Thursday, June 17, 2021

Changes to driver publication for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008

On June 17, 2021, Microsoft will discontinue the publication of drivers to Windows Update for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2. If your organization utilizes the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program, you will continue to have the ability to deploy drivers to your managed devices using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS_ and other supported methods.

As previously communicated, the SHA-1 Trusted Root Certificate Authority expired for Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 on May 9, 2021 and is no longer used by Microsoft. Due to the discontinuation and expiration of SHA-1 certificates, partners utilizing the Microsoft Trusted Root Program could publish incompatible SHA-2 signed drivers to unpatched Windows client and Windows Server devices. This, in turn, had the potential to cause degraded functionality or to cause devices to longer boot. This occurs because unpatched systems will have code integrity failures when presented with a SHA-2 signed driver.

To minimize the potential impact of these incompatibilities, Microsoft will discontinue publishing of SHA-2 signed drivers to Windows Update that target Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 devices on June 17, 2021. While these Windows versions reached the end of support on January 14, 2020, we are making this change to diminish disruptions for users who still remain on these versions of Windows. This includes:

  • Any driver package submitted for multi-targeting for currently supported versions of Windows and Windows Server
  • Any driver package targeting versions of Windows or Windows Server that have reached the end of support.

When this change occurs, a notification will be sent to the submitter and they will need to resubmit the shipping label for publishing after they have removed the unsupported versions.

Note: SHA-1 certificates are expired and are already no longer a publishing option for Windows Update.

Continuation of driver signing

Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2 driver submissions for the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program (WHCP) will continue to be available through January 2023. These submissions will continue to be made available to ensure optimal driver reliability for Volume Licensing customers who have elected to participate in the Extended Security Update (ESU) program.

We’re here to help

To test and certify hardware devices for Windows, we recommend that you utilize the Windows Hardware Certification Kit (Windows HCK) and follow the updated driver signing process for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 when submitting a driver package for signing via the Partner Center for Windows Hardware.

For more information on ESUs for Windows 7, see the Windows 7 end of support FAQ or the Window Server 2008 and 2008 R2 end of support FAQ. Partners seeking additional assistance are encouraged to reach out to their Microsoft account representatives.


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