Microsoft said it will offer “mainstream support” until October 2020 and “extended support” until October 2025. What makes “mainstream support” different from “extended support?” Here is a breakdown of the differences:
Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade to existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices within a year of its release. The support will also be included for customers that upgrade from those operating systems.
The software updates may include new features, fixes or a combination of both. If a device is no longer within the OEM support period, it may not be able to receive updates.
Each software update is likely customized based on the country, network connectivity, mobile operators and hardware capabilities of the device. For example, the Windows Hello feature will only work on devices that have Intel RealSense cameras so it will have different updates from others.
But every Windows 10 device — whether it is low-end or high-end – will download and install security updates.
Earlier this year, Microsoft’s executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson announced an initiative called “Windows as a service plan” — which focuses on the operating system upgrades.
Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, it will be kept current for the ”supported lifetime of the device” at no additional cost.
This means that Microsoft will automatically download and install mandatory software updates for Windows 10. And Microsoft recently posted an update to the Windows Lifestyle Fact Sheet (showed below) that describes how long the “supported lifetime” terms actually lasts.
Windows lifecycle fact sheet
Last updated: July 2015
Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software.
End of support
End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. For more information go to Microsoft Support Lifecycle.
|Client operating systems||Latest update or service pack||End of mainstream support||End of extended support|
April 14, 2009
April 10, 2012
April 11, 2017
Windows 7 *
January 13, 2015
January 14, 2020
January 9, 2018
January 10, 2023
Windows 10, released in July 2015 **
October 13, 2020
October 14, 2025
* Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013. Be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 today to continue to receive support and updates.
** Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to install the latest update to remain supported. Updates may include new features, fixes (security and/or non-security), or a combination of both. Not all features in an update will work on all devices. A device may not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (“OEM”) support period. Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g., for cellular-capable devices), or hardware capabilities (including, e.g., free disk space).
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