Microsoft has rolled out a patch that will warn Windows 7 users that security updates will soon come to an end.
The patch rolled out Wednesday warning users of the impending deadline, January 14, 2020, when the software giant will no longer roll out fixes for security flaws and vulnerabilities. The deadline comes some 10 years after Windows 7 first debuted in 2009, more than half a decade before Microsoft’s most recent operating system Windows 10 was introduced.
Microsoft’s move to stop issuing security updates is part of the company’s ongoing effort to push users to its latest software, which stands on a greater security foundation and improvements to mitigate attacks.
Starting April 18, users on Windows 7 will begin receiving warnings about the approaching cut-off.
Windows 7 still commands some 40 percent of the desktop market, according to Net Applications. With exactly 300 days before the deadline, the clock is ticking on consumer security support.
Enterprise customers have the option to pay for extended security updates until 2023.
For years, Microsoft allowed Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free to try to encourage growth and upgrades. With those incentives gone, many only have the lack of security updates to look ahead to, which will put business data and systems at risk of cyber attack.
It’s almost unheard of for Microsoft to patch end-of-life software. In 2017, Microsoft released rare security patches for Windows XP — retired three years earlier — to prevent the spread of WannaCry, a ransomware strain that piggybacked off leaked hacking tools, developed by the National Security Agency.
The ransomware outbreak knocked schools, businesses, and hospitals offline.
Windows 7’s successor, Windows 8, will continue to receive updates until January 10, 2023.