Microsoft No Longer Blocks Windows 7 Updates On Computers Without Antivirus

Good news Windows 7 users: Microsoft isn’t going to stop you from getting updates if you don’t have an antivirus.

Wait…what? Yeah, it’s crazy this is a changed that needed to happen at all. Our own Chris Hoffman explained why this happened in depth, so read that for the details.

The quick story: some antivirus programs caused Windows crashes after Meltdown and Spectre patches, triggering bluescreens. To head this off Microsoft turn offed updates for all computers and required antivirus software to change a registry key in order to turn them back on. The idea was that antivirus makers could confirm compatibility with the updates and then enable updates, but this obviously wouldn’t happen on computers without antivirus, and Windows 7 does not come with antivirus by default.

Happily Microsoft is fixing this. Catalin Cimpanu, writing for Bleeping Computer, pointed out the new policy earlier today. We called for Microsoft to change this policy last month; here’s what Chris Hoffman wrote then:

Microsoft should rethink this approach for the sake of Windows 7 users. And, if Microsoft is going to prevent these Windows 7 machines from updating, they need to ensure Windows 7 users are better informed about this policy.

Microsoft clearly took the rethinking path, which we’re glad for.

Image Credit: Igor Zakowski/Bigstock

Justin Pot is a staff writer for How-To Geek, and a technology enthusiast who lives in Hillsboro, Oregon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, if you want. You don't have to.