At least 63,479 computers with the outdated Windows 7 operating system are still running in federal ministries and agencies.
The number of computers in the federal ministries and the subordinate authorities, which are still operated with Windows 7, is significantly higher than previously assumed. In the second gear, the federal government is now of “at least 63,479 clients” that are still running the operating system that Microsoft no longer supports free of charge with security updates since January 14, 2020. A year ago, the leading Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) had 33,000 relevant IT jobs.
Problem bigger than known
It was even then but it is clear that the support and migration problem is likely to be much greater: in the earlier overview, five of the 14 federal ministries were not listed at all. Apparently, these were just the departments in which Windows 7 still plays a particularly important role.
With the significantly increased number of computers for which the federal government requires additional security updates via Microsoft’s Extended Security Update Program (ESU) has to take money into their hands, the necessary expenditure has also more than doubled: if the federal government initially expected fees of 800,000 euros for 2020, they landed according to a current answer to a request from the Greens, available heise online – Bundestag member Konstantin von Notz ultimately at 1.9 million euros. By 2023, “at least around 2.51 million euros in costs are to be incurred”.
The government detailed the distribution of the affected computers among the individual departments and larger authorities to Netzpolitik.org. A total of around 18,000 people work in the Chancellery and the federal ministries. This does not include the employees in the many subordinate authorities. The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Defense are among the departments with the most staff. The latter leads the ranking list of departments where PCs with Windows 7 are still in operation, also with 27,326 corresponding workstations.
No Windows 7 only in the Ministry of Education
The Ministry of the Interior follows in 2nd place with 12,935 computers that need extra support, the Foreign Office is in 3rd place with 10,700 such computers. The Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure still has to pay a separate support fee to Microsoft for 5,000 jobs, the Departments of Agriculture and Health for around 1,700 each, the Commissioner for Culture and Media for 1,500. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has 1,118 computers. In all other areas of the government and its subordinate administration, the number is less than 1000. The Federal Ministry of Education is the only one that no longer uses PCs with Windows 7.
The information could still be incomplete, the government admits to consider. The authorities and departments are themselves responsible for a timely switch to Windows 10 after support for Windows 7 has expired. There is no central accounting for this. The department query was still not “answered by everyone”. For reasons of confidentiality, the BMI deliberately does not provide any information on the IT infrastructure at the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Meanwhile, some job advertisements show that the Federal Office for Consumer Protection is still specifically looking for three IT specialists with thorough knowledge of the Windows 7 and 10 systems.
Dependence as a problem
The authors of a study commissioned by the BMI had already come to the conclusion in 2019 that the dependence on Microsoft products in particular was “pain points in the federal administration”. to lead. This “contradicts the strategic goals of the federal IT department”. At the time, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) announced that he wanted to hold talks with software providers and examine alternative programs. The use of free software should play an important role here.
In the new plan for sluggish IT consolidation, however, there is no mention of open source. The Ministry of Defense is also left out of the four waves recorded therein until 2028 for the harmonization of computer and server structures and the relocation of services to the cloud, as is the Federal Foreign Office.