"Rome wasn't built in a day, but it burned in one." - classic Italian saying
It's the most wonderful time of the year! How so? If you're thinking hot cocoa and mittens and gifts galore you're way off! No, my friend, it's the most wonderful time of the year because it's time to buy Windows 7 ESU updates again. Did I just hear your groan? Okay, okay. Maybe the most wonderful time of the year was a little presumptuous but here's the good news: it's only up from here. If you're still on Windows 7, there's a bright new future ahead of you and a deadline to get there (I always do well with a deadline, don't you?). As this is the last year to purchase Win 7 ESU updates, you know a change is going to come and...hint: the new Windows is AWESOME. So, how do we kick off this Windows 7 finale? We will explain everything you need to know: what ESU 2022 is, why you need it, how to get it and how to install it (plus, a few ways to jump to Windows 11) in 3, 2, 1...
You can still enjoy the cocoa!
Extended Security Updates for Windows 7
Why Do I Need Windows 7 ESU in 2021?
How Long Does Windows 7 ESU Last?
Windows 7 ESU Year 2: What You Need to Know
Windows 7 ESU: Year 2 Options
How to Install and Activate Windows 7 Extended Security Updates
FAQ about Extended Security Updates for Windows 7
If you're reading this, you probably know that Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 back in January 2020. Thus, Extended Security Updates (ESU) was the answer to the question of "What do we do when mainstream support runs out?". ESU began January 14th, 2020, and will continue until the final year of extended updates stops at the end of 2022. OK, so ESU is the follow-up to mainstream support and it's continuing into 2022 but...why purchase these updates in the first place?
Here are a few reasons why you'll want to consider ESU if you're remaining on Windows 7:
Without the updates your business no longer receives security vulnerability updates, making you instantly at higher risk of being hacked.
Without updates, your business becomes instantly non-compliant, which, if compliance is part of your job or you are working in a regulated industry sector where you are expected to prevent avoidable cyber security incidents, you could be in a less than enviable situation.
Overall, without updates, your Windows 7 security and quality will suffer.
But...is security that big of a deal? YES. Use the calculator below to see how you stack up 👇
The short answer? 3 years. How does it work? Microsoft, take it away! "Organizations can purchase ESU at any time during the three years that the offer is available (2020, 2021, and 2022). If an organization waits and purchases ESU for the first time in year three, they'll also have to pay for the preceding years." This is because the security updates are cumulative. If you don't have Years 1 and 2 before you tack on Year 3 in 2022, your Year 3 simply won't work (see the next section for more details).
"Although organizations can purchase ESU at any time, they should be aware that without ESU, they won't have received bug fixes or security updates since January 14, 2020. Additionally, Microsoft Support no longer provides any form of support for these customers," says Microsoft. Basically, if you didn't get ESU in January, it's time to start 2022 off right with the updates.
Click below to head to the store for ANY year's update:
If you already bought ESU in January, you might be wondering if it automatically renews? The short answer? No. Microsoft explains that "Windows 7 ESU will be made available as a separate SKU for each of the years in which it's offered (2020, 2021, and 2022). To continue ESU coverage, customers will have to separately purchase the SKU and activate a new key for each year." The table below highlights coverage dates for ESU SKUs:
|Coverage Dates for ESU SKUs||Start Date||End Date|
|Windows 7 ESU Year 1||January 14, 2020||January 12, 2021|
|Windows 7 ESU Year 2||January 13, 2021||January 11, 2022|
|Windows 7 ESU Year 3||January 12, 2022||January 10, 2023|
Does this sound tricky (read: annoying)? We get it. Let us help make it a painless process. Start a chat or schedule a meeting with your Customer Success Manager (either Lauren or Domonic). Not sure which one? Start a chat in the lower right-hand corner of the screen:
Going into Year 3 of the Windows 7 ESU program there are a few things everyone should know. As a prerequisite, you must first have both Years 1 & 2 ESU updates installed on devices you are looking to install the Year 3 updates to. Like I mentioned earlier, Windows update packages are installed on devices in a particular order. So if the Years 1 & 2 update packages are not installed on the device prior to the install attempt of Year 3, the installation will likely fail, or worse lead to the good old BSOD (or commonly known in the IT world as the Blue Screen Of Death). 😱
Microsoft has not included the prior 2 years (2020 & 2021) of updates in the third and final year (2022). Many assumed that the increased pricing for each year meant the prior was included, but that isn't the case. Pricing is likely increased to offset the engineering work required to continue to support and secure an operating system that is more than 10 years old in order to meet the technical security demands of today.
It could also be said with the pricing model that Microsoft is likely incentivizing customers to make the move to upgrade to Windows 10/11 sooner rather than later. Microsoft has made huge commitments to making Windows 10/11 the most secure versions of Windows ever in existence while also being easy to use and interact with across Microsoft's entire ecosystem and they want to move customers in that direction.
NOTE: Windows 7 ESU is only for devices running Windows 7 Pro NOT Windows 7 Home. If you are on Windows 7 Home, your only option is to purchase Windows 11 Pro or purchase a new device. 👉 If you already have Windows 10 Home, you can upgrade to Windows 11 Pro here for $49.
Thankfully, after our Windows 7 End of Life blog post back in July 2019, Microsoft began offering options for what to do to either move from Windows 7 or maintain a secure Windows 7 until a move can be made to Windows 10. Here are all of the options you can explore if you're running Windows 7, plus a couple of options specifically for those who did not purchase during Year 1.
This is likely the most straightforward option, especially if you have aging hardware and you're aren't running legacy line-of-business apps that still require Windows 7.
If you go this path, you won't have to spend time upgrading your machine and will have a brand new PC or laptop. With the recent release of Windows 11, there are likely very few if any brand new devices with Windows 10 being manufactured and for sale in stores at this time. Also to note, make sure you are buying a computer with Windows 11 Pro, not Home or Education. The bottom line? This will cost you the price of a new PC.
This is a viable option if you expect you can get a few more years out of your hardware running Windows 7 Pro and assume that you are not running legacy line-of-business apps that still require Windows 7. Be ready to fork over about $200 per device 💵If you're going the upgrade route, this is your only option as the hardware you'rere likely running will not support a jump to Windows 11 due to the tight restrictions of needing to have more current hardware.
If you are on Office 365 or are thinking about moving from an Office 365 plan to a Microsoft 365 plan, then subscribing to Microsoft 365 Business Premium might be the answer. Microsoft 365 Business Premium offers great value and includes upgrade rights to Windows 10 Pro from Windows 7/8.1 Pro licenses. Two birds, one stone.
For more information on which plan is right for you, read our other blog posts: What is Microsoft 365? and Microsoft 365 vs Office 365.
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) was officially launched in the fall of 2019. In a nutshell, it is something you can call "Remote Desktop-as-a-Service" or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)-as-a-Service. AVD is a great option if you are running your business on an aging RDH or VDI farm and are thinking about transforming your business with a modern approach to thin-client enabling more security and simplified device management.
When you sign up for AVD, Windows 7 ESU is included at no extra cost. How much will AVD cost you will all depend on your situation. If you build it on your own, you will have to factor in the cost of your Azure resources and Microsoft 365 licenses along with the time and effort you put to set it up and to maintain it.
With that in mind and based on our experience with AVD, BEMO has pre-packaged 3 AVD multi-session offers. Here is a sneak preview of what it looks like:
|BEMO AVD Kiosk||BEMO AVD Business||BEMO AVD E5|
|pricing per seat/month||$89||$125||$159|
|for...||first-line & field workers
w/ web apps only
|Business < 300 employees
w/ web and desktop apps
|Enterprise-grade with the full Microsoft security stack|
|with||Microsoft 365 F3||Microsoft 365 Business Premium||Microsoft 365 E5|
Visit our site for more information or start a chat with our BEMO team in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
In 2021, Microsoft announced the release of an alternative cloud option to AVD, named Windows 365. Windows 365 is the world's first actual Cloud PC (as opposed to a VDI, like AVD). It is designed to securely stream your personalized Windows desktop, apps, settings, and content from the cloud that can be accessed from ANY device with an internet browser!
Why would I benefit from this you ask? Well, Windows 365 is for businesses of all sizes that need a secure work solution for their varied types of employees, without the need for managing a physical device. This will make IT teams very happy.
Windows 365 will come in two versions, Windows 365 Business, and Enterprise. Windows 365 Business is for smaller organizations, typically under 300 users, while Enterprise is for organizations with greater than 300 users or who want to manage their Cloud PC's with Microsoft Endpoint Manager (formerly Intune) while also taking advantage of integrations with other Microsoft services like Azure Active Directory and Defender for Business. One caveat to point out with the Enterprise version is that every user on this version must be licensed with the following: Windows 10 or 11 Enterprise, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Azure Active Directory P1 or P2. Most of if not all of these are included in these versions of Microsoft 365 or can be purchased separately:
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
Microsoft 365 F3
Microsoft 365 E3 or E5
Microsoft 365 A3 or A5 and Student Use Benefit (SUB) for education
Windows 7 ESU is available via a few specific Volume Licensing programs. That is an option that is catered to businesses with a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement and is not available to most SMBs.
This is the newest way to get Windows 7 ESU and addresses the needs of customers who do not qualify for the Volume Licensing deal or are not considering any of the aforementioned options.
The process is quite straightforward. All you need to do is purchase Windows 7 ESU directly from BEMO Online Store. It costs $280 for Year 3 and is licensed per device.
If you have not purchased Windows 7 ESU for Years 1 & 2 yet or if you find you're in need of updates for an additional device, you will need to purchase Years 1 & 2 prior to purchasing Year 3. This can also be done at the BEMO Online Store. Just like Year 3, Years 1 & 2 are licensed per device at a cost of $70 and $140 respectively.
Once your order has been received, we will deliver your product key and all you have left to do will be to install and activate the ESU on each of your devices as per these instructions summarized below.
Questions? Reach out to us using the chat in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
Here are the step-by-step instruction recently updated and based on an excerpt from a great blog published originally by Poornima Priyadarshini at Microsoft (steps to install, activate, and deploy ESUs are the same for each year of coverage ) on how to install and activate Windows 7 ESU purchased via the CSP Program. More comprehensive instructions which also cover Windows Server 2008 ESU are available here also.
As per this Microsoft publication, the following steps must be completed before installing and activating ESU keys for Windows 7.
Important note: You must restart your device after installing all the required updates and before installing any monthly roll-up, Security-only update, or Preview of Monthly Rollup
Important You must restart your device after you install these required updates.
Download and install the Extended Security Updates (ESU) Licensing Preparation Package. For more information, see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
4538483 Extended Security Updates (ESU) Licensing Preparation Package for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
Download the ESU MAK add-on key from the VLSC portal and deploy and activate the ESU MAK add-on key. If you use the Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) to deploy and activate keys, follow the instructions here.
Note After you successfully complete this procedure, you can continue to download the monthly updates via the usual channels of Windows Update, WSUS and Microsoft Update Catalog. You can continue to deploy the updates using your preferred update management solution.
Once you have addressed the prerequisites, you’re ready to install and activate Extended Security Updates for machines connected to the internet.
The steps to install, activate and deploy the ESUs are essentially the same for the first and second year besides that you will use the year 2 Activation key along with year 2 product key (MAK)
First, install the ESU product key using the Windows Software Licensing Management Tool.
Note: Installing the ESU product key will not replace the current OS activation method being used on the device. This is achieved by using the Activation ID to differentiate between the operating system’s activation and the ESU activation.
Next, find the ESU Activation ID:
Now, you’ll activate the ESU product key:
ESU SKU (or Activation) ID
Windows 7 SP1 (Client)
Once you have activated the ESU product key, you can verify the status at any time by following these steps:
Note: We recommend using a management tool, such as System Center Configuration Manager, to send the slmgr scripts to your enterprise devices.
Windows 7 SP1: Install the optional, non-security update outlined in KB4528069. Please note that the KB4528069 update has no actual security content. This update is a test package and we subsequently recommend that you deploy it in your test environment. Install this update on your on-premises devices that are eligible for ESU.
If you are interested in learning more about Extended Security Updates, please see the following resources:
7. More troubleshooting here with cross-reference to error codes and for VAMT
To activate ESU keys via phone, use the slmgr command options - /dti and /atp. To activate ESU keys via phone, follow these steps:
Well, there you have it! Everything you need to know about Windows 7 ESU from how to buy it to how to install it! I hope this has been helpful. Please let us know in the comments below.
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"Rome wasn't built in a day, but it burned in one." - classic Italian saying
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