Microsoft has confirmed that it will end its support for Windows 7 operating system by the year 2020. But, if you don’t install the upcoming March update, Windows 7 support will reportedly end support in July. Confused? Microsoft basically pushes updates leveraging either the SHA-1 or SHA-2 encryption algorithm because of security. PCWorld reported that the company has decided to completely phase out support for SHA-1 algorithm in a forthcoming security update. The update, which will mark Windows’ shift to leveraging more reliable encryption algorithm, will be released on March 12.
“Unfortunately, the security of the SHA-1 hash algorithm has become less secure over time due to weaknesses found in the algorithm, increased processor performance, and the advent of cloud computing. Stronger alternatives such as the Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2) are now strongly preferred as they do not suffer from the same issues,” the company explained.
The cited source mentioned that Microsoft will start releasing Windows 7 security updates using SHA-2 from the month of July. So, Windows 7 users are advised to install the March 12 update, which will enable SHA-2 support, and if they failed to do that then the Windows update will end soon. Besides, the company is also planning to update a few dated versions of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Separately, Microsoft’s Windows 10 is currently available on 39.22 percent of devices, while the old Windows 7 is on 36.90 percent of devices as of December 2018, according to a recent report released by Net MarketShare.
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“Customers running legacy OS versions (Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 SP2) will be required to have SHA-2 code signing support installed on their devices by July 2019. Any devices without SHA-2 support will not be offered Windows updates after July 2019,” said Microsoft.