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Can small businesses keep running Windows 7 and how much will it cost?

Don’t put that Windows 7 laptop in the bin just yet. While support officially ends on 14 January 2020, Microsoft has given small businesses a reprieve, which means that you will receive security updates for a further year. And for another two years more, but we’ll come to that.

However, there are three key things to note:

  • You can only get support and updates if your PC/laptop is running Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise
  • You can’t buy this support via Microsoft, instead you must go through one of Microsoft’s partners
  • You’ll be charged per laptop/PC for a full year – you can’t buy, say, a three-month extension

How much will Windows 7 support cost?

The price will be set by the Microsoft solution provider, but expect to pay around £50 exc VAT per computer.

You’re paying for what Microsoft is calling a “Windows 7 Extended Security Update”, or ESU for short. That £50 price is for the 2020 licence; come 2021, all we know is that the price will rise.

We also know that, even if you start buying ESUs in 2021, you’ll have to pay for 2020’s ESU as well. That, Microsoft says, is because they are “cumulative updates”.

You will have to buy the ESU from from a Microsoft-approved cloud solution provider. Click here to find one near you.

What Windows 7 support am I buying?

We should emphasise this isn’t really support. It’s a security update, which means you’ll keep on receiving security patches when vulnerabilities appear. Microsoft doesn’t want you to buy this; it wants you to upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft has only committed to providing updates for another three years, by which time your Windows 7 machine will be so ancient that it really doesn’t make sense to keep it anyway.

Note that Windows 7 for Education users can also buy ESUs from cloud solution providers.

How do I buy Windows 7 security updates?

Windows 7 security updates find a provider

You need to sign up with a Microsoft-certified solution provider. That means head to the solution provider homepage and entering your location, organisation size and which product you’re looking for.

You’ll then see a list of “best match” and “most responsive” providers. Tick the ones you’re interested in and contact them direct from the site using a form.

Further reading

Microsoft Support: FAQ about Extended Security Updates for Windows 7

How cloud service providers can buy Windows 7 ESUs

Is Windows 7 safe?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email

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