End of Main Stream and extended support for Windows OS

Dear staff and students

On several occasions I have sent emails regarding the End of life for Microsoft operating systems. However, it still remains unclear to many users what the difference is between "End of Main stream support" and "End of extended support" for Windows products.

When main stream support ends,the following happens;

1) Microsoft no longer supplies non-security hot-fixes/quick-fix updates unless you have an extended support agreement
2) All warranty claims end.
3) Microsoft no longer accepts requests for new features and design changes.

When extended support ends, you can no longer count on any security patches/updates or reliability patches for the operating system. This is what happened on April.8.2014 for Windows XP and April.11.2017 for Windows Vista. In other words, none of us should still be using Windows XP and Vista on their machines because they no longer have support from Microsoft and are therefore susceptible to attack even if you have a licensed up-to-date security solution installed and they also increase the vulnerability of the Makerere network to malware attacks when connected to it.

In a recent email, I communicated about the WannaCry ransomware attack which hit so many countries and many users may have simply ignored it! (users tend to respond to attack not precaution). Thankfully, WannaCry has been mostly "contained" globally but that doesn't rule out the likelihood of being infected. According to research findings by Sophos labs, Windows 7 was the easier conduit for the WannaCry ransomware due to a vulnerability in it's Windows Server Message Block (SMB) service, which Windows computers use to share files and printers across local networks.

Today, Windows 7 is in it's extended support phase which ends January/14th/2020, it's main stream support ended on the 13th/January/2015. That being said, Microsoft recently warned that Windows 7 no longer meets the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments due to a number of serious failings including security deficiencies and hardware restrictions and this is evidenced by the recent WannaCry ransom-ware attack which hit Windows 7 users the most due to it's architectural deficiencies.

Therefore Microsoft recommends that users of Windows 7 upgrade to Windows 10 for enhanced security features. Microsoft will also no longer ship Windows 7 and 8.1 on new hardware devices save for those from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) running skylake /6th generation Intel processors and this arrangement will cease in a month's time ! (July.17.2017). https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/11675/windows-7-windows-8-1-skylake-systems-supported

Some of the information above might be too complex for the lay ICT user to comprehend, however ICT personnel are advised to pay close attention to it and read the support details as published by Microsoft. Please pay close attention to the changes in suppport for Windows 7 and 8.1 on Skylake/6th generation Intel-processor platforms .

Kindest Regards,Mugabi Samuel