No, Microsoft Is Not Charging You to Use Windows 7
In a blog post last week, Microsoft announced an interesting new feature for Windows 7 business users. With Windows 7 reaching end-of-life on January 14, 2020, many companies have already migrated to Windows 10, but it’s likely that not everyone is going to meet the 2020 deadline. With this in mind, Microsoft is going to provide a new paid service called “Windows 7 Extended Security Updates” to help ease the last few business customers onto Windows 10.
Only For Businesses, Not Home Users
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available exclusively for Volume Licensing customers, which means only the Professional and Enterprise flavors of Windows 7 will be supported. However, that didn’t stop Gordon Kelly from Forbes from writing a confusing article about the new feature. Instead, in his post titled “Microsoft ‘Confirms’ Windows 7 New Monthly Charge”, Kelly insinuates that Microsoft is about to start charging individual Windows 7 users a monthly fee as a penalty for not upgrading to Windows 10.
That isn’t the case at all. In fact, home users will not be able to pay for Extended Security Updates even if they want to since the feature is only available for Volume Licensing customers. In reality, this feature is specifically targeted at enterprises with specialized requirements that need assistance or just a bit more time to migrate their critical systems off of Windows 7. Extended Security Updates does not impose any additional penalties over the already well-established end-of-life date for the aging OS.
A Smoother Transition
The enterprise world works very differently than the usual home/small office Windows environment. There are a lot of factors that hold back major OS upgrades, and, as we saw with Windows XP, these delays can cause major businesses to run past the end-of-life date of software and become vulnerable to newly discovered security flaws. When Windows XP left extended support, Microsoft was forced to continue supporting select customers (for a fee) who were unable or unwilling to migrate to Windows 7 in time.
At any rate, Microsoft will only provide the Windows 7 Extended Security Updates option until January 2023, so Windows 7 is certainly not going to be around forever.
Oh, and Microsoft is not planning to force Windows 10 home users to pay a monthly fee either, no matter what clickbait nonsense Kelly writes.