Windows 7’s free support period ends on January 14, 2020. Microsoft is offering three years of support updates for the operating system on a paid basis with a new program called Extended Security Updates (ESU). Unlike previous after-life support options for Windows, which were offered as part of separately negotiated support contracts, the Windows 7 ESU updates will be available to any volume license customer, regardless of size or sales channel.
Pricing for this support has now leaked to Mary Jo Foley. For organizations already subscribing to Windows Enterprise, the first year of updates will cost an additional $25 per device. This doubles to $50 for the second year and $100 for the third year. Organizations can’t skip a year, either; previous years must be paid for to obtain the year two and year three support. For companies sticking with Windows 7 Pro instead of subscribing to Windows Enterprise, the first year will cost $50 per device and will double each subsequent year to $100 and then $200.
There’s no minimum purchase for the ESU subscriptions, so companies can buy as few as they need. It’s not clear if there will be any volume discounts for larger deployments still stuck with the legacy operating system.
Microsoft will no doubt hope this pricing serves as an incentive for organizations to switch to using Windows Virtual Desktop for their Windows 7 systems. These cloud-hosted virtual machines will receive the Windows 7 ESU updates at no extra cost beyond the basic license, plus the cost of the virtual machine they run on.