The community of My Digital Life, an online tech support forum, has found a way to bypass Microsoft’s restrictions and allow the installation of Windows 7 Extended Security Updates on all systems, and not just those who paid Microsoft’s fee.
The official Windows 7 end-of-support date is January 14, 2020, just a few weeks away.
The Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) is a paid Microsoft service that will deliver security updates to businesses that are still running Windows 7 computers, past this deadline and until 2023, but for a substantial fee.
ESU updates cost between $25 to $200 per workstation, depending on the Windows 7 version a company is running (Enterprise or Pro) and the amount of time they’ll need the updates.
But not everybody is eligible for ESU. Only companies with volume-licensing agreements and small-and-midsize businesses (SMBs) can sign up for an ESU license.
Last month, Microsoft released a test Windows 7 ESU update (KB4528069) so administrators can verify if their systems are compatible with the upcoming ESU process.
When users install this update, they also need to provide an ESU license key, which will authorize future ESU updates for the respective system.
Similar to how modders have bypassed Windows OS installation key checks for the past decades, the community at My Digital Life created a tool that circumvents the ESU key check operation and enables the installation of the test ESU.
As the crew at Deskmdoder pointed out over the weekend, Microsoft is very likely to change this check to account for the new BypassESU tool.
However, it is also worth mentioning that Microsoft was never able to fully secure its Windows license key system in the past. Windows license key cracks have always existed, allowing for the installation of pirated Windows versions.