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July 6, 2020

Important News for Win7 Extended Security Update Subscribers

Interesting and mildly vexing news has emerged on the Windows 7 support front. Indeed, that venerable old OS hit end-of-life (EOL) on January 14, 2020. But organizations that want to pay for continued support and updates can do so. And indeed many have done so, including the German Government which coughed up nearly  US$900K to keep the aging OS protected for another year (Thurrott.com). But there’s something important missing in all this, payment notwithstanding, that MS has not promoted at all well. As the ever-indignant and irascible Woody Leohnard reports in his February 12 Woody on Windows column for ComputerWorld, Windows 7 users on extended support MUST apply the patch included in KB4538483 before such updates will be delivered to their PCs.

Wait! It gets weirder…

The biggest gotcha about this requirement is that MS didn’t tell anybody about this beforehand. Instead, as Mr. Leonhard reports in his afore-cited column, the company simply updated its ESU Procedure Page to inform its extended support customers that they must “Download and install the Extended Security Updates (ESU) Licensing Preparation Package” to make the updates they’ve already forked over big money to receive available. His analysis is hilarious, so I’ll reproduce it verbatim here:

The upshot: If you (or your company) paid for extended updates, unless you know by osmosis that you have to install this additional package, and then you download and install KB 4538483 manually, you won’t see any February patches

He goes onto observe that this applies to MS Office patches as well, which means that installing KB 4538483 is likewise required to see those updates, too. Seems like MS could have done a better job of keeping its paying customers in the loop. I’m hoping MS will at least post a blog or something to bring them up to speed. An explanation and an apology might not be too much to ask, either. We’ll see how this plays out, now that alert Windows watchers like Woody and “Patch Lady” Susan Bradley have figured out what’s going on, and let the world know. Stay tuned!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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