Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported or sold. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software. Here are the rights and limits of the Windows lifecycle.
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.
Service Pack 3
April 14, 2009
April 8, 2014
Service Pack 2
April 10, 2012
April 11, 2017
Windows 7 *
Service Pack 1
January 13, 2015
January 14, 2020
January 9, 2018
January 10, 2023
* 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.
End of support: questions and answers
Mainstream support—Microsoft will offer mainstream support for a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product's general availability, or for 2 years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer. For example, if you buy a new version of Windows and five years later another version is released, you will still have two years of support left for the previous version.
Extended support—Microsoft will offer extended support for either a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product's general availability, or for 2 years after the second successor product (two versions later) is released, whichever is longer.
For more details on the difference between mainstream support and extended support, refer to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.
You can either install the latest available update or service pack or you can upgrade to a newer version of Windows. For more information, see
What does it mean if my version of Windows is no longer supported?
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.
Support for Windows XP is ending on April 8, 2014.
To find the end of support dates for all versions of Windows products, see Lifecycle Information for Windows Client Products.
Windows 8 is designed to be compatible with the most popular hardware and software products you use every day. Thousands of these will work just fine. The
Windows 8 Compatibility Center
makes it easy for you to find out if particular programs or hardware work with Windows 8.
Learn why Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003, what it means to you, and how you can get access to all available tools to begin your migration.
End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMS are Dell and Toshiba—PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software. When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it's a good time to think about upgrading.
This table gives end of sales dates for specific Windows operating systems.
December 31, 2001
June 30, 2008
October 22, 2010
January 30, 2007
October 22, 2011
October 22, 2009
October 30, 2013
October 30, 2014
October 26, 2012
To be determined
October 18, 2013
* Note that when the retail software product reaches its end of sales date, it can still be purchased through OEMs (the company that made your PC) until it reaches the end of sales date for PCs with Windows preinstalled.
End of sales: questions and answers
When Microsoft launches a new version of Windows, we will continue to allow OEMs to sell PCs preinstalled with the previous version for up to two years after the launch date of the new version. Certain OEM versions of Windows products include downgrade rights (as outlined within the software license terms). Downgrade rights make it possible to use a previous version of Windows instead of the licensed software preinstalled on a new PC. See Downgrade rights for additional details.
We will continue to allow retailers to sell the previous version of Windows for a year after the launch date of the new version.
For Volume Licensing programs, licenses will continue to be available through downgrade rights after the end of general availability. General availability of licenses for the previous version of Windows will cease as soon as the new version is available. However, we will make media available for the current version as well as the previous two versions.
Service packs and updates are part of the process of keeping your Windows product up to date. Service packs combine the latest updates and fixes into one package or download. A service pack can include security and performance improvements as well as support for new types of hardware. To install the latest service pack for Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, or to install the latest update for Windows 8, visit the Service Pack Center.
Windows XP SP1
August 30, 2002
October 10, 2006
Windows XP SP2
September 17, 2004
July 13, 2010
Windows XP SP3
April 21, 2008
Windows Vista SP1
February 4, 2008
July 12, 2011
Windows Vista SP2
May 26, 2009
Windows 7 SP1
February 22, 2011
Service packs and updates: questions and answers
Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. If you are using software without the latest service pack you won't be offered any new security or non-security updates, although preexisting updates will continue to be offered. Refer to the Service Pack Lifecycle Support Policy for further information.
Not necessarily. Update notices only indicate your software has not reached its end of support date. To find out if you already have a service pack installed, read the information on our Windows Update page. To install the latest Windows service packs, see the Service Pack Center.
You can find this information on the Windows 8.1 Support Lifecycle Policy page.
See the following table for service pack support information.
Windows NT Workstation,
Windows NT Server 4.xx
SP5 or earlier
SP6a and SP6a SRP1November 30, 1999
Support for Windows NT 4.xx ended on December 31, 2004. Microsoft is no longer producing public monthly security updates or service packs.
Windows 2000 Professional,
Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server
SP3 or earlier
SP4June 26, 2003
Update Rollup #1 for SP4June 28, 2005
Support for Windows 2000 ended on July 13, 2010. Microsoft is no longer producing public monthly security updates or service packs.
Windows Server 2003
SP2March 13, 2007
No further updates planned
Windows Server 2008
SP1(Windows Server 2008 was released including SP1)
SP2May 26, 2009
To be determined
Windows Server 2008 R2
No service pack available at this time
To use prior versions of Windows software on PCs installed with newer versions, it is possible for consumers to obtain a license for
downgrade rights. The following table compares Volume Licensing downgrade rights with those provided under OEM and FPP licenses.
Volume Licensing programs
Downgrade rights are granted with all application software licenses acquired through the Volume Licensing programs.
Please refer to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product List for current information about which OEM applications qualify for enrollment in Software Assurance within 90 days from the date the licenses are acquired.
Downgrade rights are granted with all system software licenses acquired through the Volume Licensing programs.
Please refer to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product List for current information about which retail and OEM applications qualify for enrollment in Software Assurance within 90 days from the date the licenses are acquired.
Downgrade rights are granted with all server software licenses acquired through the Volume Licensing programs.
Licenses enrolled in Microsoft Software Assurance
Downgrade rights are granted for any license enrolled in Software Assurance.
Please refer to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product List for current information about which OEM applications qualify for enrollment in Software Assurance within 90 days from the date you acquired the licenses.
Please refer to the Microsoft Volume Licensing
for current information about which retail and OEM System Software qualify for enrollment in Software Assurance within 90 days from the date you acquired the licenses.
Please refer to the Microsoft Volume Licensing
for current information about which retail and OEM Server Software qualify for enrollment in Software Assurance within 90 days from the date you acquired the licenses.
OEM Microsoft Software License Terms
Rights to OEM versions of application software are granted in the OEM Microsoft Software License Terms. The OEM License Terms for OEM versions of application software do not grant downgrade rights.
Please refer to the OEM license terms for complete details.
Rights to OEM versions of system software are granted in the OEM License Terms. The OEM License Terms for Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, and Windows Vista Ultimate operating systems grant downgrade rights. See the full text of the OEM License Terms for the specific downgrade rights.
Rights to server software are granted in the OEM License Terms. The OEM License Terms for most OEM versions released with or after the Windows Server 2003 R2 operating system allow for the user to downgrade to an earlier version. New products that do not have earlier versions do not allow a user to downgrade. See the full text of the applicable OEM License Terms for the specific downgrade rights.
FPP Microsoft Software License Terms
Downgrade rights are not granted under most FPP application licenses.
Please refer to the FPP license terms for complete details.
Downgrade rights are not granted under FPP system licenses.
Some Server products offer downgrade rights.
Note: The information above contains the downgrade rights for the most commonly acquired systems as outlined in their License Terms. For downgrade provisions for other system licenses, please consult the License Terms for the software in question.