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 that 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
Client operating systems

Windows XP

Latest update or service pack
End of mainstream support

14 April 2009

End of extended support
Client operating systems

Windows Vista

Latest update or service pack
End of mainstream support

10 April 2012

End of extended support

11 April 2017

Client operating systems

Windows 7 *

Latest update or service pack
End of mainstream support

13 January 2015

End of extended support

14 January 2020

Client operating systems

Windows 8

Latest update or service pack
End of mainstream support

9 January 2018

End of extended support

10 January 2023

Client operating systems

Windows 10, released in July 2015 **

Latest update or service pack

N/A

End of mainstream support

13 October 2020

End of extended support

14 October 2025

* Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on 9 April 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 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 the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (“OEM”) support period. Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g. for mobile-capable devices) or hardware capabilities (including e.g. free disk space).

End of support: questions and answers

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What is the difference between mainstream support and extended support?

  • Mainstream support – Microsoft will offer mainstream support for a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product’s general availability. 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 a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product’s general availability.

For more details on the difference between mainstream support and extended support, refer to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.

What should I do when the version of Windows that I’m using reaches its end of support date?

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?

How does the end of support for Windows XP affect my business?

Learn why Microsoft ended 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

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 pre-install Windows software.

This table gives end of sales dates for specific Windows operating systems.

Client operating systems and updates Date of general availability Retail software end of sales * End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed
Client operating systems and updates

Windows XP

Date of general availability

31 December 2001

Retail software end of sales *

30 June 2008

End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed

22 October 2010

Client operating systems and updates

Windows Vista

Date of general availability

30 January 2007

Retail software end of sales *

22 October 2010

End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed

22 October 2011

Client operating systems and updates

Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate

Date of general availability

22 October 2009

Retail software end of sales *

31 October 2013

End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed

31 October 2014

Client operating systems and updates

Windows 7 Professional

Date of general availability

22 October 2009

Retail software end of sales *

31 October 2013

End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed

Not yet established **

Client operating systems and updates

Windows 8

Date of general availability

26 October 2012

Retail software end of sales *

31 October 2014

End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed

Not yet established

Client operating systems and updates

Windows 8.1

Date of general availability

18 October 2013

Retail software end of sales *

Not yet established

End of sales for PCs with Windows pre-installed

Not yet established

* 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 pre-installed.

** Microsoft will provide one year of notice prior to the end of sale date.

End of sales: questions and answers

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How long can OEMs sell devices with a prior version of Windows installed?

When Microsoft launches a new version of Windows, we will continue to allow OEMs to sell PCs pre-installed with the previous version for up to two years after the launch date of the new version unless otherwise announced. Certain OEM versions of Windows products include downgrade rights (as outlined within the software licence terms). Downgrade rights make it possible to use a previous version of Windows instead of the licensed software pre-installed on a new PC. See Downgrade rights for additional details.

For how long can retailers sell a prior version of Windows?

We will continue to allow retailers to sell the previous version of Windows for a year after the launch date of the new version.

How long will Volume Licensing be available for a prior version of Windows?

For Volume Licensing programmes, licences will continue to be available via downgrade rights after the end of general availability. General availability of licences for the previous version of Windows will cease as soon as the new version is available, or when otherwise determined by Microsoft. However, we will make media available for the current version as well as the previous two versions.

Service packs and updates

Service packs and updates are part of the process of keeping Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 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 Centre.

Desktop operating systems Date of availability Support retired
Desktop operating systems

Windows XP SP1

Date of availability

30 August 2002

Support retired

10 October 2006

Desktop operating systems

Windows XP SP2

Date of availability

17 September 2004

Support retired

13 July 2010

Desktop operating systems

Windows XP SP3

Date of availability

21 April 2008

Support retired

8 April 2014

Desktop operating systems

Windows Vista SP1

Date of availability

4 February 2008

Support retired

12 July 2011

Desktop operating systems

Windows Vista SP2

Date of availability

26 May 2009

Support retired
Desktop operating systems

Windows 7 SP1

Date of availability

22 February 2011

Support retired
Desktop operating systems

Windows 8.1

Date of availability

18 October 2013

Support retired
Desktop operating systems

Windows 10, released in July 2015

Date of availability

N/A

Support retired

N/A

Service packs and updates: questions and answers

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What is the support policy for Windows service packs?

For Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, 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 pre-existing updates will continue to be offered. Refer to the Service Pack Lifecycle Support Policy for further information.

If my version of Windows offers regular update notices, does that mean that I have a service pack installed?

Not necessarily. Update notices only indicate that 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 Centre.

Where can I find information about service pack support for Windows Server products?

See the following table for service pack support information.

Server operating systems Preceding service packs Current service pack and date of availability Next update and estimated date of availability
Server operating systems

Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Server

Preceding service packs

SP3 or earlier

Current service pack and date of availability

SP4
26 June 2003

Update Rollup #1 for SP4
28 June 2005

Next update and estimated date of availability

Support for Windows 2000 ended on 13 July 2010. Microsoft is no longer producing public monthly security updates or service packs.

Server operating systems

Windows Server 2003

Preceding service packs

SP1

Current service pack and date of availability

SP2
13 March 2007

Next update and estimated date of availability

No further updates planned

Server operating systems

Windows Server 2008

Preceding service packs

SP1
(Windows Server 2008 was released including SP1)

Current service pack and date of availability

SP2
26 May 2009

Next update and estimated date of availability

Not yet established

Server operating systems

Windows Server 2008 R2

Preceding service packs

Not applicable

Current service pack and date of availability

SP1
22 February 2011

Next update and estimated date of availability

Not yet established

Windows downgrade rights

To use prior versions of Windows software on PCs installed with newer versions, it is possible for consumers to obtain a licence for downgrade rights. These downgrade rights will vary depending on whether the software was acquired via Volume Licensing, OEM or FPP. To learn more about these rights, review the downgrade rights licensing brief.