using the latest and greatest Windows or Linux. And it's only a matter of time until we all get to see the fallacy of having perfectly identical versions on everything. It means, of course, that I only have to write ONE virus to pwn the whole lot. If you want to be safe... be different!
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Shawn Eary said:
    Please tell me this isn't actually happening. I can't afford to upgrade my home computer to Windows 11 because of a trivial TPM requirement. Contrary to popular belief, I'm pretty sure TPMs do very little to actually increase system security. I really don't think secure boot is all of what it's hyped up to be and it's a major hassle to deal with.
    Why not Win 10?

    The end date of 7 has been known for loooong time.
    Reply
  • TechieTwo
    Just say: "NO" to Windows updates.
    Reply
  • ezst036
    Shawn Eary said:
    Please tell me this isn't actually happening. I can't afford to upgrade my home computer to Windows 11 because of a trivial TPM requirement. Contrary to popular belief, I'm pretty sure TPMs do very little to actually increase system security. I really don't think secure boot is all of what it's hyped up to be and it's a major hassle to deal with.

    Not enough people are willing to ditch Windows and install Linux after such pushy measures as this, so, unfortunately, it probably is real. Microsoft knows it won't face any recourse. So why wouldn't they?

    FWIW, I'd be happy to work with you or anybody else to do a Linux upgrade. But I also say that knowing I won't get many takers. It irks me to say it, but Microsoft is actually correct. They can bully their customers around and the customers just keep taking it and taking it without any end. I don't get it. But I do acknowledge reality.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    ezst036 said:
    Not enough people are willing to ditch Windows and install Linux after such pushy measures as this, so, unfortunately, it probably is real. Microsoft knows it won't face any recourse. So why wouldn't they?

    FWIW, I'd be happy to work with you or anybody else to do a Linux upgrade. But I also say that knowing I won't get many takers. It irks me to say it, but Microsoft is actually correct. They can bully their customers around and the customers just keep taking it and taking it without any end. I don't get it. But I do acknowledge reality.
    Pushy?
    Win 7 is currently 13+ years old. (Oct 2009)
    The end date of support has been known for ages.
    I don't think 13 years is unreasonable.

    And if it will run Win 7, it will run Win 10. Which is fully supported until at least Oct 2025.
    And an Upgrade to Win 10 is $0.
    Reply
  • ezst036
    USAFRet said:
    Pushy?
    Yep. The article doesn't mention a TPM, but I bet Shawn is right and I think pushy isn't even a strong enough word if there's a TPM requirement. You seem to forget that the old Windows 11 propaganda used to be that if you didn't want to upgrade to Win11 with its TPM requirement, you could keep using your Win7 or Win10. For end users such as Shawn Eary it's downright abusive that its now coming to this. It's not just pushy, it's abusive.

    USAFRet said:
    Win 7 is currently 13+ years old. (Oct 2009)
    That doesn't matter that it's 13 years old, not when users have a perfectly working copy that now may get artificially broken by the parent company who did this intentionally, and arguably maliciously.
    Reply
  • blppt
    Isn't there a way to bypass the TPM requirement anyways?
    Reply
  • Exploding PSU
    Allow me to pour one out, the last one, for the king. RIP Windows 7
    Reply