Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support

Important: Windows 7 Users Must Take Action or Risk Losing Network Connectivity

Workstations that continue running Windows 7 after Jan. 14, 2020, will be prohibited from accessing the University's network in late March 2020.

Microsoft has announced it is ending support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 on Jan. 14, 2020. This means that computers and servers running these operating systems will no longer receive security updates after Jan. 14, leaving them vulnerable to hackers, malware, and viruses. 

To protect against security risks, we ask that all Windows 7 users upgrade to supported operating system—such as Windows 10—before Jan. 14. Servers running Windows Server 2008 should also be upgraded to a supported operating system.

Pitt Information Technology is available to provide support and assistance. Together, we can protect your computer, safeguard your data, and ensure the security of the University's computing environment. 

Take Action 

Windows 7

Option 1: Upgrade your computer's operating system

First, determine which version of Windows you are using. Your next step depends on who owns your computer:  

  • University-owned computers: Please contact your department's IT support staff for assistance upgrading to Windows 10, which is available as part of the Microsoft Campus Agreement
  • Students with personally-owned computers: You may download a copy of Windows 10 at no cost from  
  • Faculty/staff with personally-owned computers: You may purchase a copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft or a third party. Check Microsoft's Upgrade FAQ and Windows 10 upgrade instructions for details.   

Option 2: Disconnect your computer from the University's network 

If you cannot upgrade, you can mitigate risk by unplugging the network cable and disabling all wi-fi capabilities. In the absence of a network connection, you can use USB flash drives to transfer data to the computer. Be sure to scan flash drives regularly with antivirus software like Symantec Endpoint Protection.  

Option 3: Request a security exception

If you feel your Windows 7 computer cannot be upgraded, you may request a temporary security exception:

  • Submit an online request with the subject "Windows 7 Exception Request" 
  • Briefly explain the reason you cannot upgrade
  • Describe what mitigation steps you plan to take to protect the computer 

Note: If you do apply for an exception, please note that Microsoft is also ending support for Office 365 ProPlus on Windows 7. After Jan. 14, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus won’t receive any new feature updates as long as the device on which it is installed is running Windows 7.

Windows Server 2008 

Option 1: Upgrade your server's operating system

If you are a designated purchaser for your University unit, you can purchase a license for Windows Server 2019 through the Online Software Store in PantherExpress. The software will then be delivered to you on physical media.   

Option 2: Consider moving to Microsoft Azure  

The University offers secure, scalable, and cost-effective Enterprise Cloud Computing services—including through Microsoft Azure—that may be a good fit for your server needs. 

Option 3: Request a security exception

We recognize there may be legitimate reasons why you cannot immediately upgrade your server (for example, apps that do not run on later versions of Windows Server). If you feel your server cannot be upgraded, you may request a temporary security exception:

  • Submit an online request with the subject "Windows Server 2008 Exception Request" 
  • Briefly explain the reason you cannot upgrade 
  • Describe what mitigation steps you plan to take to protect the server

What Steps is the University Taking? 

  • Pitt Information Technology consultants who are contracted with University departments have already been working with those departments to identify and upgrade workstations running Windows 7.
  • The Network Operations Center is upgrading any Windows 2008 servers in its managed server hosting environment.
  • We have identified faculty and staff machines on the University's network running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. We are reaching out to technical contacts in the University units where those machines reside so that the devices can be upgraded.    
  • Beginning Wednesday, March 4, between 1 and 6 a.m. and repeating nightly for the next several months, Pitt Information Technology is conducting port and OS identification scans of all server, DMZ, and lab networks to identify and remediate systems using these operating systems.

What Happens After Jan. 14. 2020?

In late March 2020, computers running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 will not be permitted to connect to the University's network. In addition, computers running Windows 7 will no longer pass the health check that is a requirement of using PittNet VPN (Pulse Secure). These steps are necessary to protect the University's computing environment against the risks introduced by operating systems that have reached end of life.  

Other Unsupported Versions of Windows

As a reminder, Microsoft has previously ended support for a number of other versions of Windows. If you use one of the following versions of Windows, you should also upgrade to a supported operating system as soon as possible:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10 Build 1507
  • Windows 10 Build 1511
  • Windows 10 Build 1607
  • Windows 10 Build 1703

Help is Always Available 

Please contact the 24/7 IT Help Desk at any time if you have questions or need assistance upgrading from Windows 7.