Microsoft to scrap Security Essentials when Windows 7 reaches end-of-life

Businesses will have to seek out an alternative to the free antivirus platform by Jan 2020

When the Windows 7 operating system ticks over into extended support on 14 January, Microsoft will also permenantly discontinue its Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) antivirus software.

Businesses that rely on the security platform, which has been available for legacy editions of Windows including 7, XP and Vista, will have to find an alternative between now and 14 January, according to the firm.

Launched in 2008, MSE has provided Windows devices real-time malware protection, with a set of stripped-down features aimed at nullifying threats as and when they arise.

“Your Windows 7 computer is not protected by MSE after January 14, 2020,” Microsoft said in its FAQs page for Windows 7 extended support. “MSE is unique to Windows 7 and follows the same lifecycle dates for support.”

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

The company has recommended that businesses using the software should upgrade to Windows 10 to continue to receive essential security updates and services, given that Windows 7 is set to be retired in a month's time regardless.

A handful of businesses, namely corporate customers, will continue to receive Windows 7 updates for an additional year, free of charge, as long they agree to the promotional offer by 31 December. Organisations not eligible for this offer, including SMBs, may still be eligible to receive paid-for updates through till January 2023. 

The platform was Microsoft’s second stab at an antivirus service following the company’s previous effort in the form of Windows LiveOne Care, a more commercial product that received a mixed reception.

Related Resource

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Support for MSE on Windows Vista and Windows XP has already been retired, which means it will be permanently discontinued once Windows 7 reaches end-of-life in 2020.

The antivirus software has always been consigned to a handful of legacy Windows editions, regardless, given that Microsoft moved on with the release of Windows 8 - bundling its functions and services into the built-in Windows Defender app. This continues to be used in Microsoft systems, including Windows 10.

The antivirus software has only been available for a handful of legacy Windows editions during its lifetime, namely Windows 7, XP and Vista. Microsoft moved on with the release of Windows 8, bundling MSE functions and services into the built-in Windows Defender app, which continues to be used in modern operating systems, including Windows 10.

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now

Most Popular

Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Microsoft Windows

Memes and Viking funerals: The internet reacts to the death of Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020