Most of the major antivirus companies have confirmed that they will continue support for Windows 7 for at least two more years.
Earlier this month, Windows 7 reached its end-of-life (EOL) date, with Microsoft ending extended support for customers still using the operating system.
Days before the date was reached, the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) announced that it would be paying €1.1m to extend support for the 46,000 devices that the HSE still has running on Windows 7. Germany also announced that it would pay €800,000 to extend support for 33,000 government workstations running Windows 7.
However, installing antivirus software is the only way that SMEs and home consumers will be able to protect their computers going forward, as only large enterprises and governments are eligible for the Windows 7 extended security updates.
Continued antivirus support
According to a recent report from ZDNet, all of the major antivirus software makers plan to continue support for their products past the Windows 7 EOL.
It said: “Most vendors, with a few exceptions, have confirmed that their products will continue to run on Windows 7 systems for at least two years, until 2022, ensuring that Windows 7 users have security products at their disposal to protect their systems.”
Among the antivirus software companies continuing their support are AVG and Avast, McAfee, Symantec, Bitdefender, ESET, Carbon Black and BullGuard.
German organisation AV-Test, which evaluates and rates antivirus software, asked vendors about their plans for protecting Windows 7 users after the official EOL. You can see its complete findings here.
Criticism of the EOL
Many consumers, commentators and tech enthusiasts were disappointed with Microsoft’s decision to end support for the operating system, with advocates at the Free Software Foundation (FSF) asking Microsoft to “undo past wrongs” by releasing the source code for Windows 7, which would enable people to access and use it for free.
More than 10,000 people have signed FSF’s petition calling on Microsoft to upcycle Windows 7 so that the open-source community can study, modify and share it. FSF said: “We urge you to protect the freedom and privacy of your users – not simply strong-arm them into the newest Windows version.”
However, it’s unlikely that the source code could be released as Microsoft will still be providing security updates for organisations that pay for the service, such as the HSE and the German government.
The Register also pointed out that there are still parts of Windows 7 code in Windows 10, meaning Microsoft may not want to make this code public yet.