As Microsoft announced just over week ago, soon Windows 7 devices will start displaying pop-up notifications to remind users that support ends on January 14, 2020, meaning no more security updates, bug fixes, or technical support.
The notifications are scheduled to start appearing from April 18, and the way Microsoft will get Windows 7 devices to start displaying the reminders arrived this week in the form of the patch KB4493132.
"After 10 years of servicing, January 14, 2020, is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates for computers running Windows 7 SP1. This update enables reminders about Windows 7 end of support," Microsoft explains in the KB article.
The update is available through Windows Update but will only automatically install if the device is configured to receive automatic updates.
As per Bleeping Computer, the patch configures the Windows 7 device to display the notification from April 18, 2019, through to January 15, 2020. The update creates the executable C:\Windows\System32\sipnotify.exe, which is launched by two scheduled tasks – 'Notify 1' and 'Notify 2' – that live in a folder inside the Windows folder called 'End of Support'.
The notification itself will tell users that "After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing an end".
"January 14, 2020 is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates and technical support for computers running Windows 7. We know change can be difficult, that's why we're reaching out early to help you back up your files and prepare for what's next."
Windows 7 users can of course block the specific update that generates the notifications, but Microsoft says the notifications will have a checkbox for 'Do not notify me again'.
The page also has a 'Learn more' button with a link to Microsoft's Windows 7 page, which of course is all about moving to Windows 10, preferably on a new device. The page also includes a link at the bottom to another page explaining what the end of Windows 7 support means.
"While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware," explains Microsoft.
"Going forward, the best way for you to stay secure is on Windows 10. And the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC. While it is possible to install Windows 10 on your older device, it is not recommended."
After the cutoff date, Microsoft will only provide security updates to customers who pay for extended support, except in extremely rare and severe cases, such as it did for Windows XP after the mid-2017 WannaCry outbreak.
Previous and related coverage
Starting next month, Microsoft will start displaying periodic pop-up notifications reminding Windows 7 users that support for that OS is ending early next year. Happily, you'll be able to shut them off.
The clock is ticking on Windows 7, which means those last-minute Windows 10 upgrade projects are picking up momentum.
If your business is still running on Windows 7, it's time to get serious about how you're going to handle the January 14, 2020 end of support. Here are your four options.
Windows sysadmins wake up on Wednesday with an almighty Patch Tuesday headache.
More details emerge about the two Windows zero-days that Microsoft patched this Tuesday.
Over a third of Windows users are clinging to Windows 7, though support ends in one year. Here's how Microsoft is handling the transition, and the upgrade paths for your organization.
After that, you're on your own -- you won't get updates or security fixes.