Starting last spring, Microsoft announced that they’d be making Extended Security Updates (ESU) available for many of the products due to reach end-of-support in January 2020, including the ubiquitous Windows 7 desktop operating system.
As described on Microsoft’s FAQ page, the ESU program “is a last resort option for customers who need to run certain legacy Microsoft products past the end of support. It includes Critical and/or Important security updates for a maximum of three years after the product’s End of Extended Support date.” Most importantly, they also state “Extended Security Updates will be distributed if and when available.“
And here’s the rub – The same FAQ states that “Extended Security Updates are available through specific volume licensing programs. Contact your Microsoft partner or account team to learn more”. However, Microsoft has communicated exactly zero information to partners about this program, and Suite3’s inquiries to the Microsoft licensing desk as well as our Microsoft partner support representatives has found that no one internally at Microsoft seems to have information either.
However, our experience has shown that Microsoft tends to release a new Volume Licensing price list in October to be effective November 1 which often features newly available skus (and a price increase or two thrown in for good measure). Suite3 is monitoring (some may say stalking) the licensing desk for updated information which we’ll make available as soon as it’s known.
UPDATE (10/14/19): We’ve learned that the subscriptions should be made available via the Cloud Solutions Provider program (of which Suite3 is a member), not through volume licensing as Microsoft had originally communicated. However, the subscriptions won’t be available until after 12/1/19. Therefore, we’ll continue to monitor for availability.
However, until the upgrades are confirmed to be available, we’re advising all to avoid relying on “vaporware” as your Windows7 support plan – if these ESUs are not made available for purchase, Suite3 continues to recommend the upgrade or replacement of older Windows7 machines to run the fully supported Windows10 operating system by mid-January.