Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Windows News: Windows 7 driver updates are killed off by Microsoft

Windows News: Windows 7 driver updates are killed off by Microsoft

Windows News: Windows 7 driver updates are killed off by Microsoft

No more driver updates to be piped via Windows Update

Windows 7
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 7 users are hit by some more bad news, with the revelation that Microsoft is not any longer supporting driver updates in the least through Windows Update for the aging OS.

This follows another recent move made by Nvidia, where Team Green discontinued core driver support for its graphics cards with Windows 7, and also Windows 8/8.1 for that matter (although any vital security fixes will still be delivered through until 2024).

As Bleeping Computer reports, support has now been ditched for Windows 7 (SP1) drivers being delivered via Windows Update, following the expiry of the SHA-1 Trusted Root Certificate Authority in May 2021. also as Windows 7, this is applicable to Windows Server 2008.

Naim Mohammad, Technical Program Manager at Microsoft, said: “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.”

However, note that business users paying for the ESU or Extended Security Update program (which will continue until July 2022) will still be ready to deploy Windows 7 drivers via WSUS (Windows Server Update Services).

Code integrity

Microsoft explains that the piping of drivers to Windows 7 has been ceased because with the aforementioned expiration of SHA-1 certificates, partners who are delivering their drivers through the Microsoft Trusted Root Program could deploy SHA-2 signed drivers instead – but these are incompatible.

If they made their way through to Windows 7 devices from Windows Update, that would cause serious issues including ‘degraded functionality’ or indeed totally bricking the machine so it doesn’t boot. As Microsoft notes: “Unpatched systems will have code integrity failures when presented with an SHA-2 signed driver.”

So to avoid any potential nasty side effects like this, Microsoft is not any longer allowing SHA-2 signed drivers to be delivered via Windows Update, so driver updates are effectively now pack up.

Official support for Windows 7 ended at the beginning of 2020, a year and a half ago now, so consumers still using Windows 7 – or businesses not paying for extended security support – should, of course, be moving on to Windows 10 (soon to be Windows 11) by now (or switching elsewhere, perhaps finding out Linux distros). Yet going by some reports, a surprising amount of PC owners are sticking with Windows 7, which ground will only get rockier going forward.

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