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Microsoft ends Windows 7 security updates

Pour one out for Windows 7, the decade-old operating system that today reached the end of the security line. Some three years after Microsoft called time on mainstream support of Windows 7, the technology giant will no longer provide security updates, leaving the remaining users the option to upgrade to a newer operating system or remain vulnerable to ongoing security threats.

Windows 7 was sunset in January 2020 after more than a decade in service, but Microsoft allowed customers to pay for extended security support to help maintain legacy or older equipment that isn't easy to upgrade, like hospital scanning equipment and production line systems.

Those extended security updates came to an end today. It's not known exactly how many Windows 7 machines are still running (or connected to the internet, which increases their risk), but some market share data puts the number as high as about one in 10 desktop computers.

Without extended security updates, Windows 7 will continue to run, but will no longer receive patches for new and existing security vulnerabilities.

Windows 8.1, the operating system version that succeeded Windows 7, also hit its end-of-support milestone on Tuesday, almost 10 years after it was released. Microsoft said it's not offering extended security updates for Windows 8.1, which may be because of its historical low usage, given that many skipped the operating system and updated directly to Windows 10.

Meanwhile, the latest version of Microsoft Edge (version 109), scheduled for release on Thursday, is the latest version to support the no-longer-supported Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

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