Windows 7 End of Life: Frequently Asked Questions

Microsoft support for the Windows 7 operating system ends in January 2023. Before this date the University is required to remove all Windows 7 computers from the network either by replacing them with Windows 10 computers, disposing of them if no longer required, or in exceptional circumstances removing them from the network to run in a standalone state. 

This article provides answers to some common questions around what this means for users of Windows 7 devices at the University.

What does Windows 7 going end of life mean?

Microsoft is no longer investing in the Windows 7 operating system. Security fixes will no longer be produced and over time features will drop out of support or not work. This will reduce functionality for computer users, and increase the risk of security and privacy being compromised.

Examples of features already, or scheduled to go, out of support include:

Third party software and hardware vendors will also cease to support software, provide updates, or patch vulnerabilities in their products further reducing functionality, and exposing devices to an increased risk from security threats. 

Similarly, many Windows 7 computers are now out of warranty, and as these devices age they will be increasingly likely to suffer some form of hardware failure. This can result in the loss of data and delays to scheduled work. Owners of Windows 7 computers are encouraged to plan for the replacement of the computers, and update associated and software and peripheral hardware to Windows 10 and 11 compatible versions.

Are extended support options available for Windows 7?

Not after January 2023. Microsoft stopped providing mainstream support for Windows 7 on 14th January 2020. Since then, the University has been purchasing Extended Security Updates (ESU) for networked Windows 7 computers, which needs to be purchased each year at increasing cost. Microsoft do not provide Windows security updates to devices that do not have the ESU package purchased and applied. This package will no longer be available after January 2023.

After January 2023 Windows 7 at the University should be considered unpatched and vulnerable to security threats, and for this reason they will not be permitted on the network.

What can I do to prepare?

If you use or are responsible for a Windows 7 computer there are a number of things that you can do to prepare for the move to Windows 10.

What about computers that need a 32-bit Operating System?

With Windows 11, Microsoft has dropped support for 32-bit operating systems, and as such it is important that anyone with a current dependence on a 32-bit Windows operating system plans for this. The IT Service hopes to begin moving to Window 11 during 2023, and so it is strongly advised that anyone with a current dependence on a 32-bit operating system begins to prepare as this may require the upgrade/replacement of software and hardware, including covering associated costs.

What will happen to Windows 7 devices currently in storage?

All Windows 7 computers will be deregistered from the core network by January 2023. This means that any Windows 7 computers currently in storage may become unusable over the coming months. If you have a Windows 7 device in storage it is crucial that you register it via the Windows 7 information form to ensure that it can be considered as part of the remediation project.

How will IT Service support for Windows 7 change?

From January 2023, the support service offered by IT to computers running Windows 7 or older will likely be on a reasonable endeavours basis. Windows 7 devices will be removed from the core network to remove the risk of security threats or incidents,  and as such many existing services will no longer be viable for those devices.

What about Windows 11?

As part of an upcoming programme of work to modernise our services, processes and standards around end user computing, IT will begin preparations for moving to Windows 11. This work is currently scheduled to commence in late 2022.

Is there someone in IT I can talk to about my Windows 7 computer?

Once the project is underway we will provide more information on who can be contacted to discuss requirements and planning.