Crucial Windows 7 Update
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
Check Windows 7 is up to date now, or it could become a risk long before support ends in Jan 2020.
All Windows 7 users hopefully know by now that Microsoft will cease support for the operating system on 14th January 2020, but what they might not realize is that extended support could end as early as July 2019 if they fail to install some critical patches during March.
The patches due in March mark a security upgrade for Windows 7, and mean that Windows updates will only use the SHA-2 algorithm to sign and authenticate patches going forward to make sure they’ve come directly from Microsoft, and haven’t been tampered with.
Currently, OS updates are dual-signed by both SHA-1 and SHA-2 algorithms, but due to weaknesses in the SHA-1 algorithm and to align to industry standards, Microsoft will, from March onwards only sign Windows updates using the more secure SHA-2 algorithm.
In summary, you need to make sure you don’t miss the various security updates that will deploy during March and usher in SHA-2 code sign support. Microsoft is estimating a target date of March 12 for their update release on Windows 7.
You can easily check to see if your windows system is up-to-date by going to the windows start menu and typing "update" then selecting "Windows Update". The recommended setting for Windows updates is to "install updates automatically" that way Windows checks for, and installs updates automatically.