Wednesday, 16 November 2016 08:12

When will Microsoft end support for your version of Windows or Office?

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Microsoft's support clock never stops ticking. Two very high-profile products will end extended support in 2017: Windows Vista on April and Office 2007. Windows Vista's final date for security updates is April 11, 2017, while Office 2007 support ends on October 10, 2017.

Those are the two most prominent in a long list of Microsoft products reaching the end of the line next year. If you are, for some odd reason, still using Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals, the time is not to begin letting go.

These end dates are also mileposts on Microsoft's road to the cloud.

As I've noted before, Microsoft has a well-established support lifecycle for its software products. It's basically an agreement that the company makes with everyone who commits to its core products, Windows (desktop and server) and Office. (For details on how those support dates are calculated, see the end of this post.)

The terms of that agreement don't change often, which is an important assurance for business customers who tend to be conservative in their approach to upgrades.

And it's worth noting that the end-of-support date is not a death sentence. PCs running Windows XP are still out there, running merrily along. Likewise, Windows 7 PCs will not stop working when the clock runs out. The only difference will be an eerie quiet on the second Tuesday of each month. When the extended support period ends, so do those updates. (Large enterprise customers who have custom support agreements with Microsoft and who are willing to pay a very steep price for the privilege can still get custom updates after the official end of support. But consumers and small businesses will not have that option.)

In the past, when Microsoft released a new version of each of its flagship products every two or three years, the company was obligated to offer ongoing support for as many as five versions of Windows at one time, for desktop and notebook PCs.

The 10-year support lifecycle is in the process of changing, as Microsoft moves to its "Windows as a service" and Office 365 subscription models. But for a few more years, at least, shrink-wrapped software is still alive and kicking. Here's the rundown on support commitments for the client versions of Windows and Office, starting with the newest member of the family:


In the run-up to the release of Windows 10, many wondered whether Microsoft would take the opportunity to change its support lifecycle. The answer, as announced with the release of the new operating system in July 2015, is no. The traditional 10-year support lifecycle continues, with a five-year mainstream support phase that began on July 29, 2015, and a second five-year extended support phase that begins in 2020 and extends until October 2025.

A note to that policy qualifies the support commitment to devices where the OEM continues to support Windows 10 on that device.

Windows 10 feature updates (the new name for what used to be full-version upgrades) are delivered via Windows Update automatically. Microsoft released the first major update, version 1511, in November 2015; the second feature update, version 1607 (aka the Anniversary Update) was released last summer.

These updates are required for ongoing support. As a result, the only customers who are likely to care about the 10-year upgrade cycle are those running the Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) in enterprise deployments. It's likely that Microsoft will publish a new 10-year support calendar with each LTSB release.

Mainstream support ends: October 13, 2020

Extended support ends: October 14, 2025


Microsoft's official Windows 8.1 Support Lifecycle Policy treats Windows 8.1 as if it were a service pack for Windows 8. That means the lifecycle calculations start when Windows 8 shipped, in 2012.

Support for the original release of Windows 8 ended "two years after the General Availability of the Windows 8.1 update," or October 18, 2015. The same policy applies to Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 (equivalent to Windows 8.1).

Most PCs that included a preinstalled version of the original release of Windows 8 have long since disappeared from retail channels. For the dwindling population of PC users still running Windows 8, a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 is available through the Windows Store.

Mainstream support ends: January 9, 2018

Extended support ends: January 10, 2023


This is still the most popular release of Windows, although Windows 10 is making serious inroads, especially in the consumer segment of the market. The following support dates require that you install Service Pack 1 (Windows 7 RTM support ended in April 2009).

Note that these dates are identical for Windows Server 2008 R2.

In an earlier revision of this post, I predicted, accurately, that Microsoft would not extend the support deadline for XP. I believe the same will be true of Windows 7. There will almost certainly be an outcry for this popular OS to get an extension when January 2020 rolls around, but it's not likely to happen.

Mainstream support ends: No longer supported

Extended support ends: January 14, 2020


The much-reviled Windows Vista will apparently end not with a bang but a whimper. The mainstream support phase ended in 2012, and the extended support phase is about to enter its final year.

Mainstream support ends: No longer supported

Extended support ends: April 11, 2017

Office support dates

The Office support lifecycle works just like Windows, with one important difference. Office 365 subscribers pay for a monthly or annual subscription and always receive the most current version of the Office desktop apps, which can be installed on up to 10 PCs or Macs, depending on the edition.

Microsoft continues to sell traditional versions of Office with a perpetual license. These products receive regular security and reliability updates but don't qualify for feature upgrades.

Here are the support dates for each current member of the Office family sold as a perpetual license product:


This is the current release of Office, with a support schedule that matches up perfectly with Windows 10.

Mainstream support ends: October 13, 2020

Extended support ends: October 14, 2025


The Office 2013 support schedule goes roughly three months past that of Windows 8.1.

Mainsream support ends: April 10, 2018

Extended support ends: April 11, 2023


Support for Office 2010 Service Pack 1 ended on October 14, 2014. But with Service Pack 2 installed, you'll find this version still has a long extended support period ahead, with end-of-support dates that are 6 months after those of Windows 7.

Mainstream support ends: No longer supported

Extended support ends: October 13, 2020.


Earlier service pack releases are no longer supported, and this group of products has already passed the end of mainstream support. Extended support ends on October 10, 2017.


For all versions of Windows and Office, Microsoft provides at least five years of mainstream support, followed by another five years of extended support. These lifecycles apply equally to business and home versions of Windows and Office. Service packs have separate end-of-support dates. For example, beginning next week you'll need to be running Service Pack 1 to get support for Windows 7. (There's an exhaustive FAQ if you want to dig deeper into this stuff.)

Generally, "supported" means you have access to at least one type of assisted support option (possibly paid) and no-charge security updates through channels like Windows Update and the Download Center.

The calculations start with the general availability (GA) date for each product. The official date of retirement for support is the second Tuesday in the first month of the quarter following that anniversary (which also happens to be Patch Tuesday). That grace period typically means a few weeks or months of extra support tacked on at the end of the five- and ten-year support cycles for each product.

For Windows 7, you can do the math yourself. The GA date for all Windows 7 editions was October 22, 2009. Five years after that date was October 22, 2014. The next calendar quarter began in January, 2015, and the second Tuesday of that month wass January 13. So, that's when mainstream support was scheduled to end. Extended support for all editions goes an extra five years, until January 14, 2020, which happens to be the second Tuesday of that month. (Those calculations don't work for Windows XP, whose end-of-life date was extended artificially.)

To find the end-of-support date for any Microsoft product, use the Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search page, the product family index, or the full A-Z product index to get the official answer. When you find the entry for a specific product, you can see the general availability date, the retirement dates for mainstream and extended support, and retirement dates for service packs.





Read 11681 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 November 2016 08:22
Samer Hmouda

I was Borne and raised in Kuwait, I take my degree in low from Lebanese university in 1994.

Technology is my passion so I read and teach myself a lot of things related to networking and technology. Internet was one of the most help tools in my learning. I watch many videos and learn from many articles which I read on the web, so now I will try to help others same as I got help from others without waiting for any thanks.

Samer H.

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