Microsoft has stopped offering Windows 7 drivers via Windows Update

Windows 7 close up

There have been many reasons to move away from the now-ancient Windows 7 for some time, and now there is another one. Microsoft will no longer offer driver updates via Windows Update for this version of the operating system.

The change comes a year and a half after support for Windows 7 came to an end, and also the expiry of the SHA-1 Trusted Root Certificate Authority for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 last month. It is a slightly different story for anyone signed up for an Extended Security Update (ESU) program, however.

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In a post on the Windows Hardware Certification blog, Microsoft's Naim Mohammad says: "On June 17, 2021, Microsoft will discontinue the publication of drivers to Windows Update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2. If your organization utilizes the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program, you will continue to have the ability to deploy drivers to your managed devices using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS_ and other supported methods".

He goes on to explain that "partners utilizing the Microsoft Trusted Root Program could publish incompatible SHA-2 signed drivers to unpatched Windows client and Windows Server devices. This, in turn, had the potential to cause degraded functionality or to cause devices to longer boot. This occurs because unpatched systems will have code integrity failures when presented with a SHA-2 signed driver".

To minimize the potential impact of these incompatibilities, Microsoft will discontinue publishing of SHA-2 signed drivers to Windows Update that target Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 devices on June 17, 2021. While these Windows versions reached the end of support on January 14, 2020, we are making this change to diminish disruptions for users who still remain on these versions of Windows. This includes:

  • Any driver package submitted for multi-targeting for currently supported versions of Windows and Windows Server
  • Any driver package targeting versions of Windows or Windows Server that have reached the end of support.

When this change occurs, a notification will be sent to the submitter and they will need to resubmit the shipping label for publishing after they have removed the unsupported versions.

Full details are available here.

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