Microsoft has recently announced that Windows 7, the 2009 operating system that is no longer getting any security patches and fixed after reaching the end of support in January 2020, wouldn’t be allowed to receive driver updates from Windows Update anymore.
The company explains that devices where Windows 7 is still running on some computers, and these are eligible for the Extended Security Updates program, the new drivers can be shipped via Windows Server Update Services or any other system each firm might have in place.
Driver signing allowed until January 2023
Microsoft says it will discontinue driver updates signed with SHA-2 on Windows Update.
“Due to the discontinuation and expiration of SHA-1 certificates, 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,” Microsoft explains.
“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.”
On the other hand, Microsoft says signing drivers will still be possible for Windows 7 until January 2023, at which point its ESU program should also come to an end. In other words, as long as some systems are eligible for extended security updates, new drivers can still be signed, but once the ESU program is closed, so is pretty much everything else related to Windows 7 updates.