The recent WannaCry ransomware attack demonstrates the importance of automatic security updates. No matter how careful you are, malware could exploit a security hole over the network and gain control of your system—unless you install security patches.
But Microsoft doesn’t support every version of Windows forever, and there are different types of support. For example, Windows 7 is no longer receiving “mainstream support”, but is receiving “extended support”—what does that mean?
There are two main levels of support: Mainstream support and extended support. When a Windows operating system is first released, Microsoft provides mainstream support for five years. The operating system will receive security updates, free support via telephone or web chat, and bug fixes that aren’t security related.
After leaving mainstream support, the operating system transitions to extended support for another five years. The operating system will still receive security updates, but you’ll have to pay if you want telephone or web chat support from Microsoft. Businesses can pay for “Extended Hotfix Support” to request fixes for bugs that aren’t related to security.
Both mainstream support and extended support include free security updates. So, while Windows 7 is currently in its extended support period, there’s nothing to worry about in terms of security—it will continue receiving free security updates until the support period ends. You just need to make sure you enable updates, or you won’t get the security fixes you need, and may be vulnerable to new attacks like WannaCry.
While security updates are provided through the mainstream and extended support periods that last for a total of ten years, you have to be running the latest service pack or version of the operating system to stay eligible. But you don’t have to rush to update.
Microsoft gives you 24 months to install a service pack or free update, during which time it continues updating both the old version and new version. So, when Windows 7’s Service Pack 1 came out, Microsoft updated both the original release and Service Pack 1 versions of Windows 7 with security updates for two years. After that point, the original release of Windows 7 stopped receiving security updates. Windows 7 is still receiving security updates today, but only if you install Service Pack 1.Read More...
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