Microsoft: Actually, Windows 7 is getting a new update – to fix black wallpaper bug

Microsoft has promised a fix for a bug in its final Windows 7 security update, which broke users’ desktop displays.

Days after Microsoft released its last free Windows 7 security update, users reported that the update had curiously removed wallpapers and replaced desktops with just a black image. 

Windows 10

To some users the timing of the change was suspicious. On January 15, Windows 7 PCs began showing a full-screen notification warning users that the operating system had reached end of support. Would Microsoft also make life just that bit harder by disabling desktop wallpapers? 

However, some users figured out that a Stretch configuration in settings was the likely source of the problem. 

Microsoft has finally acknowledged the glitch in the Windows 7 update by adding it as a ‘known issue’ to the original support page for the monthly rollup.  

“After installing KB4534310, your desktop wallpaper might display as black when set to Stretch,” said Microsoft

It’s also promised to provide a fix in an update that will be made available to everyone running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 RS SP1. 

Microsoft says the issue can be resolved by setting the custom image to any option other than Stretch, such as Fill, Fit, Tile, or Center. 

While it is a relatively minor issue compared with some of the Windows 10 bugs shipped with updates over the past year, it is notable that Microsoft will offer another update to all Windows 7 users as it tries to convince them to upgrade to Windows 10. 

However, Microsoft is still providing security updates to business customers that pay for Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) while completing Windows 10 migration. 

One such customer, the German federal government, will pay Microsoft around €800,000 ($886,000) this year for Windows 7 ESUs. Microsoft is offering the ESUs for Windows 7 until January 2022. 

It’s possible Microsoft will offer another free security update for Windows 7 if there’s another malware outbreak on the scale of WannaCry as it did for Windows XP in 2017, or finds another dangerous ‘wormable’ vulnerability that affects it.  

One thing it’s unlikely to do is now that Windows 7 has reached end of life, though, is give in to the Free Software Foundation’s new call for it to open source Windows under a free license

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