This extension, related to the Covid-19 pandemic, protects customers running Windows 10 1709 until October, a way to reduce the pressure on IT administrators in this disrupted period.
Microsoft has extended the support period for Windows 10 Enterprise 1709 and Windows 10 Education 1709 by six months, pushing the end of life of these versions to October 13, instead of April 14, the date originally planned. Microsoft says it wants to take into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to mass business closures, population lockdowns, and prompted many companies to ask their employees to work from home in the States United and elsewhere.
“We understand the impact this public health situation can have on businesses,” John Cable, director of program management, said in a post yesterday on Microsoft’s blog. “In order to not further complicate the situation facing enterprises today, and based on customer feedback, we have decided to extend the end of support date for the Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise versions of Windows 10 1709.”
Three years of support for version 1709
Windows 10 1709 was launched in October 2017, and while the Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro editions of this version only got 18 months of support – until April 9, 2019 – the Enterprise and Education versions got 30 months of updates, following a decision by Microsoft made in September 2018 in favor of its main customers, large companies and organizations. Also according to this breakdown, the Enterprise and Education versions get two and a half years of support. This deferral is only for the fall feature update with reference yy09 in Microsoft’s year/month format. The yy03 spring update only provides 18 months of support for each version and each SKU.
The six-month extension of version 1709 will allow customers to receive security updates through regular channels, including Windows Update, Windows Update for Business, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and Microsoft Update Catalog. John Cable also promised that update management processes would not change for the additional months. “All supported versions of Microsoft Configuration Manager (current branch) will continue to support Windows 10, version 1709 until October 13, 2020,” Cable said.
With this six-month extension, Windows 10 version 1709 will have a total support duration of 36 months. This is the first time that a version of Windows 10 will have three years of support. It’s almost the magic delay for Windows. Indeed, there was a time when Microsoft considered this to be the ideal interval between two updates to its operating system: the publisher had delivered Windows 7 (2009) three years after the previous Vista OS, released in 2006, and three years had elapsed between the release of Windows 7 and Windows 8 that shipped in 2012. Giving companies six more months to migrate from 1709 within a month of the initial end of support , Microsoft gives additional time to administrators who are late on the migration, and allows them to continue to protect their systems during this very disrupted, even very chaotic period for some. IT departments, probably understaffed and with reduced productivity, can work without panicking.
Flexible delivery and end of support dates
Postponing updates, either pausing them like Google did this week with Chrome, or pushing back end-of-support dates like Microsoft did, was arguably the best decision to make in current conditions. There’s no reason to stick to a set schedule at a time when updating hundreds or thousands of systems is one of the least important business concerns. The main thing for them is to maintain their activity. It would even be surprising if the announcement made on Wednesday was the last of its kind and if Microsoft and Google were the only publishers to take this type of action.
One can imagine that, if the pandemic persists for several more months, Microsoft will postpone the end of support date for Windows 10 1709, and pass it on to the following versions. (End of support for Windows 10 1803 Enterprise and Education SKUs is scheduled for November 10). Likewise, nothing would prevent Microsoft from delaying the release of its next feature update, Windows 10 2004, due in April, until much later this year. Or cancel the Windows 10 2009 Fall Update. All release and support schedules are, if not moot, at least uncertain.